We know the feeling when you see what appears to be a vintage Dutch oven with Vintage Le Creuset markings on the bottom…it may well make your day. These markings will help you distinguish the authenticity and age of your Dutch oven.
Listen to this post…
These markings were placed by Le Creuset to identify the item size, yet the importance to collectors cannot be under estimated. Finding a sought after and rare piece of cookware can be worth significant sums of money. There are plenty of collectors prepared to pay for the privilege of adding a rare item to their Le Creuset collection.
How to tell If it is fake with vintage Le Creuset markings
Before we even begin to understand the markings on Le Creuset cookware, we need to establish the authenticity.
If you are looking to buy genuine Le Creuset cookware, you need to look for the tell-tale signs. Over recent years, there has been a rise in imitation products masquerading as the genuine article. This is a real issue as the replicas are significantly poorer in quality and performance. We therefore need to look at genuine vintage Le Creuset markings.
People are being attracted to what would seem like a real bargain. Instead, they are paying a premium price for a non-branded product. You need to be careful, especially if you are buying from somewhere where you cannot physically touch the product.
Potential issues include;
- Poor heat performance.
- Dangerous quality substances.
- Risk of cracking.
- No warranty and risk of injury.
You can however try and limit your risks. One aspect is to take a close look at the lip of the pan. In older Le Creuset’s, they are fully enameled. On newer ones, the primer shows through. On fake versions, you can see the cast iron.
If you are buying online, ask to see real pictures of the bottom of the pan with the vintage Le Creuset markings. They should also have the following;
- The name of Le Creuset
- There should be a double-digit number
- It should have ‘France’ or ‘Made in France’
- It should also have the Diamond mark of Le Creuset.
Le Creuset numbers on the bottom
You will have noticed the numbers and letters molded into the bottom of the pan and the lid. These are often mistaken for a particular production code. This is not the case.
In actual fact, the two-digit numbers are the products diameter or the long dimension. This is based in centimeters and does not include the handles in the measurement. They are not always vintage Le Creuset markings.
Below, I have produced a table that covers the double digits, the size in liters they refer too and how many quarts this equates too.
Le Creuset Round Dutch oven sizes
Le Creuset Oval Dutch oven sizes
One thing that should be borne in mind is that just because two pans may have the same markings, the lids may not necessarily fit each other. Ranges change from time to time yet the numbering remains the same. This is why it can become problematic to find replacements.
Vintage Le Creuset colors and materials
The company is synonymous with the flame color that adorns so many of its products, chosen to resemble the production. For the first 30 years, all the products came in this color only. Therefore, any vintage pieces that are said to be pre-1955 should be this color only.
Anything that is any other color other than flame is not dated correctly. Elysées yellow was introduced in 1956 and other colors followed shortly.
In terms of material design, the 1950’s and 1960’s saw ribbed bases. The handle design changed with looped lid handles replaced by stainless steel or phenolic knobs. The 1950’s saw Raymond Loewy design the iconic Coquelle French oven.
The 1970’s saw the introduction of the new ‘Mama’ series designed by Enzo Mari, famous for its new handle shape.
The 1990’s saw widening in the production range at Le Creuset. New ranges were introduced with new materials used. They included aluminium, stainless steel, silicone, stoneware and textiles.
|1925 to 1939||Production begins at Le Creuset making the world famous enameled cast iron Dutch oven. They all have smooth lids|
|1939 to 1956||All items produced in the same Flame color|
|Late 1950s||The color Elysées Yellow introduced later followed by several others. The Raymond Loewy designed Coquelle French oven is launched|
|1960s||Design changes implemented with looped lid handles replaced by stainless steel or phenolic knobs. Some pieces now feature ribbed instead of smooth bases.|
|1970s||Le Creuset engage Italian designer Enzo Mari “Mama” to design a new series cocotte with new handle shape|
|1980s||New Vitro base enamel introduced for glass stovetops. Designer Jean-Louis Barralt introduces Futura series.|
|1990s||New ranges were introduced with new materials used. They included aluminium, stainless steel, silicone, stoneware and textiles.|
|2000s||Le Creuset expands into new areas developing its cookware range under new ownership. Production doubles in this time and Le Creuset is now a lifestyle brand.|
Other things you should be looking out for. Le Creuset first used the logo with three concentric rings in 1972. If your lid has those, it is no older than 1972.
Le Creuset numbers on the bottom – What if they don’t have them?
If your cookware does not have the numbers on the base, it is more than likely that it is not a genuine Le Creuset article.
Are all Le Creuset made in France?
No, not all Le Creuset products are made in France. All the cast iron products are still made at the original foundry in Northern France. However, stainless steel products are made in Portugal, the stoneware in Thailand and the accessories in China. Items are marked as ‘France’ because the company is French but ‘Made in France’ is restricted to their cast iron products.
View more about Le Creuset history
When did Le Creuset begin and where do they come from?
Le Creuset began in 1925 and was founded by Armand Desaegher and Octave Aubecq. The company is currently owned by a South African, Paul Van Zuydam. They were formed in 1925 in Fresnoy-le-Grand, Northern France. They still operate from the same site today.
What is Le Creuset made out of?
The core competency of Le Creuset is cast iron. They are world leading experts in casting and they have perfected the difficult process of enameling cast iron.
Over recent years, they have become a lifestyle brand and now offer a wide array of products. Materials used include, steel, ceramics, plastics etc.
Le Creuset knock offs…are they common?
Le Creuset are premium products and they come with a premium price attached to them. When you refer to ‘Knock offs’, it really depends on your definition.
Some low-quality products are branded as ‘Le Creuset’ and sold as such. This is fraudulent activity and many customers have been duped into believing their cookware is authentic.
Alternatively, there are legitimate manufacturers with their own branded goods that replicate the design…obviously without the ‘Le Creuset’ name. This is perfectly legitimate but is termed as ‘knock off’ because it is not viewed as the original company. These products will not perform as well as the originals, however they will perform a given task. Obviously, they are priced lower, in some cases significantly.
What is the Le Creuset diamond mark?
It is a mark branded by Le Creuset signifying its origin.
I hope this information answers your questions about vintage Le Creuset markings. If you have any information to add, leave a comment below. The more information we share, the safer we all are in buying genuine vintage Le Creuset products.
Since you are here…can I ask you a favor?
It would be really nice if you could share this image on social media…it’s just a couple of clicks for you but it means the world to me.
Thank you so much!
I have a 12″ diameter lid that is marked, almost in a half round circle, “Le Crueset” (smaller) and “Made in France” (larger) on the underside, but has no letter, number or other markings on the underside. The handle is black “plastic” with a small concentric ring logo and the words, “Le Crueset”. The color appears to be “Flame”. Would you happen to know about when this may have been made or if it is a forgery?
Thank you so much for nay help you can provide!
Its quite possible that it is authentic. However, without seeing it, i could not tell you without any certainty.
If you send a picture to Le Creuset customer service, they will be able to authenticate it.
My Le Creuset vintage pans are yellow with a ribbed bottom. Are they authentic Le Creuset? They are very similar to my other pans that are marked. Thank you, Linda
It’s very possible that they are as not all Le Creuset ovens are marked with the logo. It may also be possible that they are made by their sister company. If you really want to know for sure, send Le Creuset the images, they will tell you if they are authentic.
I’m so excited to have come across your very informative information here.
I would like to know what the value of my Au Gratin bakeware is currently? And what is this light Yellow color called? (I have attached some pics).
Thank you for your time!
P.S. System won’t let me attach pics. So it’s a 20 in diamond. Ribbed bottom. Made in France.
I’m not sure what the color is called but they were manufactured circa 1950. In terms of value, in good condition they are currently selling at the $70 – 80 level.
Hope this helps.
I am thinking of purchasing a used Le Creuset cast iron roasting pan with side lips as handles. It has the number 40 on the bottom. What is the quart size of the pan? Thank you in advance for any help you can give.
My wife has a set of latter day Le Creuset cooking pots. She also has a yellow oval pot and lid marked 25. The pot has got almost t shape grips which is part of the casting, and the lid a small black knob. We think it might be an older version Le Creuset. Bought it at a flea market in Marseille.
Should have read help instead of hep.
I have a very large (and very heavy!) dutch oven, with Le Creuset Made in France in a circle with the letter K in the center. There is also a K on the underside of the lid. It’s 13 1/2″ in diameter and about 6″ deep.
I have found what appears to be a vintage Le Creuset bbq/cooking station on wheels with a canopy overhead at a brocante in France. I can’t find anything about this or anything like it anywhere and am trying to find out what it is called and how old it is, I have never seen anything like it but it is beautiful just like anything Le Creuset makes! It is stamped with the brand name and the factory name in France. Does anyone have any knowledge on anything like this?
I have a 26 Le Creuset Enzo Mari style Dutch Oven. There’s no enamel at all, just cast iron. It says Le Creuset Made in France on the bottom of the pot in a circular pattern, and 26 on the inside of the lid. Is this authentic? I haven’t seen Le Creuset that was enameled.
I have a (I think) vintage G Dutch oven.
I sadly broke the lid. I have a lid that fits but would like a real one. Any thought where I could find this?
I’d send a pic but can’t attach it here.
I have a frying pan it is very heavy to use has the number 29 on bottom any info would be good thanks
Hi Jayne……I was searching for answers regarding my Le Creuset 2 qt. Enameled Cast Iron Saucepan that I bought from QVC. The Lid has its Le Creuset embossed markings, BUT….the PAN itself does not have any markings at all…..I am guessing, this might be a Fake Le Creuset that they have sold to Customers…..Is there anyway you can let me know if this is authentic or not…..The markings on the lid under are not even well embossed…..Thanks a lot!
Comments are closed.