The production of the correct mix of kaolin, feldspar and quartz is an art that Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg has refined over its 260 years. With its aspiration towards highest quality and purity, Nymphenburg still produces the paste by hand and does not, as is conventional practice, buy the semi-finished product in. The production process is complex and time-consuming. It takes around three years from the initial mixing of the porcelain paste to the end product.
Pure kaolin, washed and checked in accordance with strict specifications by Nymphenburg, grey feldspar and opaque quartz of the highest quality from Norway are the basic components used for Nymphenburg porcelain. They arrive at Nymphenburg as a powder and are stored in wooden sheds before they are finally mixed according to secret formulas that ensure the smoothness so characteristic of Nymphenburg. The particular mix ratio produces a particularly hard and translucent porcelain. Which is actually what causes the paints applied in fine brushstrokes to turn out so brilliantly. In grinding mills dating from the 19th century, the future porcelain paste is mixed for two days and two nights and then pressed through a net which is finer than a nylon stocking to remove even the last of the coarse particles. Then magnets are used to remove even the smallest of metal particles that might cause discoloration and the paste is mixed with agitators in wooden vats. From there, it is sent to the press, which extracts the water from the paste and presses it into slabs. These slabs are then stored Nymphenburg's ageing cellar until it is ready for processing – which takes several years. Then it is kneaded to remove the air, after which the paste is finally sent to the manufactory's potter's shops for production.
The procedure of ventilation and homogenization, which is decisive to the further processing of the paste, is carried out manually with a clay-kneading machine. The benefit that this time-consuming process delivers: the resulting paste is more elastic and may later be shaped into the wafer-thin objects for which Nymphenburg is famed. In contrast, the pressure that a vacuum extruder applies to the paste to extract the air has a negative effect on texture and smoothness. No machine is able to create the delicacy that the manual work produces.