The term originated from the quartz stones found chiefly in Arabia and yes most of the earliest designs were in fact brown. But the recipes were quickly modified to produce other colors.
Take a look at the photo to the right. The blue seaweed-like design is an example of a mocha motif. Tree patterns, worm patterns, and seaweed patterns are examples of common mocha designs.
Some of the earliest mocha designs were the thistle designs of Scotland – probably originated in Glasgow, Scotland somewhere between 1810 and 1830. These were followed by tree-like designs occurring around 1850 through 1880. By the 1870s, the seaweed, feathers, and earthworm designs had become popular. It is believed that by the 1920s the mocha motif had run its course and was no longer being used on yellowware pottery.
Now for an interesting story, take a look at the photo of a mocha decorated Chamber Pot found in a shipwreck off the coast of Jacksonville, FL, in 2005. The ship was transporting British ceramic imports between the eastern US ports and was believed to have gone down during a hurricane in September 1854. What a wonderful find. You can read more about the shipwreck and its findings here. Be sure to take a look at some of the photos of the pottery on the ocean floor.
I know, I know, weird ending for a Mocha Yellowware article. Coffee anyone?