Here are our top 5 reasons for collecting antique and vintage schina.
- Quality: It’s not easy to find the same quality today at an affordable price. Antique china is made from porcelain and was discovered in the northern province of China around the 10th century. There are generally three types of china:
- Everyday porcelain: ceramic fired at the highest temperature to make a durable, non-absorbent material, resistant to bacterial growth and dishwasher safe.
- Fine porcelain: made from white, hard paste of kaolin (white clay made from feldspar) and petunse. It is white and translucent and is often not dishwasher safe.
- Bone china: made from hard and soft paste porcelain. It was developed in England at the end of the 18th century and is made strong by the addition of calcified bone ash. It is generally considered the best quality for its durability and white/translucent colour/finish. Many of the finest English pottery manufacturers, from Copeland Spode to Minton and Wedgwood, all developed their best china using this material.
- Great Design: The old patterns like Blue Willow, India Tree, and Imari took their inspiration from early Chinese and Japanese designs. The patterns are timeless and classic and can still be found at antique stores and on ebay. Purchasing single collectible plates is also a wonderful way to start a collection and can be purchased gradually if on a strict budget.
- Mixing Old China Patterns with New: We often use a plain contemporary plate as a base and layer a different antique or vintage pattern on top to provide variety and interest to our tabletops. Here are just a few examples:
4. Surprisingly Affordable: It’s not always possible to buy a full set of antique china but don’t let that deter you. Since it may only be a partial set it’s often surprisingly affordable and can be tastefully mixed with other china to make up for the missing pieces.
5. Leave a Legacy for Your Family: A friend told us recently that she loves antique china because it reminds her of her grandmother. When purchasing a set of china as an heirloom try to buy a classic set with 6 to 8 place settings, more if possible. Fine china is more durable and can be passed along to future generations. It’s a great way to leave a legacy that can last well beyond a single lifetime.
Closing Remarks: Just a couple of things to keep in mind…
- Never put vintage or fine china in your dishwasher. The harsh detergent and high temperature will wash away any gilt and will cause crazing (cracking or mottled finish).
- When washing your china in a sink put a towel down on the bottom to prevent slippage and breakage.
- If you break a rare or valuable piece of china don’t try to repair it yourself. Instead, call your local museum and ask them to recommend someone who can restore it professionally. It could mean the difference between ruining or preserving the value of your precious piece.
- Years of storing plates on top of one another can weaken them over time so cut up an old towel and put a sheet in between the plates to protect them. Beware of using bubble wrap as it could discolour or damage the surface of fine china.
- If you have an old set of china and want to know its value check out sites like replacements.com or ebay.
Finally, don’t be afraid to have fun with your china. Be creative. Dining need never be boring again.
To view our china category pages please click here