Speaking of Antiquing – October 2015

Everyday at the shop, someone calls about or brings in a set of fine China or crystal to sell. It seems as if complete sets of gorgeous Limoges, Noritake, Spode, and Franciscan are being ignored by the younger generation.

As the Greatest Generation passes away, and the baby boomers downsize, it’s looking like there’s no room for grandma’s fine China anymore.

As a baby boomer myself, I remember my mother only using her handed-down Limoges in the formal dining room on Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving.

Her fragile Fostoria Crystal stemware and the Rogers & Son’s silverware was also used sparingly. Special serving dishes of Nippon and Erphilia Chintz were colorful and I loved seeing them against the starched, white linen tablecloth. Large oval, highly-decorated serving trays held the turkey or ham and the used-only-by-my-dad antler-handled carving knife was whipped against the matching steel sharpener. I loved when he carved the meat and plated it with the meat fork.

Today, these items seem to be an antique store staple—too often rejected by the next generation. Rejected because of trends toward more modern décor and dishwasher-safe dinnerware; rejected because so often they were in hands-off display cabinets and not common to daily life; rejected because they were hidden away in sideboards in zippered china bags. Mainly, I think they are being rejected because we have not taught our younger generation about their elegance and the simple beauty of using them.

I love to say, “If you have it, use it.” Don’t be afraid to use your inherited China daily! Pour some wine into those crystal glasses; let the kids have sparkling cider in the Fostoria stemware, serve ice cream in the sherbet dishes and use the under-plates. Plan a dinner party, cut some flowers, set the table, and USE your fine dishes.

And use your other treasures, too. There are many websites that will show you how to fold fine napkins, and lay the table. Too many people are unaware of the uses for the varying sizes of knives and forks in the silver box. Once you know a salad fork from a dinner fork, the rest is easy.

When it comes to care, never put your sterling silver or silver-plate flatware in the dish washer as they will dull and be very hard to polish again.

You MUST hand-wash China and crystal, as well. When storing your china, place a coffee filter between the plates, bowls, and cups to avoid scratching. And remember to mix and match the old with the new for fun…something I hope the younger generation will consider!