When I moved from London to NYC to join my boyfriend, I carried with me on the plane, two china tea cups and saucers I inherited from my American grandmother.
Like my grandmother, I love china. Preferably second hand and mismatched. I guess that explains why I like so much to thrift china orphans. By that I mean the odd plate; tea cup; bowl; etc.My grandmother's tea cups (the beautiful black ones) now keep company with several china items I've thrifted in New York in the 2.5 years I've been here. All have cost me between 25c and $2. There is no particular thrift store that is better for them, you just need to keep your eyes peeled.
Here are some interesting facts about china:
- Porcelain originated in China in the 9th century. It was imported to Europe for many years and even after the Europeans started making it themselves, they always referred to it as ‘china’. It is made of kaolin (a type of clay) and feldspar. China is hard, strong and translucent - allows the light through. Try placing your cup/plate against the light and waving your hand between the cup/plate and the light. If you can see the outline of your fingers – it is translucent and is real china!
- Bone China is the English form of Porcelain. It is considered as the highest quality and most expensive. It is very translucent. Although it looks and feels quite delicate, it is the strongest of china and is extremely hard and durable. Bone China actually contains animal bone ash. Hmmmm, not sure I wanted to know that.
- Ceramics are made out of clay, are not porcelain 'china' and are not translucent. I guess that means that some of my thrift china is not china and actually ceramic. Nevermind, it is still very pretty!
- Marks at the bottom of your china allow you to trace the manufacturer and also to put a date on your item. Here are some of mine (my grandmother's is the top left one - do you know anything about it?)And that whole thing about saving your good china for a special occasion? Nonsense. I say use your good china as often as you can, after all, these things were made to be enjoyed. And what could possibly be more special than a cup of tea whilst curled up on my sofa, or dinner for two?