Few feelings are as precious as knowing your favorite teacup came to your table by way of a loved one who left this keepsake in your care to preserve for generations to come. Family heirlooms are almost always among our most revered possessions not only because they are handed down as gifts to cherish, but also because they serve as very personal links to the past. The sense of legacy that comes with sipping from Grandmother’s teacup and wondering what special occasions in her life might have once called for its use is anchoring and profound. Why keep such treasures to yourself? Tea wares and tablewares, in particular, are perfect for decorative display. Whether in a china cabinet, on a single shelf, or artfully placed throughout the home, these pieces should be used often and safeguarded with special care.
It’s worth the effort to have your antique china formally appraised. China matching services, such as Replacements, Ltd. (replacements.com), are especially helpful and can help fill in the blanks on the china’s lineage, manufacturer, and market value. Developing a dialogue with a reputable matching service is also a good idea. Any pieces of the set that may become lost or damaged can then be easily—and often less expensively—replaced.