Collection: Vintage Tea Sets

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17 products


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Vintage Tea Sets

Whether in the East with China and Japan or the West with Britain, as soon as the clock struck four PM, it was time for afternoon tea. Enjoying a nice cup of tea in the afternoon in dainty, porcelain tea sets is an age-old tradition, practiced in many parts of the world for centuries.

Even though tea time is not as commonplace as it was some decades ago, vintage tea sets are still present in many homes. Crafted with fine bone china or precious porcelain, such afternoon tea sets are exquisite pieces of crockery that make the experience of sipping tea all the more delightful.

Purchasing a vintage tea set in this modern day and age can be a difficult task, especially if you have never shopped for teaware before. To make it easier for you, we have compiled an article detailing all you need to know about vintage tea sets, including what they are, how to select them, and their maintenance. This way, you can shop for vintage tea sets with confidence!

Vintage Tea Set

What Are Vintage Tea Sets?

Teaware is considered vintage or antique if it was crafted in a different era or generation than the one it currently exists in. The baseline age for a tea set to be known as vintage is typically twenty years, but sometimes they are much older. In fact, you can even find well-preserved antique British tea sets that are over 100 years of age! Such tea sets are preserved so well by collectors or sellers that you cannot even tell that they were created so long ago.

Vintage tea sets are typically very expensive pieces of pottery to buy due to their historical significance and high quality. Such sets are often hand-painted by craftsmen and created with materials that no longer exist, making them one-of-a-kind pieces. Tracing the location, era, and age of a vintage tea set can be done by examining its features and design. However, it is a general rule that the older and more well-maintained the tea set is, the higher its market value.

Vintage Tea Set

How to Identify the Origin of Vintage Tea Sets

Depending on the location, era, and maker of the vintage tea set, the overall look of it will differ. Often companies have particular trademark designs or styles that help identify where the tea set originated from. For example, you can see markings, stamps, or gold trimmings adorning tea sets, giving away their identity.

Many tea sets have symbols or stamps marked at the bottom. For example, renowned teaware maker Capodimonte based in Italy would use the symbol of a blue crown on all their crockery pieces before the year 1896. Sometimes, there would be handwritten marks instead, which indicates the tea set was manufactured in the 1800s, before the invention of stamps. Blue was the dominant color for antique marking, prevalent before the year 1850.

Tea sets manufactured in the East have similar giveaways, in the form of material or glaze used. Porcelain was more popular in the Song dynasty from 960-1279 AD. While ceramic and stoneware sets were common in the Yuan (1271-1368 AD) and Ming (1368-1644 AD) dynasties. Song dynasty teaware has a glaze with a blue-green hue, while Ming dynasty sets featured copper red glazes.

Vintage Tea Set

How to Select Bone China Vintage Tea Sets

Committing to a tea set can feel very pressuring, especially if you are a first-time buyer. You need to be extra careful while shopping for antique items, due to their delicate and fragile nature. The following are a few essential factors to keep in mind while shopping for a bone china vintage tea set.

Check For Chips and Cracks

Vintage tea sets are antique pieces of crockery that have been used for many decades. Simply existing for such a long period of time makes them prone to wear and tear. This can be in the form of small chips in the design or a crack in the handle. The ideal vintage tea set is in excellent condition, with minimal signs of distress.

It's alright for there to be signs of use, that can sometimes even add to the appeal. However, the overall quality should not be greatly affected and the tea set should remain fully functional This allows for the set to be much more alluring and beautiful.

Look at the Material

Material is an important factor to consider when buying a vintage tea set, as it adds greatly to the set's overall value and durability. Bone china, porcelain, and fine china are some of the most common materials that are used to craft tea sets historically. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages and which one you choose is solely a matter of preference. Here is a short explanation of some of the key differences between each:

Bone China: Made of ground animal bones mixed with ceramic known as bone ash, bone china is a superior quality ceramic material used to craft teaware. In addition to being the lightest material out of all mentioned, it is also strong and durable. Some of the most beautiful afternoon tea sets are made of bone china, known for its distinct creamy white hue.

Porcelain: Fired at higher temperatures, porcelain has a denser and heavier finish than other materials. Its brittle nature makes it more prone to chipping and cracking, so be careful to take extra caution if you decide to buy a porcelain tea set.

Fine China: Fine China is another version of bone china but with one stark difference: it doesn't contain any bone ash in its ceramic. The easiest way to differentiate between the two is to lift each to the light. You will quickly realize that bone china is the more transparent of the two, allowing light to come through. On the other hand, fine china is completely opaque.

Size and Capacity

Much of the time, the most interested buyers of vintage tea sets are collectors, but if you are purchasing a set for home use, then size and capacity are essential to consider. If you are looking to buy to host large events, then make sure your tea set reflects that. Some tea sets are much more dainty than others, accommodating smaller amounts of tea.

With vintage sets, sometimes completeness is also an issue with certain components getting lost or misplaced in the process of preservation. At Umi Teasets, we promise to provide customers with complete, high-quality sets preserved in excellent condition.

Take Note of the Origin

The value of any tea set is significantly tied to where it originally was crafted. This includes both the location of origin as well as the approximate age of the teaware. Hand-painted designs are the most valuable, taking precedence over transfer prints which are a little more recent.

There are also a few pointers that can allude to hand craftsmanship, like irregularities in the overall glaze, tiny pinprick holes, or maybe a slight fingerprint. The bottom of the teacup will typically have a certain mark or date mentioned. All these details can indicate a more valuable piece that will add to your collection.

Vintage Tea Set

How to Take Care of Vintage Tea Sets

Like any piece of antique crockery, vintage tea sets are very delicate and must be handled with immense care to avoid being damaged and losing their precious value. This is because vintage tea sets are typically many decades old and have withstood the tests of time, so there should be a greater degree of responsibility in their maintenance. The following are some steps you can follow to take care of a vintage tea set.

1. Fill a bowl with lukewarm water and add mild soap or detergent. Be cautious of using water that is too hot, as that can cause harm to the surface of the tea set.

2. Place a rubber mat or soft towel inside the bowl and gently put the teaware piece.

3. With rubber gloves, gently rub against the stains until they disappear.

4. For those stains that are more difficult to get out, use a small past made up of vinegar and salt. Leave it on for about a half hour before washing with soap again. Do not scrub and remember to test first to not accidentally damage any decorative elements.

5.For extremely hard-to-remove stains, you can use bleach but this should be the last resort and done after consulting with a professional.

Where to Buy the Best Vintage Tea Sets

If you are looking for authentic, high-quality vintage tea sets to adorn your tea tables, you have approached the right place. At Umi Teasets, we offer the best vintage tea sets that are ideal for both collectors and home use. Browse through our elegant designs with amazing features sure to elevate your collection! Our products are sourced from trusted sellers that take great care in the preservation of vintage teaware.

We have some beautiful designs that are just waiting to be ordered by you. Take a look at all our Vintage Tea Sets here!