Posts Tagged ‘antique silver teapot’

The Antique Silver Teapot

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Something that has fascinated me for many years is the silver teapot.  I grew up in a tea-drinking household; however we never poured tea from a solid silver teapot, only a stainless steel teapot. To me, that has always seemed a bit of an extravagance, however I have since come to realize that there is a fairly brisk trade these days in antique teapots, with many of these antiques being made from silver.

While I sincerely believe that it is very unlikely drinking tea from silver teapots makes it any more tasty or enjoyable, I have to admit I am fascinated with the idea of owning an antique silver teapot of my own. Antiques are in a class of their own. They are timeless, and frequently remind one of an era long past.

The most famous antique silver teapots are British, and they are usually referred to by the actual reigning King when notation is made of their antiquity. For example, Georgian silver teapots were made during the reigns of several King Georges, (1714-1837).  Victorian teapots are perhaps the most accessible. Queen Victoria reined from 1837 till 1901, and is considered one of the best-loved British monarchs. During this time Britain’s Empire grew, to include India, the home of great black tea. Naturally, during this time period there were many Sterling Silver teapots manufactured, quite a few of which still remain today. Victorian silver is unique in that it was a product of the industrial revolution, thus something easily attainable by even the middle class of the time. Victorian silverware, including Victorian silver teapots, was produced in large quantities.

It is around this time that the definition of what qualifies as an antique gets a bit muddy. Traditionally, anything more than 100 years old is considered an antique. This means that we are looking at items made in the first decades of 1900 as being antique, including the silver teapot. Victorian teapots definitely fit into this time frame, but what about after that?

If you are able to find a Sterling silver teapot from the early 1900’s you would be smart to buy it. While they may not be considered ‘classic antiques’ yet — note the word ‘yet’– they will be soon. In fact this could be a great way to acquire silver teapots.

Perhaps you are interested in a more modern silver plated teapot?  Wedgewood make great silver teapots, which you can buy for around $200 or slightly less, depending on the design. Of course Royal Doultan are also still producing silver teapots, with their prices comparable with the Wedgewood teapots, again depending on the design, size of the teapot, etc. It is also possible to find more expensive, artisan crafted silver teapots though of course prices are generally quite a bit higher, depending to some extent on the reputation and popularity of the artist.

While you may end up paying quite a bit more for a silver teapot, there are some advantages to owning and using one, particularly if you are a regular tea drinker.  Did you know that tea served in a silver teapot tends to retain its heat for much longer than many other types of teapots?  Also, silver is known for its durability–a silver teapot will not break into pieces, it will not be harmed if it drops on the floor aside from a possible dent or two, it will not chip, nor will it be easily damaged to the point of no longer being useful.  As silver does retain heat, you should look for a teapot that has a foot or padding on the bottom so that it can be safely sat upon a table. It may also be a good idea to make sure the handle that is held when pouring tea is not silver, or that it is at least covered in some other non-heat transferring material.

Whether you decide to invest in an teapot antique or not, or buy a modern design, you should get years of enjoyment and pleasure from your silver teapot. You will find that it is not only decorative and a real show piece, but that it is also highly functional and perfect for daily use. Look for a silver tea set, which will consist of a silver tray, silver teapot, silver sugar bowls, and silver milk bowls. Occasionally it will also include a small decorated tea chest. If you want to purchase one you can find many different options online. When it comes to buying the silver teapot, Reed and Barton have a nice selection. If you are interested in other kinds of metal teapots and teaware you will find they also stock a selection of copper teapots and even porcelain teapots or an antique chest if you prefer! In fact, an antique tea chest, such as an antique silver chest can also be a great addition to your select tea ware. If you are looking for a Chinese teapot, to brew your wulong tea, however you may need to look elsewhere. Typically wulong tea is brewed in a small, squat looking clay teapot which is far removed in style from the classic silver teapot.