Posts Tagged ‘silver teapots’

Silver Tea Set

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

While on the topic of silver teapots, I thought I should also write about the silver tea set.

First of all, what do silver tea sets consist of?  As far as a Western tradition, a silver plated tea set consists of a whole set of silver dishes that you would use at an afternoon tea setting. In other words, an English tea set would include a silver tea pot, a tea cup with saucer, a sugar bowl, and a small cream jug.  If it is a proper tea set, it should also include a silver tray upon which everything sits. Some Sterling silver tea sets also include silver teaspoons and sugar tongs, and some include a small tea chest that you can use for storing your tea.

Of course the original idea behind the silver tea set has its roots set in ancient China. Naturally, the tea sets of those days were vastly different than the tea sets of today. In ancient China, a tea set consisted of a tea pot, a tray upon which the pot and cups sat–which also trapped and ran off waste water into a bowl or small bucket hidden under the table–cups to use to drink the green or wulong tea, and other accessories used in the tea pouring process.

One of the main problems faced with the solid silver tea set is the difficulty many have in caring for silver. It tarnishes very easily, and unfortunately it does need to be taken care of on a regular basis. Especially if your silver set has become somewhat of a center piece, it is essential that you take good care of it. Fortunately, tarnish can be easily removed. If you find that your set is beginning to tarnish, simply buy a silver polish, which is available in either a liquid or a paste.  Applying this to your silver set will remove all of the tarnish and have your tea set silver looking brand new.

You may recall hearing of the maids in British households being assigned to “shine the silver” on a regular basis. There is some truth in this too. If you are able to shine your silver tea set on a regular basis with a soft rag it will definitely slow down the onset of tarnish and keep it looking bright. Also, keeping your tea set in an air-tight location will also slow down the appearance of tarnish. This is especially important if you own an antique silver tea set or an antique silver chest or even simply an antique teapot.

How To Shine Your Silver Tea Set or your Silverplate Tea Set

Should your set become tarnished, here is how to alleviate the problem. First of all, of course, you need to locate a suitable silver polish. You can often find this at your local grocery store, or at your local handyman store.

  • Apply the polish to the silverware with a soft, damp cloth.
  • Spread it over any tarnished areas
  • Once the polish is applied, dampen your cloth again and rub in the polish, applying a slight pressure.
  • Once the piece is polished, rinse it off under warm running water.
  • Finally, dry each piece off with a soft cloth.

If all of the tarnish is not removed with one application of silver polish, simply repeat the procedure again until all tarnish is totally removed.

Note: Do not use abrasives when shining your silverware. That will only scratch and ruin it. Abrasives can be either chemical or mechanical.  Be careful not to drop your silverware, it will dent.

If you would like to purchase a silver tea set, you probably want to first of all know the silver tea set value.  This depends on quite a few things, with one of the main criteria being whether it is a solid Sterling silver tea set, or just a silver plated tea set. It also depends on the type of tea set. An antique tea set and antique silver teapots will cost much more than a modern day children’s silver tea set but perhaps not as much as an antique silver chest or antique tea chest. Good places to look for tea sets include Macy’s,  Reed and Barton, Oneida and  Ross Simons.

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.