samedi 25 avril 2015

A Homemaker's Guide To Caring For Fine English Bone China Tea Sets

By Alta Alexander

For someone who loves tea or who wants to set a beautiful table, a china tea set can be just what they need to make their table look complete. If you are someone like this, fine English bone china tea sets are easy to find and are surprisingly easy to care for as well. Here is what you need to know if you are in the market for one of these sets.

If you are thinking about purchasing a set, it can be helpful to know what bone china actually is. It is related to both porcelain and fine china and all three materials tend to look very similar. Bone china has bone dust (usually from a cow) mixed in with the clay before it is shaped and fired. It is softer than porcelain.

All china is made up of clay. Often, more than one type of clay is used to make up a piece. In the case of bone china, an additional ingredient is added. Bones are ground very finely and the resulting dust is added into the clay mix. It adds strength but it also causes the pieces to be brittle and easy to break. If you want to make sure you are buying authentic bone china you need to look for between 30 and 45 percent bone dust.

Most damage comes from repeated stress on areas where handles are joined to the body of pieces. If it is dropped on a hard surface, a china piece can, and usually will, break into multiple pieces. While a handle can be reattached, it can be impossible in some cases to reconstruct the body of a piece. Some items will also develop a network of cracks in the surface.

Most damage will occur when pieces are being washed or when they are being put into storage. Often, rims will develop chips that may or may not make them unable to be used. Some chips are less noticeable and you may still get a lot of use out of an item even if there are small damaged areas.

If you are cleaning your set, it is a good idea to do so by hand. This is especially true if the set has metal accents on any part of the pieces. This is because the heat of a dishwasher can soften the metal and cause it to come off if it is not allowed to cool. You also want to make sure that the handles are not hit or struck during cleaning as they can break.

Storage may seem intimidating at first but it is actually fairly straightforward. Avoid stacking items with handles. If you must, make sure the handles are not contacting one another. Do not hang cups from hooks as this can cause them to break off. Space items properly so that they do not bang into one another as this can cause chips.

Taking the time to clean your set and store it properly can mean that you end up with a set that is free of chips and breaks. If properly cared for, a good set can turn into an heirloom that can be passed down over many generations.

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