A few months ago, my husband and I began talking about the possibility of downsizing to a smaller house with a smaller yard. The idea was appealing to us both, but the problem was we had too much stuff to move into a smaller house. I started making a mental inventory of the items I would want and need to get rid of, and one of the things on the list was my china.
It was the very pretty “Carolyn” by Noritake China pattern that I had chosen during the summer of 1980 when I was just 19 years old. The dishes were pale blue and pink and white with a silver ring around the plates.
I married that August, two weeks after I turned 20. For wedding and shower gifts, my new husband and I received multiple place settings of our fine china dishes. We were both still in college at the time, but we thought that someday we would be settled with a home and a family and be glad we had the nice dishware.
Over the ensuing years, as Christmas gifts, my parents would add serving dishes and other pieces to our collection. By the time I was 25 years old, my china dishes numbered 12 complete place settings, 14 cups and saucers, a sugar bowl and creamer, a butter dish, a platter and several serving bowls.
By the time I was 30 years old, my taste had changed dramatically, and I wondered why I had ever chosen those colors for my china pattern. My home was decorated in earth tones with accent colors of green and red that didn’t really go with the pretty blue and pink and white dishes.
For the next 15 years, I used the china only a few times a year for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. For my daughter’s eighth birthday party, she hosted a tea party with all of her little girlfriends. They arrived in all of their eight year old finery of beads and feather boas and tea party hats. For this grand event, we pulled out the china dishes and had lemonade tea in the china cups, and cake and ice cream on the dessert plates.
About 10 years ago, I saw and fell in love with a set of Christmas dishes. By this time, I had money to buy them myself and could choose all the pieces I wanted. The poor blue and pink and white china was relegated to the back shelves of the buffet where it stayed unused and dusty at the holidays.
When I moved to Texas nearly seven years ago, I lugged it along with me, thinking that maybe my daughter might like to have it someday. Sadly, it still stayed hidden in its place in the bottom of the cabinet.
I offered it to my 22 year old daughter a couple of weeks ago. She declined and said, “Thank you, but I would prefer to choose my own dishes.” I certainly understood that; her taste is going to change anyway over the next few years.
I Googled “selling china dishes” and found there are companies who will actually pay you for your dishes. Of course, you have to pack and ship them to the company yourself. I mentally tucked that idea away for after the holidays. Next, a friend suggested that I might try to sell them on Craig’s List.
I took pictures of my pretty china and guessed on a price for the Craigslist ad. I posted the ad on Saturday morning and heard nothing all day.
That evening, I received an email asking about the china. The woman, Tracie, asked me to call her. When I called, Tracie told me she had the same china pattern years before and had given the dishes to her sister. She regretted giving up the blue and pink and white dishes because they matched her home perfectly. She said she was interested in buying my china and we set a time to meet.
When I met Tracie, she told me how she had looked for the same china but found that the pretty blue and pink and white china pattern had been retired or discontinued. Then, she searched for a similar pattern but had no luck there either.
Finally, a friend had suggested she check Craig’s List and when she did on the same day I had listed the china for sale, my ad was the first one she saw. I actually got shivers when I heard that…she was meant to have my china!
Tracie was as thrilled to get the pretty blue and pink and white china as I was to give up my role as caretaker. It was a win for us both. And, since her first child is due to be born in just a few months, there may be another little girl tea party with the pretty china in the future!
Here are some interesting facts about china with information from the Noritake China website:
*China is a combination of clay, kaolin, feldspar and quartz. After the raw materials are mixed, the product is molded into the desired pieces and then put through a series of firings.
*The firing of china at extremely high temperatures for long periods of time makes the body of the china pieces very strong. The firing process also causes the china to become very white and translucent.
*While china is very beautiful and delicate in appearance, it is known for its great strength and resistance to chipping, which results from the high firing temperature.
*China and porcelain actually refer to the same product. The term “china” is preferred in the United States while “porcelain” is favored in Europe.
*Bone China is usually thinner than porcelain china and the glaze is smoother. Bone china includes the same raw materials as porcelain china, but adds bone ash, which is a byproduct of incinerated animal bones. The bone ash gives the china a unique milky white color.