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Keeping Your China Protected

One of life's lessons is to learn from our mistakes so that we don't repeat them. Due to an oversight on my part I recently lost a nice piece of Wedgwood china from one of my prized collections.  This accident could have been prevented had I taken my own advice and not been so careless when storing a stack of my plates.  You see, I have been protecting my fine china for years by layering each piece with felt rounds and I have to say that it has always worked for me. How could I have lost a piece of china if I was doing this you ask?  I happened to use the wrong-sized round in between a stack of plates.

Over the last few months, with my shifting of pieces of china from one cabinet over to another, I have inadvertently been switching the proper-sized pieces of felt with ones that were too small.  It took this particular accident to make me realize that I had been careless.  It's always in hindsight that we see our mistakes and wish we had done something differently, isn't it?

This is what happened:  as I lowering some luncheon plates onto the counter, my hand slipped and the entire stack came down rather hard.  When I heard a break my heart just sank.  I quickly searched for the damage and it became apparent that a large piece had been chipped off the rim from one of the plates.  This plate had a felt round that was a couple of inches smaller than the diameter; clearly the wrong size!  As you can well imagine, the blunder triggered all of the usual feelings one goes through after the fact and it took me a long time to get over it.  Well, sort of...

Learn from this mistake of mine and don't let it happen to you.

This is what not to do.  It's a mistake and foolhardy to just stack pieces of fine china any which way, because pieces will slip, things will shift (if you're in earthquake country, forget it!).  These photographs (above) from my collections were taken to illustrate the point.  It's not what I normally do with my Wedgwood or other pieces of fine china.

And now for the broken piece.  Avert your eyes if you're squeamish.

You can see how badly the luncheon plate was damaged; the plate is now completely useless to me and I have yet to get rid of it.  How can I upcycle this piece?  Any suggestions?

It's funny, but after inspecting the awful chip, a few things occurred to me.  I've read that all Wedgwood Drabware (antique & from the 2000 line) was fashioned out of dark clay.  This special earthenware is prized for its rich, dark color and now, through my misfortune, you can see that this is true.  That clay is indeed a deep putty color.

This is what you should always do with your fine china.  If you want, buy precut pieces of felt from housewares stores or online if you don't want to do any work, but with just a pair of scissors, a pencil and a bolt of felt from a fabric store, these pieces can be cut in a matter of minutes.  

If you're cutting your own, put your plate upside down onto the felt and trace the outline with your pencil.  Trace as many rounds as you have plates, making sure all correspond with the diameter of those pieces, and then simply cut out the rounds.  You can see that my stacks of felt are ready to be placed in between each piece.  

Don't get lazy like I did and use the wrong-sized round in between your plates.  That stack of rim soup bowls in the background shows you that the felt goes all the way to the edge.  

One more thing.  Please use your nice china from time to time and don't let it collect dust.  It's such a pleasure to reach for your favorite pieces every now & then, even if it's just you having a pot of tea with a scone in the afternoon.

Keeping your fine china protected is all a part of good homekeeping.  When you become complacent and not pay attention to the way you're storing and handling your china, accidents can happen.  I hope this serves as a reminder to each one of you to not only care for your prized pieces, but to use them as much as possible.  Yes, many of us plan to pass our fine china to members of the family, but while they're in our possession, why not enjoy them to the fullest?  


  1. David, use the rim chipped plate for a potted plant. just put the chip at the back and no one will see it. the plate will offer water drainage for the plant. it will save a table or window ledge from water damage.

  2. Thank You, that makes a lot of sense. I thought about using it as an under plate for something.

    Excellent idea!


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