The China Files

The China Files

Claudia Reeves

Ben Dunne once said, “The only way to make a small fortune in horse racing is to start with a big one”. A few months into COVID imposed quarantine I found out the hard way that applies to starting your own china collection too! A cup here, a “trio” there and before you know it your house is chock-a-block with pretty china! And your “savings”, well… let’s not go there!  That is when I realised that I was suffering from COPD (Compulsive Online Purchase Disorder) and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). It has taken time, but at last I have now acknowledged my situation and am taking baby steps towards weaning myself from my addiction. One purchase at a time... 😉

What got me here in the first place? My long-held wish to add a vintage section to my tableware hire business. Old bone china is just so pretty - the colours, the styles, the whole romantic vibe, even just wondering about who might have held a particular piece last, or when…

I suppose I could have amassed my treasures in a thriftier way, over a longer period, but I’m afraid once I got started there was just no going back! I became obsessed! The china online shopping game has a fast-learning curve, especially for those uneducated in the subject – like me! Lesson one, not all that glitters is gold. Lesson two, photographs never look the same as the real thing. Lesson three, if they accept €20, they might have accepted €15, and so on! I obviously will not pretend to be an authority in the matter, I just know what I “like”. But I have quickly learned what to look out for and to spot a good bargain. The truth is, there are many deals to be had, you just have to find the one that is right for you. Patience is the key and learning to walk away of course. After all, you cannot bring it all home!

So, if at some stage you decide to buy a few lovely pieces of china to enjoy – go for it! I am sure you will have as much fun in the process as I did. If, however you are thinking large scale, as in supplies for your wedding, or a similarly large celebration – STOP! Think first - do you have a large enough cabinet, or better still a room, for all those plates, cups, and saucers you might need for the event AFTER it is over? Will you ever use them again? Will your heart be broken if something gets broken?

If your answers are No – No – Yes, then hire is your best bet. Enjoy the experience of a nice cup of tea, coffee, or champagne (we don’t judge!) from a delicate bone china cup. Feel like a Princess (or a Duke 😉), admire the delicate features of the object in your hands, relish in the colourful decoration, exercise your pinkie without shame and keep the moment forever in a photograph. And when you have done all that, simply return them to the help (that’s us!) for safekeeping until the next time! The memories will always be yours to keep, even if the china is not!