A Guide to Vintage Tea Cups

A guide to vintage tea cups. A vintage tea cup with loose leaf tea

Bone China? What do you mean? Real bones? From who? Humans?! No no no…

Throughout the history of tea, the vessel in which the tea sits is almost as important as the tea itself. From “cat mom” mugs, grandma's tea cup collection to individually etched works of art there are no wrong answers for teaware. However, something about having high tea in a beautiful gold rimmed cup with a matching saucer while eating sandwiches with the crust cut off screams tea culture.

With its roots beginning in East London- Thomas Frye created Bone China in 1748 with the combination of animal bone, rock forming minerals, and clay. This combination created a more chip resistant and stunningly beautiful piece of tableware.

Tea was consumed in tea bowls prior to 1810, when Robert Adams designed a cup with a handle on the side. As the popularity of tea grew in Britain, the way in which it was brewed did as well. The British preferred their tea piping hot, whereas traditionally tea was consumed lukewarm. 

Chicken cup - Most expensive vintage tea cup in the world

One of the most valuable tea bowls of all time is the Chicken Cup. With only 16 Chicken Cups known in existence, this rare tea sipping cup fetched US $36 Million dollars at Sotheby’s auction in 2014. Hailing from the Ming dynasty during the Chenghua emperor reign, this cup was created in the 15th century as an act of devotion for his empress mother. This cup represents core Chinese values such as continuing the family line and nurturing the young. Imagine how much nurturing $36 million would get you?

Vintage Tea Cup - Royal Albert Serena

A rare set of vintage tea cups has made its way into Grow Tea Company's collection. The Royal Albert "Serena" is an iconic set of fine bone china inspired by English gardens and woodlands, this Victorian era floral pattern with a gold trim is a beautiful vessel for our Royal Oolong tea, or a nice natural bergamot Earl Grey

This set of six rare Serena vintage tea cups is available by clicking this link.  It is perfect if you are looking for a special gift for the tea lover in your world, or want to continue the age old tradition of passing down through generations.  

Whether you are a collector, connoisseur, or just love browsing garage sales for a beautiful tea set on a Sunday afternoon, everyone can appreciate the details. From roses, mountains and hand painted motifs, to fruits, decorative animals or a village scene tea cups are definitely steeped in tradition.