Hand-painted dishes, from antique pieces of china to modern works of art, can add a touch of class to any meal. Unfortunately, it can be hard to pick out the right pieces in the marketplace. In spite of that difficulty, there are a few things that can make the choice easier.
Check the Age
Antiques are almost always worth more than new dishes, but that doesn’t mean that they look better. Be sure to research the age of the dishes before you buy them, so that you know if you are buying a valuable antique or not. That having been said, never pick an unappealing antique over a pretty, modern piece that you prefer. Dishes are fragile, so there’s little reason to choose antiquities for their own sake.
Know the Materials
Dishes can be made out of many different materials. Even ceramics very significantly from one type to the next. The material will determine how tough the dishes are and how long you can expect them to last, so you should do your research and decide what type you want before you make a choice.
Get Washing Instructions
Improper washing can damage your dishes and cause the paint to come off, so you should make sure that you get detailed instructions on how to care for each piece. The washing method will usually come down to the type of protective glaze that the painter used, but it’s always best to get more specific rules from the store.
Match Your Dining Room
Beauty depends on context. A dish that looks good on a shelf may look terrible when you use it if it clashes with the rest of your dining room. Always take your existing decorations into account when choosing dishes, and be sure to avoid designs that clash with the rest of your dinner sets.
Choose Themed Sets
The easiest way to make sure that your collection looks good is to focus on themed sets. For example, a set of dishes that are painted with birds will have plenty of variety, but still look cohesive when they are displayed together. If you collect dishes with multiples themes, try to ensure that you use a full set with a similar theme for each meal, to make sure the table looks orderly.
Buying local products ensures that you can easily get into contact with the artist that made the dishes. That makes it much easier to replace dishes that break, or to expand your collection with similar pieces at a later date. It’s possible to do that with distant artists, but it’s much more difficult, and most people won’t want to go to the extra effort.
Involve The Whole Family
People are more likely to take good care of dishes that they like than ones that they dislike. To make sure that everyone treats the dishes with respect, bring your whole family to help pick them out. That ensures that everyone can express their preferences and get something that they find appealing.
Record The Origin
Decorated dishes tend to turn into heirlooms over the years. Some people will be curious about where they came from. If you record the places where you got the dishes and the artist who produced them on a small card, you can keep that information close at hand. It may not seem important now, but curious members of the next generation will be grateful that you did.