Traditional china vs. Ironstone....

I currently have 7 sets of china in my attic. The "important" pieces of each set are displayed throughout my home...tea sets, serving dishes, well as one place setting of all.

I did not set out to "collect" china. My first set was a pretty pink and green floral I purchased at an auction almost 30 years ago. The set had mint EVERYTHING...salt and pepper shakers, tea pot, sugar and cream set, serving dishes and 12 place settings.I proudly displayed it all in my china hutch until one fateful move...when I didn't get the little pegs securely in the top shelf of the china hutch...and it all came crashing down. No, it did not break the pieces I had 12 of, like plates and cups. Nope...the teapot, the sugar and cream set, the salt and pepper shakers, serving dishes. THOSE took the hit. By some weird alignment of the stars or fate, an older lady we were buying a house from was having an auction and she had the exact same set....including the serving pieces I had destroyed. Wow...what are the odds. Now most are packed away in the attic.

I bought another set of china years later, again at an auction.I loved the colors...browns, oranges, blues. It has the prettiest scalloped edges on the serving pieces! We used them at Thanksgiving for several years until we (I say we...actually Brian is the dishwasher!) got tired of having to hand wash they are in the attic!

And then just a few years ago another set...a simple "white" with platinum edging, decorated with little platinum branches with birdies (if you remember, I have a thing for birdies!) Simple. I bought them for a New Year's dinner party. Much more "contemporary" than the other two sets. Naturally I used them once and then most were packed away in the attic.  

Now the "family" heirlooms are starting to roll in. The first was from my paternal grandmother. She wasn't a "china kind of person" but she had the prettiest serving pieces of the Universal Ballerina in mist from the 1950s....a beautiful greenish-bluish color with a simple platinum edge. So pretty in fact that I began purchasing the dinner plates and bowls and cups. And then I promptly packed them away in the attic with the other sets. 

Then my maternal grandmother's. Then both my maternal great grandmother's. All from Japan or Germany, where my mother's family lived during my grandfather's military career. I get tickled when people make a huge deal out of "Occupied Japan" pieces at auctions...I have an attic full because my grandparents actually lived in occupied Japan in the late 40s! 

Again, I have the serving pieces, a place setting of each and the tea sets displayed but the rest are all packed and labeled in the attic.

So where does the ironstone come in?

Well, since the discovery of blog sites like Miss Mustard Seed and The Ironstone Nest I have taken a fancy to simplistic style of the white ironstone. So much so that when I discovered ONE ironstone bowl in an apartment, I went on an obsessive hunt for more pieces. For years I have loved white dishes because it was easy to add other white dishes when needed without there being a "glaring" difference!  I ended up spending way more than I want to admit to put together 20 dinner plates, bowls and dessert plates for every day use, buying a few pieces at a time on Etsy and Ebay! 

Ironstone is not as prevalent in our area as it is in other parts of the country. I have run across a few pieces here and there but nothing like the northeast where it seems to be in every antique and thrift store...and has soared in value. I have purchased a few pitchers and tureens and dish sets over the years (usually for VERY little), but nothing like what other bloggers report. It just hasn't made a "splash" here like it has elsewhere. The pieces I have sold have often sat for some time and sell for very little.

So I have begun to "hoard" what few pieces I stumble across.

Just last week I bought two pitchers (each thrown in a flat of odds and ends) at an auction.

I also picked up this pretty sugar and creamer set that came with an entire set of ironstone dinnerware. My daughter will get the dishes for her apartment this summer (that should tell you how little I paid for the entire set)...the sugar and creamer set are mine! 

I found this little chipped creamer in a box of odds and ends several years ago and kept it because it was chipped and it is the perfect size for little knock-out roses.

I think I picked up this little set at another auction some time back. Pretty....

And this little pitcher...I like it with the little Gerber daisies in my laundry room!


Martha Stewart is credited for bringing ironstone to the fore-front of today's collectors. Her website gives the simplest, most comprehensive, history of ironstone. Well worth the read!

I really love the simplistic styling of the white ironstone. As much as I love and cherish all the pretty china I have purchased and inherited over the years, sometimes I feel like all the "traditional china" kind of gives my home that "old lady vibe." But most are heirloom pieces and are just a few of the Things I Love!