When it comes to fine china, the phrase “handle with care” couldn’t be more important. Everyone knows that china is fragile. Fine china — be it Meissen, Wedgwood or Royal Copenhagen — should be used with care.
Here are some tips so you can enjoy your china and prevent damage. First rule: Don’t place fine china in the dishwasher, refrigerator or microwave.
If you chose to display your fine china in a cabinet, give your collection breathing room. Do not stack them more than six plates high and be sure to place separators in between each piece. Display teacups atop their saucers. Don’t hang teacups on hooks within a china cabinet; that display option places undue stress on the teacup’s handle and forces you to screw a hook into your wooden china cabinet, damaging the furniture. A full set of fine china should be displayed by itself in one china cabinet. Display other collectible objects (figurines, ceramic bells, etc.) elsewhere. Don’t crowd fine china; it needs room to prevent damage and to show off its beauty.
If you must move your china, wrap each piece individually. Do not use newspaper as wrapping as the newsprint may bleed onto your china and leave gray streaks or dark stains. Individually wrap each piece in acid-free tissue, then wrap it again in a white cotton cloth (small terrycloth cloths work well) or bubble wrap. Do not store your china in bubble wrap long term because bubble wrap traps heat.
When moving your fine china, prepare for the worst. I use the old adage “wrap, wrap and reinforce.” Wrap the piece once in tissue paper, wrap twice in bubble wrap or a terry cloth towel, and then reinforce the inside of the box with packaging material (newspapers, Styrofoam peanuts, etc). You will use a lot of material but it will protect your valuable china. Another solution for wrapping china is to use disposable diapers because they are cushiony and have sticky tabs attached — no need for extra tape. Remember that breakage to any one piece in a china set will negatively impact the value of the entire set.
When packing or shipping fine china vases, bowls, tureens, chandeliers, etc. it is wise to pack Styrofoam or foam peanuts inside as well as outside of the piece. The internal and external packaging will protect the body of the china.
And one last tip… take as much time and care unwrapping your china as you did wrapping it.