Beauty in Bloom

While some patterns focus on achieving a strong, grounded, bold look, others focus on attaining a softer and more fluid beauty. Instead of hard lines, geometric patterns, and structured designs, we can often find gorgeous inspiration from nature. Not all of these have to be bursting at the seams with flora and fauna, though. If you prefer more of a simple beauty, you may enjoy taking a look at Waterford Lismore Platinum or Lismore Gold, as both feature an embossed rim with a curved template.

If, on the other hand, you are someone who enjoys that strong, bold look but with a softer influence, then Spode Fitzhugh Red is the pattern for you. Right away, it’s vibrant red color catches the eye and attention is kept through its gorgeous details. With a scalloped band, intricate florals, and hint of Chinese influence, this is truly a pattern that is hard to ignore.

Of course, getting just the right balance between these two extremes is ideal for many people. If you like a cool, laid back, and refined look such as Lismore Platinum, then the beautiful Dansk Eden set could be perfect for you with it’s calm color palette and soothing plant-like design. Of course, for those more interested in warmer colors, Aynsley Pembroke Gold is a token example of just how much beauty a classic floral pattern can bring to your table and collection.

Aynsley Pembroke Gold

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Spode in Charge

We may not all be royalty, of course, but that certainly doesn’t mean we can’t have a more regal taste. If you consider yourself someone who fits this description, having a fancy for outstanding pieces with an air of strength and beauty, then perhaps investigating some patterns by Spode will be a good idea. With a history dating back to 1767 and a headquarters in England, Spode certainly has had a successful run.

First, feast your eyes on the Colonel Blue Gold pattern with its scalloped edge and blue floral border. The gold comes in the form of a gorgeous trim, adding a lovely balance to the pieces and that extra special touch to finish it off. Though this pattern is no longer being manufactured, it had a very successful run of around 47 years! If you can manage to get ahold of it, it will definitely add lots of beauty and value to your collection.

Another pattern with a similar scalloped shape is Fleur de Lys Grey. As the name suggests, this pattern features a series of repeating fleur de lys symbols. Throughout history, the fleur de lys has been used in religious, political, and military settings. This stylized lily pattern is different than Colonel Blue Gold not only because of its stricter and more organized design, but also because the pieces are made of bone and have a platinum trim instead of gold. If it is the gold that you fancy so much, though, perhaps you should see Knightsbridge, which, like its name, has the air of a royal knight. This pattern has a deep blue band around the outside surrounded by gold trim and details. A series of golden scrolls and dots, with use of the imagination, can actually appear similar to small crowns, perfectly crafted and ready to serve your table.

Spode Colonel Blue Gold

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Royal Doulton’s Classy Patterns

With so many years of history under its belt, Royal Doulton certainly has a large following and perhaps an even larger selection of patterns to choose from. While some enjoy a more bold and loud look for their table settings, others are hoping for something with a more subtle beauty. For example, the Anthea pattern may appear to be plain white at first, but upon closer inspection, you will find a beautiful floral leaf pattern around the edge. Coupled with the platinum trim and verge, this is a perfect simple and sweet pattern to enhance any table. A similar pattern would be the Precious Platinum, also with a platinum trim but this time featuring gorgeous curved lines and dots making for a gentle and graceful look.

If those are too subtle and you want something with just a little bit more going on, then Royal Gold might catch a bit more attention. It’s another piece that is very simple in design, but the beauty shines through in the smaller details. In this case, it is the textured gold rim that catches the eye. With its neutral colors, matching Royal Gold with other china, crystal, and flatware sets is easy. Of course if you’re looking for something that is a similar style to this but not as neutral, take a look at Martinique, which features a beautiful deep red geometric design around the rim.

Royal Doulton Royal Gold

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Wedgwood Style

If you are looking to start your own china collection or expand one that you already have, what better place to look than a brand that has a well established name and a long history of quality and success? Wedgwood is the company you should look to.

Many people enjoy china pieces with border-based designs. Wedgwood Chester is one such pattern, featuring a gorgeous green band topped with gold scrolls. This pattern is one that looks beautiful on its own but that also won’t detract from the delicious appearance of any food you place on it. If you like the idea of this set but you don’t want a completely white background, you could always take a look at a similar pattern with a verge to add a visual break such as Wedgwood Colorado. Similar to Chester, Colorado is a border-based design with gold details, though this one features a deep red band with blue flowers.

While many people enjoy adding those small, colorful details to their tables, others are hoping to get a china set that can work with almost anything. Colors are great, but they can be hard to match with as many table settings when compared to other pieces with a more neutral pallet. If you want a set that gives off a bold and sophisticated appearance that can also match a huge range of crystal, flatware, and other table setting items, then Wedgwood Ascot could be just right for you. With its brilliant gold band, Ascot can add beauty to your table no matter what the occasion.

Of course Wedgwood has other pieces besides those specifically with border designs. Sure, border designs can be versatile, but other pieces can be as well. For example, take a look at Wedgwood Quince. Popular due to its colorful and fruity design, this more natural and traditional pattern can be used in a huge range of situations. Not only that, but Quince is also easy to use as your food can be heated and served directly on the pieces.

Wedgwood Ascot Dinner Plate

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Waterford Crystal

Waterford is a company based in Ireland that has been well known for its quality and history, having been around since the late 1700s. Though their china selection is quite vast, what makes this company shine is its beautiful crystal. Whether you are looking for an old fashioned look or something more modern, where are definitely some patterns that will suit your fancy.

One such traditional set is Waterford Kylemore, showing off cut glass and a tapering stem. It had a great run being in production from 1966 to about 2010. There are square cuts that are met with vertical blaze cuts. This bold look is similar to what can be found in Powerscourt, which is perhaps one of Waterford’s most successful patterns. Powerscourt came out only a few years later in 1969, however, despite its popularity and continued success, it is now discontinued. Powerscourt features cuts in a criss cross pattern and, compared to other crystal, is heavy for its size. This asset allows the set to be very sturdy and strong, helping it to continue to stand the test of time.

Another popular pattern is Kildare which, perhaps like a combination of the previous two patterns, features both diamond and vertical wedge cuts. Unlike the others, though, this set features a plain foot base. Not only do these pieces measure up with the high standard of Waterford quality, but they are also a perfect example of the Waterford style.

Waterford Powerscourt

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Exploring Royal Doulton

Royal Doulton is an English company that is almost 200 years old at the time of this post. Naturally, after being along for such a long time, the company has not only made a huge variety of patterns, but they have also met a lot of continued success. Over time, they’ve found their own style and traits, though there are also some pieces that break this mold.

Royal Doulton English Renaissance is a great pattern to look at to examine this style. On a white background is a very thick border, full of intricate green and gold scrolls. Though many of the pieces feature this thick border, it is not something that distracts from the pattern’s beauty. Actually, the bold gold and complex scrolls are typical of Royal Doulton pieces, combining for a bold look that doesn’t go overboard.

If you want a piece that still fits in with this same stylistic direction, but perhaps are hoping for something less strong, then Royal Doulton Gold Lace is worth your consideration. As the name suggests, this pattern is laced with beautifully elegant gold designs and trim. Around the edge is a geometric series of diamond shapes and floral shapes, combining together to make a golden garden of lace castles. Because of these details, Gold Lace is the perfect addition to almost any collection and can add grace and a bit of royal whimsy to any table.

As stated earlier, there are some patterns that don’t fit these stylistic trends at all, and go so far from what is typical that you would usually not be able to guess they were made by Royal Doulton. One such pattern is their Kingswood pattern. Unlike the previous two mentioned, Kingswood does not have a bold, chic appearance, and definitely does not host the same amount of gold details. Instead, this pattern has more of a country traditional look, featuring a friendly arrangement of colorful florals. While many of Royal Doulton’s pieces surely exude the look of Royalty with their strong looks, Kingswood does not have this same effect necessarily. Regardless, it is all up to one’s personal taste, and the pattern is beautiful for a wide variety of occasions, whether you are hosting a family dinner or just getting together with some friends for afternoon tea.

Royal Doulton Kingswood Dinner Plate

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Mixing and Matching

When it comes to collecting fine tableware, there are two different approaches you can try taking. The first is to find versatile pieces that you enjoy and that can work well with many other sets. For example, flatware and china that both feature a platinum rim. While these pieces are likely not going to be from the same pattern or even brand, they can still look great on your table because of the shared detail. The other approach then, of course, is to stick to the brands and patterns that come in a sort of matching set. For example, some brands produce china and crystal sets both with the same pattern name, making the perfect match for your table.

Take a look at Lenox Snowdrift Gold. There is a gorgeous gold trim and verge, and, while the pattern may appear to be plain white, after looking more closely you can see a flowing white on white embossed design. The design is simple yet it has enough subtle detail to set it apart from many other options. To match Snowdrift Gold, try finding some other pieces that share some of the details, such as the gold rimmed Lenox Encore. Like the china, this crystal set shares a simple yet elegant design. The beauty here is not in a bunch of intricate details, facets, and cuts, but rather in the smooth, almost pure look. Snowdrift Gold and Lenox Encore match very well, but both are versatile enough to work well with many other patterns, too.

Another similar set of crystal is Mikasa’s Golden Tiara. Like Encore, Golden Tiara is quite simple, the most noticeable detail being the gold rims, though there are also many chic vertical cuts that add a lot more depth to the look. As such, it can be a good idea to match this crystal with some china that also has a stronger look, such as another Mikasa pattern, Imperial Lapis. Once again, these two sets both share a gold detail, but Imperial Lapis helps to balance out the striking Golden Tiara.

Lenox Snowdrift Gold Salad Plate

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Lenox China

There are many different manufacturers to choose from if you are looking for some fine china, and with so many choices, you are bound to find a wide variety of different styles. Even so, some companies have certain distinct features that make their style more notable. It is hard to always come up with the words to describe these, but perhaps after looking at a company’s different pieces, you will come to find familiar elements on your own.

The Lenox company is a great place to start. They have been in business since 1889 and have been met with continued success. Lenox is run from the United States and is one of the few bone china manufacturers there. It is the perfect brand to check out if you are looking for some sturdy, American-made china.

Take a look at some of their different patterns.

Lenox Charleston paves the way with a gorgeous floral motif. The overall color palette is cool with roses, lavenders, and grays, all held in by a platinum trim. It was manufactured until 2008 and was in production for 26 years. This Southern style pattern embodies sophistication and charm that has lasted over the years. It has a creamy white background, a feature very common in Lenox pieces. Charleston would make a good choice for high tea or other formal occasions, but it is safe to put in the dishwasher, too, making it ready for frequent or even daily use.

Like the Charleston pattern, a lot of other Lenox pieces are suited for formal settings, too, such as the Lenox Liberty. This pattern was made as part of the Presidential collection, meaning that these pieces were used in the United States White House. What better way to set the presidential table than with china that was made in America? Once again, Liberty features that classic Lenox cream-colored background and stays true to its name with the patriotic blue in the design. At first glance, it may appear to be floral like in the Charleston pattern, but it is actually a curved, swirling blue scroll on both the outer band and verge. The gold trim adds the extra finishing touch to balance out the pattern.

While a lot of the Lenox pieces are more traditional in appearance, there are, of course, some patterns that are a bit bolder. For example, take the Lenox Vintage Jewel. This is definitely much more different than the last two, straying from a more traditional look and the faded appearance of a cream background. Instead, Vintage Jewel shows off a stark white, contrasting with the gold and black border and platinum trim. While the border may appear to just have a small curving design at first, a more jeweled look is seen up close. This jeweled design is more prevalent on pieces with a larger border, such as the salad plate. This is one of Lenox’s newer designs, first being made in 1998 and still in production today.

Lenox Vintage Jewel Salad Plate

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Nature’s Inspiration

No matter what form of art you like to use to explore and express your creativity, nature always seems to act as a wonderful source of inspiration. After all, there is so much beauty in the outdoors whether you are looking at small ripples in the water, towering mountains, or a lovely sunset. Fine china can also take inspiration from nature, and in this post a few examples that involve plants will be examined.

First is the Wedgwood Strawberry & Vine. This is an active pattern that Wedgwood has manufactured since 1988. The pattern is entirely white, displaying what first appears to be pure simplicity, yet upon closer inspection, a raised and embossed design is shown. The design includes winding leaves and berries on a vine that add a lot of texture and visual interest without going overboard. Fitting in with the subtle tone is a smooth, scalloped edge. Because of the clean white color, Strawberry & Vine is a good option if you want to draw focus to the food that you are serving.

A similar pattern is called Fruits of Life, made by Lenox. Like the Strawberry & Vine, Fruits of Life features a raised plant pattern with leaves and fruits. Instead of a strong white background, though, this pattern has a beautiful, soft cream color as well as a gold verge and trim. This pattern was manufactured for 12 years, and though it is a little different than the other designs by Lenox, it is still very nice looking and has been met with success. This is a good set to go for if you like classic beauty and sophistication.

When it comes to pieces that draw inspiration from nature, you probably imagine something a little bit more colorful. This is where the Herend Chinese Bouquet in Green comes in. These pieces feature a gorgeous basket weave pattern around their borders, and the slightly scalloped edges are met with a gold trim. A winding green and gold vine and leaf pattern is found on the inner band and in the center is a hand-painted set of leaves. Like all of Herend’s pieces, the Chinese Bouquet in green displays some of the company’s finest points of beauty and would make a perfect addition to any collection.

Herend Chinese Bouquet Green Dinner Plate

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What’s in a Name?

People go through a lot of time and thought whenever they need to bestow a name upon something. After all, your name is what people will know you by for the rest of your life! Of course, naming a person and naming a china pattern are two different things, but pattern names can still hold great importance. Not all pattern names sound like patterns, though. Actually, a lot of them share their names with people.

If you know someone that shares their name with a china pattern, it could be a fun surprise to get some of those pieces for them. Here are a few examples, though there are many more, too.

First up is Wedgwood Carlyn. This pattern was manufactured from 1958-1992 and features a beautiful platinum trim and verge on a clean white background. The design may be very simple, but that does not mean that it is lacking in beauty. In fact, it is quite the opposite, proving to be a grand example of sophistication with a classic quality that has been successful even after so many years. It can be used for a variety of different occasions, whether you are hosting a formal gathering or just a fun get together with friends.

Next is the Lenox Emily pattern. These pieces show off a beautiful pastel floral pattern with pinks and blues. The look is extremely graceful and captures a lot of traditional elements even though it was manufactured more recently from 1989-1997. The cheerful Emily is sure to impress anybody at your dinner table. This pattern also would work extremely well for a tea party or dessert party. It is the perfect option if you like classic pieces with a vintage feel.

Last, but of course not least, is Waterford Lisette. Like Lenox Emily, Lisette also features a nature-inspired design, though perhaps this one is a bit more subtle. Just a few silver branches and leaves are visible on this pattern between the trim and the verge of the same color. The white background makes these details more visible though the look is still subtle and very elegant. This is a very versatile pattern because it is so fitting for fancy and formal occasions, but it also works well as a daily set for your dinner table.

Waterford Lisette 5 Piece Place Setting

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