Storing for Display
When you get your fine bone china, you want to display it proudly! Take care with your china and it will probably last as long as you do.
- If possible, store china in a wooden display cabinet that has glass doors on the front. Wood provides a more natural display environment.
- If you're using a modern display cabinet with built-in low voltage downlights - use them sparingly! The heat from the downlights dries the air and can cause crazing which may lead to hairline fractures in your china.
- Keep a low bowl of water in the back corner of enclosed display cabinets. This helps to keep the air in the cabinet humidified and provides moisture that helps stop crazing.
- If your items are stored outside of a cabinet, make sure they are in a draft and wind free area. A simple gust of wind can spell the end of your precious items.
- Plates and bowls should be displayed on stands - preferably plastic or wood. Again, this prevents marking that can sometimes come from metal stands.
- Do not use spring loaded stands, because over time, they create stress in the pieces which may lead to cracks.
- Keep your items away from direct sunlight. The glazing can magnify the effect of the sun rays and the surface of the items may become very much hotter than the air temperatuare around. This will lead to crazing, and in some cases may actually cause a fracture in your items.
- When your items become dusty, don't dust them. WASH them. Washing is good for the bone china, it helps to keep the items fresh, and also assists with reducing the chances of crazing. Click here to read my other guide for recommendations on washing your fine China
- If you have had guests that have picked up items in your collection - make sure you wash the items after they leave. Finger prints and palm marks can leave a lasting stain - especially on older pieces, or pieces that might already have some light crazing.
- Display larger pieces at the top and bottom of your cabinets. This helps balance, but also means that people don't have to reach up to see something small on a high shelf.
- Display small, intricate pieces in the middle of the cabinet - where they can be easily seen without anyone having to touch anything.
- Try to leave about an inch (3cm) of space between the edge of the cabinet shelf and the item. This allows for any movement that might occur - if you live on a busy road, you'll be familiar with "China Walk" - the phenomenon of china that moves by itself from vibrations in the house or street.
- Rotate your display regularly. It makes it more visually interesting for you, but is also good for the china because different pieces will be exposed to the different temperatures in your cabinet.
Storing for UseMost fine bone china is stored for display purposes, but if you're lucky to be the type of collector that uses their pieces then I hope you find some of these tips helpful.
- Always make sure china is completely dry before storing.
- Put a paper napkin between plates. Most plates are scratched by sliding on top of each other while going in and out of the cupboard.
- Try not to stack plates more than 6 or 8 high. The weight of the plates may cause stress for the ones on the bottom.
- Never stack cups on top of each other - it weakens the handles.
- Put a paper napkin under each cup and store with the rim side down. This ensures that the cups stay dust free and ready for use.
- If storing a teapot - place a plastic freezer bag over the spout and either fasten with a rubber band, or tie with a freezer bag tie. Pierce some holes in the bag to let air circulate.
- Place a freezer bag over the lid of the teapot & place back on the teapot. The bag will help provide some protection as china expands and contracts with temperature change.