TRAVEL

Fun cultural travel for those who enjoy the fineries in life. Find a Bed & Breakfast, museum or simply mozey out for a drive.

Antiques

The modern tea traveler loves a good vintage find. Great spots to discover hidden antique treasures in Texas.

QUILTING

Crafters rejoice! Texas quilt shows and quilt stores offer the latest fabrics along with great classes.

FESTIVALS

Come to our festivals -Travel all around the region to celebrate our flowers, harvests, history and people.

TEA SHOPS

Gracious shops and tea rooms who have a passion for teatime, from Country to Asian to European.

Home » FEATURED

STERLING SILVER

Submitted by on February 4, 2011 – 3:51 am

by Carol Sims

A few years ago two gentlemen from New York in the antique business came into my shop asking me if I had any sterling silver teapots. We had some silver-plated teapots but no sterling ones. He began to discreetly tell me that the best pot of tea is made in a sterling silver teapot. I had never heard that before.

I actually did not own a sterling teapot at that time, but I remembered that my mother had one. I had a silver-plated service and some large silver-plated urns for serving groups of people. I began to think about the whole concept of silver and tea. My memory was that the last time I had had a formal tea party for a large group, I had used a beautiful silver-plated urn. I recollected how disappointed I was in the black tea. It was hot but seemed to get stronger and stronger and very bitter the longer it stayed in the urn.

A few years before she died, I was able to get my mother’s sterling teapot. It’s especially meaningful to me since it belonged to my mother and real father who died when I was a teenager. I began to experiment by making black tea in this teapot, probably made in 1948. It’s a simple 6-cup Prelude pattern sterling pot, pours perfectly, better than any teapot I have and is very balanced with a handle that does not get hot.

I discovered the antique dealer was right. Sterling silver teapots make the best tea. Silver-plated teapots make the worst tea! A chemical reaction takes place to produce a very bad pot of tea. So polish that beautiful silver-plated teapot and put it on a shelf for decorative purposes or make a lamp out of it, but don’t make tea with it. In fact paint it black and then rub some of the paint off for a burnished look. I found an old silver-plated teapot like that once that is so charming to look at.

So after this discovery, I was on a search for sterling teapots. Guess what? You can’t find any, and they are outrageously expensive. I was just looking for a small 2-4-cup pot to use on a daily basis, something simple. Many of the sterling teapots are a part of big elaborate sets for thousands of dollars. I even talked with some silver professionals about making a teapot I could sell for the purpose of making tea, not for show. So far I haven’t found anyone who could produce one for me for a reasonable price.

Last year I was antiquing on Charles Street in Boston searching for a sterling teapot. When I mentioned my secret to a dealer, he said, “Well, I’ve always thought the best wine glass is a sterling one. I always drink my red wine in my sterling wine goblet.” He said silver has an antibiotic element of purity to it. Then I thought of all the sterling chalices used throughout the church for communion.

So last year I gifted my husband and myself two sterling wine goblets for our anniversary. He’s right. Wine tastes great in sterling. It even stays the right temperature.

I have hesitated sharing this secret with the world since there are so few sterling teapots around. Most people who have them don’t even use them for tea. So if you’re a black tea drinker and want to experience the best pot of tea, ask your grandmother or aunt if you can borrow her sterling teapot.  Sterling is a good investment now, so why not purchase a teapot you can enjoy and use now that will also be a part of your portfolio!