My mom is a gift-giver. I’m not just talking about the obvious holidays, either–like Christmas or birthdays. We even get presents for Halloween in this family.
So for Valentine’s Day, she gave us a gift, and I want to shout it from the rooftops because it is lovely: a serving piece to match our Royal Copenhagen porcelain dinnerware pattern.
Look, I get that many people in my generation think china should go the way of the dodo bird. It’s precious, it’s frivolous, it sits in a cabinet 364 days a year, etc, etc. And given that stores like Ikea and Crate and Barrel sell inexpensive sets of perfectly nice, versatile white plates, why would anyone bother still collecting the fancy stuff?
Granted, I may be an anomaly on this, and if you know me, you know I love plates. But I think procuring a set of really good dinnerware is worthwhile when you’re setting up a home. Manny and I are minimalist enough that, before moving to Savannah, we managed to live together for a few years in a 400 square foot studio apartment in NYC. Still, we decided we wanted good dinnerware.
We chose Royal Copenhagen in part because it’s the same brand of porcelain his mother and grandmother use. And I’m struck by the fact that both of these (admittedly very classy and not-clumsy) women use their very nice plates every day — i.e., it’s not something that sits in a closet, only used for rare occasions. Manny and I haven’t been married very long yet, but I already have so many memories of sitting down to breakfast, lunch, or dinner at either his mother’s house in DC or his grandmother’s house in Stockholm, dining on these incredibly beautiful plates. And they aren’t precious with their RC; when we’re done, it goes in the dishwasher. Hell, you can throw RC in the microwave too.
Now, I will note that Royal Copenhagen is expensive. We didn’t even put it on our official wedding registry because we were too embarrassed to ask for plates that cost so much. But it is bespoke quality. The company can brag that it has been purveyor to Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark since 1775. All Royal Copenhagen dinnerware is hand-painted porcelain — it’s said a single dinner plate entails nearly 1,200 brushstrokes. Any way you slice it, the slender cobalt medallions and fronds on a white background make for a timeless, beautiful, and elegant design. I’ve seen some of the imitation patterns (generally stamped), many of which are produced in England — and they too are nice, but they are just not the same as the real, hand-painted porcelain deal.
Also, I’d note: While RC is expensive, its long production history means that there’s a lot of it floating around the market. A quick search reveals that perfectly good RC porcelain dinnerware sets are available at auction for a fraction of the retail cost. To me, this makes it especially appealing — no need to cry if you drop a teacup. You can get another one from eBay. And I really love that, when you do buy it at auction, the pieces get the new life they deserve, rather than remaining relegated untouched to someone else’s shelf.
Anyone familiar with the RC offerings from wedding registry giants like Bloomingdale’s or Zola knows that the company has designed a new take on the traditional blue-fluted lace patterns that made them famous, called Blue-Fluted Mega. Apartment Therapy even did a little piece on this, calling it a “modern update for a Danish classic.”
Mega is perfectly nice (you can see a prominent example in the image above), but I’m more for the traditional patterns, personally — in part because that’s what Manny’s family has and also because there is, as I mentioned, a lot more of it floating around the market. But while I wouldn’t invest in a full set of Fluted Mega myself, I do think it looks really cool mixed with RC’s more traditional patterns.
When Manny and I have kiddos, our Royal Copenhagen will not be used as everyday dinnerware — that’s for sure. But I love the idea of cultivating a sense of purpose at mealtimes now by using beautiful plates.
What do you think? Are you a fan of fine china or is it très passé?
(Note: This is not an endorsed post. All photos are from the Royal Copenhagen website.)