Garage sales, flea markets and resale shops provide a fun way to
collect specialty items. Since our female counterparts of yesteryear
did not work outside the home they took special pride in owning specialty
items not typically found today. A plethora of mystery items remain
to be found by modern day collectors. "Many the time I have been
heard to say, "I love it, I want it, what is it?"
Unlocking the Mystery of Stemware
Yesterday I spied four stems in Gold
Lenox Antique. If you know the
pattern frequently the Replacements web is the place to go to help
identify your piece. Specialty glass books on Heisey, Cambridge, Fostoria,
Independence, etc. are another great resources. In this case my
stems are yet to be positively identified. Yet clues dues to size
and shape can often help in the identification process. These stems
are 4 3/4'' high and hold precisely 1/2 cup or four fluid ounces.
Stems and Table Arrangement
When setting a formal table the water tumbler is placed above and
slightly to right of the knives. The position of the tumbler anchors the
positions of the other stemware. As a general rule of thumb, shorter stems
are placed in front of the taller. In a formal dinner or banquet the tumbler for water
is placed above or above and slightly to the right of the knives.
The champagne glass is placed a slight distance to the right of the water
tumbler. In front and between the water tumbler and champagne is the
claret or tall stem for white wine. The stem for white wine is usually
longer than stem for red wine and generally holds couple of ounces more.
Since white wine is served chilled the purpose of the longer stem is to
keep the heat from the hand from warming the wine. The sherry is
generally placed in front and the burgundy in back behind the water and
Champagne stems are either flutes or the shallow bowled. The
shallow bowled variety are sometimes sold as champagne/sherbets.
Most jewelers currently stock only the waters, iced teas or footed
beverage, champagne/sherbet, and wines.
Sherry: Typically this is the first wine served at dinner in a
small V-shaped stem. Sherry should be served at room temperature.
White Wine: White wine is always served chilled. The stem for white
wine is longer than for claret and the bowl holds approximately two ounces
more than the bowl for a claret. White wines are usually served with
fish and fowl.
Red wine: Red wine is served at room temperature with meat.
Burgandy: Burgandy is stronger than claret. It is served at
room temperature with duck and game.
Champagne: If no other wines are served at a formal dinner,
champagne is served with the meat course. If other wines are served,
it is served as soon as first course has begun. Champagne is served
Whisky: Whisky is not served at a formal dinner. At an
informal dinner it may be served to the gentlemen in lieu of champagne.
It is served with a piece of ice in tall glass suitable for iced tea.
Liquers: Liquers are served to both sexes in very small stems.
Caring for Crystal
Antique crystal is a work of art. Many pieces are hand blown, hand cut,
and hand polished. It is cost prohibitive for current manufacturers
to produce a similar quality today. Waterford continues to produce
hand blown, hand cut crystal but even they are using acid polishing
techniques. As a work of art it needs to be treated lovingly.
Under no circumstances should crystal be washed in a dishwasher. The
phosphates in the dishwashing detergent permanently etches the crystal
making it cloudy.