Antiques Bring Beauty to the Holiday Table

As we enter the holiday season, things aren’t quite right. Thanksgiving had no traditional outdoors Macy’s Day Parade, no big gatherings and instead featured mask-wearing, social distancing and small groups. It is a holiday like no other that’s for sure.

However, we must prevail and hang in there. How can antiques and collectibles help? It’s obvious — these small treasures offer a bit of beauty and distraction at any table, no matter how small the group gathered for a meal.

For example, Croesus ware. This pretty style of glass adds a beautiful glimpse of elegance to the table. One example is shown in today’s column. It is an amethyst-colored Croesus ware pitcher, trimmed in gold and it dates to the late 19th century.

Like most antiques, the story behind it is fascinating too. Croesus ware is named after the sixth century king of Lydia, known for his wealth. Riverside Glass Works of Wellsburg produced the beautiful glassware and it is highly collectible.

Introduced in 1897, it came in three colors: clear, emerald green and amethyst. The clear or “crystal,” had no gold trim.

Pieces made in green and amethyst were accented with gilding on the fan and the C-scroll area of the design. These two-colored versions of Croesus are beautiful to display in a china cabinet or on the dining table.

Of the three colors of glass in which Croesus was made, the crystal glass examples are the least valuable today and the examples in amethyst are the most valuable. Green Croesus is valued somewhere in between.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many American glass companies made sets of pressed glass to be used on the table.

These serving sets included butter dishes, salt shakers, jelly compotes, jam jars, toothpick holders, castor sets, berry sets (large master berry bowl and eight smaller individual berry bowls), creamers, sugar bowls, spooners, celery vases, syrup dispensers, cake stands, goblets, tumblers, banana stands, pickle jars, compotes and other pieces of glassware.

I recently added crystal candelabras and an etched compote to my dining table. Crystal seems to work well with all china and table lines, so it is a plus when you like to vary your dishware pattern depending on company or other details.

Crystal also looks contemporary and has a timeless quality that is great with mid-century modern or today’s looks. There are many crystal examples at our local antiques shops and secondhand stores at all price points too.

So, when COVID-19 burnout sets in, remember to enjoy the holiday season in the simplest of ways, by dining elegantly with your immediate family. Enjoy setting the table with your finest china and accessories. Pull-out an old wedding gift or antique you inherited and enjoy it!

Even though we are worried about the pandemic and stressing over the daily news counts of cases and deaths, we can reduce our stress and increase our healthy habits by finding peace in simple ways.

Pause and enjoy the beauty from the past.

Setting my table with linens, china and serving dishes makes me feel happy and more relaxed, even when I’m dining alone with the newspaper! Think of the positive, with the limit on numbers for gatherings, you won’t have as many dishes to wash!

For comments or suggestions on local treasures to be featured in Antique of the Week, Maureen Zambito can be reached via email at zambitomaureen@hotmail.com or by writing in care of the Sunday News-Register, 1500 Main St., Wheeling, WV 26003.


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