At Teacup Fairy, we like to be as helpful as possible.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions. If your question isn't listed here, please contact us here and we'll respond as soon as we can. 

What does Antique/Vintage Mean?

All the goods on Teacup Fairy are second hand, previously owned pieces. Most of them are very old (at least 30-40 years, many are much, much older than that). 

Why Antique/Vintage Rather than New?

The "golden age" of Staffordshire bone china was between mid 1800's and mid 1900's (i.e. pre-1960/70). The processes of making and decorating fine bone china were well established over many years and were labour-intensive, using highly skilled craftsmen and craftswomen to produce these beautiful items. Much of the finishing was done by hand (such as gilting, faces, accents to flowers etc). Unfortunately, all the factories which produced in these methods have now gone. There is very little bone china production in Stoke on Trent in 2015. This means that it's simply not possible to obtain new pieces as they are not being made to the same standard, anywhere in the world.  

In the 1970's and in the 1980's particularly, the factories started to decline as modern processing methods meant that it was possible to buy a mug or tea set produced overseas much more cheaply than those from the UK, and whilst the quality wasn't the same, cheap goods were much more accessible. Most potters went into bankruptcy during this time which meant tens of thousands of job losses in Stoke on Trent. The industry never recovered and has now, seemingly, been lost. 

We love the exquisite bone china that these factories produced. The beauty and craftsmanship that they were able to impart to a simple product made ostensibly from clay is breathtaking. Rather than mourning the loss of the factories, in our view it's far better to celebrate their production: enjoying the pieces on a daily basis and treasuring them. Whilst some will argue that it's better to keep everything wrapped for posterity in a dusty box under the stairs,  we think the potters would far rather that their teacups were used. Our job is to bring you these pieces and help you enjoy them in your daily life. 

What does this mean for the Condition of the Pieces?

All the pieces on our site are free from chips, cracks and crazing, which means they not only look beautiful but are ready to be used. Put the kettle on and enjoy a proper cup of tea! In some cases, there is wear to the gilting which we indicate on the item description and also reflect in the price of the piece. Occasionally there are production flaws, such as irregularities in the glaze. This is entirely normal for these pieces and is a feature of their manual production. We do not consider these to be faults as much as features which add to their character. 

How Old is my Piece?

Our teacups are all 20th Century and earlier. Most are pre-1970 and a lot of them are from the 1920's, 30's and 50's. The oldest pieces on the site at the moment are from 1880, which makes them 135 years old. We research the pieces which are displayed on the site and where possible we provide information about dates and likely age. Backstamps are our most useful guide to age. Most of the time, we can tell you a range of dates when a particular backstamp was used, and this gives a good indication of age. We can also sometimes tell you when a design was released, but it may have been reproduced for many years so it's not a foolproof method of dating. 

There are Price Variations Across the Site. Why is This?

As with all collectibles, some pieces are more valuable than others depending upon manufacturer, the popularity of the design, the condition, age and rarity of the piece. We try to provide a range of price options across the site to suit all pockets. 

The Piece I Like the Most is Out of Stock - Will You Have More?

There are no guarantees that we'll ever see a particular item again. If you really like a particular item, please secure it whilst we have it in stock. If you've missed out, please let us know and the Fairy will do her best to find it for you. Contact us here

Can I Back-Order Out of Stock Items?

No. Due to the nature of supply, we don't take back orders as we don't know if we'll ever have more stock. Contact us here and we'll do our best to find another for you. 

Caring for Teacups

Vintage and Antique bone china is best washed in normal hot soapy water. Try not to use bleach. If your piece develops stains, soak in hot water with washing up liquid, adding a little laundry detergent works wonders. For the best shine, rinse your pieces after washing by dipping into very hot water (be careful and use gloves). Remove immediately and leave to drain. You should find (if the water is hot enough) that they dry extremely quickly and need little or no wiping. Store in a cool dry place or better still, put the kettle on and have another cup of tea!

Are My Pieces Dishwasher/Microwave Safe?

As a rule, we don't recommend using these pieces in the dishwasher or microwave. The dishwasher causes damage to the designs and gilting over time, and you might find that the gilting wears away completely. Never place anything with gold or silver gilting in the microwave as sparks will literally fly! Also, the microwave causes intense heat to random spots rather than heating uniformly, and this can cause the china to crack or break. 

My Item Arrived Broken. What Can I Do?

If you item is received in poor condition and is broken on arrival with you, please let us know and we'll arrange a replacement or refund. We will need details of the shipment and the condition. If possible, inspect the shipment before signing for it and if it is poor condition refuse to accept the delivery. 

I Dropped my Cup and it Smashed. What Can I Do?

Unfortunately, bone china is fragile and should be handled with care, in the same way as other porcelain, glassware and breakables. We are unable to accept returns for items which have been broken or cracked once accepted by you. 

What Happens if I am Unhappy with my Purchase?

If you are unhappy with your purchase please let us know and we'll do our best to help resolve the issue. Please contact us here and we will respond as soon as we can. 

Can You Search for Particular Items for Me?

Yes we can, although we offer no guarantees. Let us know what you want and the Fairy will do her best. 

I Would Like a Replacement Item -  What Can I Do?

We often have spares/replacements in stock. Let us know what you need and we'll do our best to supply.

I Have Items to Sell - What Can I Do?

If you'd like to sell to us, please contact us here and we'll get in touch. 

Milk or Tea in the Cup First?

Ah....... the $64,000 question. We can't agree either. Try it both ways and let us know what you prefer!