When you think of afternoon tea, you probably think of Britain.
The custom of afternoon tea became very popular during the reign of Queen Victoria in the 19th century, and many items were created for the occasion.

For more information on the history of British afternoon tea, please see this article.

The tableware used for drinking tea or coffee, such as afternoon tea, is called a "tea set."

Here we will introduce some representative antique tea sets, focusing on silver products.


Antique Silver Teapot 1Antique Silver Teapot 2
Antique Silver Teapot 3Antique Silver Teapot 4
This is the central item in a tea set.
Teapots of various sizes and designs were made using pure silver, silver plate, or ceramic depending on the era and workshop.
Smaller pots for 1-2 people are also called bachelor pots.

Sugar bowl, sugar basket

Sugar BowlSugar Basket

A container for holding sugar for tea or coffee.
Sugar was very expensive until the first half of the 18th century, so old sugar bowls are often quite large, indicating the wealth of a family.

Milk jug, cream jug

Cream jugMilk Jug

A container for holding milk or cream for tea.
Milk tea is the standard tea consumed at British afternoon tea, so it was always included in tea sets.

Coffee pot, hot chocolate pot

Coffee pot
Coffee was drunk in Britain long before tea became popular.
A coffee pot and a hot chocolate pot are generally considered to be part of a tea set.

Hot Water Jug

Hot Water Jug
This is a jug that holds hot water to dilute tea that has become too strong.

Tea service (teapot set)

Tea service (3-piece set)Tea service (5-piece set)
A set of the essential tea sets, including a teapot, sugar bowl, and cream jug, is called a "tea service."
Since they are all made with the same design, they create a sense of unity.
Some sets also come with a coffee pot and hot water jug.

Cup and saucer

Cup and saucerTeacup Trio
A ceramic cup and saucer for drinking tea.
There is also a set called a "trio set" that includes plates for serving desserts and other food.

Teaspoon, sugar tongs

Teaspoon setSugar Tongs
A teaspoon is a spoon used to scoop hot tea, let it cool before drinking, and to stir sugar into tea.
Sugar tongs are used to carry sugar from the sugar bowl.

Even though they are made of pure silver, many of them are relatively affordable, making them ideal as an introductory item to antique silver.


Dessert cutleryButter knife
This is small cutlery used for eating meals and desserts such as sandwiches and scones served at teatime.

Tea caddy, tea caddy spoon

Tea CaddyTea Caddy Spoon
A tea caddy is a container for storing tea leaves.
When tea was a luxury item, there were lockable versions.

A tea caddy spoon is a spoon used to scoop tea leaves into a pot.
Many of the pieces are small and have elaborate designs, so there are many collectors around the world.

Tea Kettle

Tea KettleTea Kettle 2
This is a kettle for boiling water to make tea.
The burner and stand are included in the set, allowing you to boil hot water right on the table.

Biscuit warmer

Biscuit warmerBiscuit Warmer 2
This is a container for putting baked goods such as biscuits and scones in and keeping them warm by placing it near a fireplace.
There are many different designs, including shells, and the silverware is very gorgeous.

Tea stand (cake stand)

Tea Stand
This is a stand used to serve food such as sandwiches, scones, and cakes.
When you think of afternoon tea, many people probably think of this stand.
However, most of these traditions are relatively new, as they only became popular after the 20th century when afternoon tea became popular as a service served in hotel tea rooms.


Afternoon tea was popular during the Victorian era, Britain's most prosperous period, and many wonderful antique tea set items from that era remain.

It may be difficult to get everything, but you can gradually acquire what you need, and there are many small and silver plated items available at relatively reasonable prices.

Not only for tea parties with guests, but also for tea time alone, with family, or with friends, antique tea sets can create a very elegant scene.