A sip from a forbidden cup

From early childhood the Incomparable Sunflower was not allowed to even touch her Mom’s prized crystal. When she turned ten, her Mom allowed her to help wash it once a year or so and then stow it back away to keep it safe. When her parents passed away, Sunflower came into possession of the crystal.
We packed it away safely. When we started to go to estate sales, we would periodically see crystal from that era but never a match until today. We went home to get a champagne glass to take to be sure, and it was a perfect match. We bought 9 wine glasses and 9 champagne glasses.
On the drive, Sunflower talked about the crystal, and I asked the question: “Did anyone ever drink from it?” She said no. no one was allowed to touch it except for when it was being washed.
When we got home, I washed two of her Mom’s champagne glasses and opened a bottle. For the first time in her life, Sunflower was able to drink from the forbidden crystal.

The Incomparable Sunflower

About time, eh?

I inherited my mom’s crystal too, and we just used it for the first time at our house this past Thanksgiving. Mom’s been gone for almost 8 years.

Gorgeous stuff: crystal, china, silver, lace tablecloths, embroidered anything–all that stuff is meant to be USED. Maybe it gets put away for Christmas or Thanksgiving, but it should not be locked away forever.

Good for you with the champagne!

A nice story, and hate to put a damper on things, but a reminder that some crystalware may contain high amounts of lead and that’s reason it was never used. It’s generally safe for occasional drinking or serving food in, but never store anything, especially acidic things like wine in in it.


I don’t know exactly when public awareness was widespread about lead crystal, but I remember prior to the early 70’s, there were no labels on crystalware warning of of lead content. We routinely used some crystal bowls for parties before that. A may be wrong, but as I recall, the heavier the bowl and the longer the ‘ring’ is sustained, the higher the lead content.

Remember that lead use in paint wasn’t banned by the Federal Government until 1978 https://www.epa.gov/lead/protect-your-family-exposures-lead and pottery glaze, especially from countries with little to no regulations may contain lead.

That said. My Dad used to let me play with a small bottle of mercury when I was young, letting me pour it it my hand and squish it between my fingers. Ahhh…different times. :stuck_out_tongue:

And I’m happy to remove the damper! Studies show that while STORING wine and other beverages in lead crystal releases lead into the contents, merely DRINKING from leaded crystal glasses does not and is, therefore safe.


Fostoria crystal! I have that exact same pattern because I inherited from my mother! Like Sunflower’s mother, it got put in the china hutch with the good china we never ate off of and the good silverware that we never used.

We also had good towels that you’d get in trouble if you used, and fancy soaps we weren’t allowed to use. I decided not to torture my own kids with stuff like that.

I’ve got glassware “deadlier” than Lead Crystal, I have a small collection of Depression Glass (Vaseline Glass), that’s glassware with up to 2% Uranium Oxide in it, yes, Uranium!

it has a pale greenish/yellow tint, and when exposed to UV light, it glows a vivid yellow/green

DG/VG is a weak Alpha particle emitter and most of the Alpha radiation doesn’t make it out of the glass, it’s fine to collect, but using it for food/drinks is not recommended…

My own “Forbidden heirloom” is Dad’s old Ruger Super Single Six .22 single action revolver, growing up as a kid, I always wanted to shoot the Ruger at my backyard range, but he always said no, even though I was/am a responsible firearms owner, he never explained why he never let me shoot it, it’s mine now, and brings back fond memories whenever I shoot it, it’s one of the few guns in my collection that’ll never be sold.

That’s a nice looking glassware set, glad the two of you got to enjoy it properly :slight_smile:

That was a touching story to read. Both sets of my grandparents had their set of “good china.” But it was used so often that by the time my folks were in a position to take it a lot had been broken. No one seemed to mind. I still have one wine glass left. I try to break it too on occasion.

Someone gave us champagne flutes for our wedding. I don’t remember who made them but they came in a fancy box and seemed very expensive. They went straight into the china cabinet and have been collecting dust in there ever since. If we ever had champagne, which we don’t, we probably wouldn’t even remember we had them.

My mom gave me the crystal she received for her wedding. Goblets, sherbet cups, etc. She never used them. I’ve had them wrapped up in a box in my basement for over 20 years. I host the family Thanksgiving meal, so this past Thanksgiving I thought we should finally use them. There were enough goblets to go around for all of the adults. My mom was happy to see them out. She and my dad were married in November of 1960 so it was just shy of a couple of days of their 59th anniversary (my dad died in 1993). What a waste, not to use something that pretty. So that will be our new tradition, using the crystal every Thanksgiving.

longhair75, I find this a somewhat sad story.

I’m glad that you and Sunflower popped her mother’s crystal’s proverbial cherry! May you continue to use it frequently and in good health!

Why only once a year? Use it more often.

Vaseline Glass;

The flat dish with feet is a family heirloom cake plate, yes, you too can have your cake with a side of Deadly Uranium, GlaDOS would be so proud!

I’m going to have trouble getting that image out of my head. LOL.

But yes, it’s meant to be used so use it. Or, if it’s lead crystal, consider whether or not you want to use it or sell it to a collector.

I do remember how furious my mother was when she found me using her champagne glasses for a Jello dessert. But she backed off when she realized that A) she didn’t have to make the dessert, and B) I would be the one doing dishes. Practical woman.

You’re right! My problem is I don’t have anywhere to store all of them for easy, everyday access. I should just take out 4 goblets and 4 sherbet cups and keep them in my cupboard. I think that’s what I’ll do! The grandkids will get a kick out of having a “fancy” snack. I could put fruit, ice cream, candies, etc in the sherbet cups for them.

My parents had moon & stars crystal goblets on display in the dining room hutch that were never used. As a kid, I thought they were mysterious and beautiful.

Being an only child, I inherited all that stuff. The goblets are my everyday drinking glasses now, and I enjoy them every time I sip from them. (I was horrified when one broke, but quickly found a replacement on the internet. Thank goodness I knew the name of the crystal pattern, otherwise I’d have been lost.)

That was a lovely story and photo. Thank you for posting it.

That takes the “specialness” away from it. It would for me, anyway.

Leading up to my 1993 marriage, my step-mother for some damn reason was a big advocate of us putting sliver utensils, crystal and china on our registry. It was the most absurd thing ever. Like do you even know me? He biggest argument was, “if you don’t get them now, you’ll never get them.” And?

To each their own but special expensive cutlery and plates to me are about the stupidest thing ever. There is no conceivable situation where I would have an event at my home where paper plates wouldn’t suffice let alone regular plates. My then fiancee was of a similar mindset.

In my step-moms defense, she uses her china and sliver a few times a year like for Passover or other family events. Her stuff is from her first marriage which took place in the mid-1950s. She remained close to her ex-husband and I considered him to be part of the family.

I got divorced in 2006 and kept all of the regular kitchen stuff that we got at our wedding. A few pieces have broken but I still have an use most of them. None are off limits. :slight_smile:

When I was a child, my Mom had a nice collection of china, silver, and crystal, all of which were used only once a year, at Christmas. It was all kept in the china cabinet, and we kids were instructed to never open it, lest we break something that was, to Mom, priceless. But, Mom said, someday my sister and I would inherit it, and we’d get all this very, very expensive china, silver, and crystal.

That happened eventually. My sister, having only a lukewarm appreciation of it, and me having none at all, had the collection appraised. But times had changed, and nobody was really into fancy china, crystal, and silver any more; at least, not like they were when Mom was a young bride. Rather than selling it for a pittance, my sister took it, which was fine by me.

Let’s go forward a few years. I was passing through the city where Sis lives, and suggested we get together for a visit. “Sure,” she said. “Come over for lunch; we’ll have hamburgers done on the outdoor grill.” I did, and to my surprise (and delight), I was served a hamburger and potato chips on our Mom’s best china, with a Coke in one of Mom’s crystal goblets. We used Mom’s best silverware for mustard and relish and so on.

“It’s meant to be used on special occasions,” Sis said. “You aren’t here very often, so this is a special occasion.” I liked the idea. Hey, at least Mom’s collection was being used!