Monday, May 8, 2017

Splurge vs. Steal: Fortune Telling Teacups ♥

Tea leaf reading has been on my list of "things to learn how to do" for a while, especially since I discovered the existence of Paragon "Fortune Telling Tea Cups." They're just. So. Pretty. (Not to mention they take the guesswork out of reading--simply interpret the images that are covered with stray tea leaves!):
A selection of Paragon Fortune Telling Tea Cups from Etsy seller SwirlingOrange11
OMGoddess, the COLORS! They're like ice cream, and cake frosting, and those minty candies that are shaped like Hershey kisses... Cups like these were popular in the 1920's and 1930's when ladies would get together for tea leaf reading parties (We need to bring back that tradition--and with cups like these!). Now a days Paragon tassography cups are a bit of a splurge as the going rate is about $200-$250 per cup and saucer (You can find them on sites like Etsy, Ebay and Ruby Lane.). As if that wasn't enough--there are also FULL TEA SERVICES dahlinks!
Imagine hosting a tassography garden party and serving tea and cakes on these!
Equally cool because they have their own unique history--and more affordable--are the Cups of Fortune from Red Rose. The Red Rose tea company was founded at the end of the 19th century, and has become well known for the collectible "premiums" included in their tea boxes (Today you can still find Wade porcelain figurines in Red Rose tea boxes!). For about 20 years, from the 1950s through the 1970s there were "Tea Cards" tucked in amongst the tea bags (A Space Age Set in 1970!), and you could also score a tea leaf reading cup:   
The cups--three in all--are made of fine bone china and were manufactured in England by Taylor, Swift and Taylor. Each cup and saucer is decorated with different tassography symbols; the shapes look as if they were formed from golden tea leaves--pretty! 

Red Rose also published a 10-page how-to booklet that included interpretations of the symbols. Compared to the Paragon cups, these are a steal at between $15-$40 for a cup and saucer set (photos above are from pinterest). I managed to get all three (shipping included) for under $100. I'm still looking for the booklet, although Tea Leaf Reading: Divination for the Bottom of Your Cup by Dennis Fairchild, Tea Leaf Reading for Beginners by Caroline Dow, and Reading Tea Leaves by a Highland Seer are fabulous references for tea leaf interpretation. 

Of course there are TONS more tassography cups out there besides these two, everything from antiques, to handmade to mass produced. Jane Lyle's popular "Cup of Destiny," still made today and easily obtained online, is a reproduction of an older pattern called the "Nelros Cup of Fortune" first made by the English company Aynsley:

Before you buy, do some homework! Check out Catherine Yronwode's list of tassography cup manufacturers and dates over at the Mystic Tearoom--a wonderful resource. Well... time for a cuppa!

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