Martha, Martha, Martha. The reigning WASP Ice Queen has built an empire on glorifying thankless household tasks and turning inebriated DIY projects into “hobbies.” (Will post pictures of my stenciled chevron dresser later. I don’t remember most of the process, but it looks simply fabulous.)
However, all lapses of her judgment or moral choices aside, it’s universally recognized that the woman has amazing taste. And since I’m 22 going on 40, I do subscribe to her magazine and read it on the elliptical while longing for the day I can afford an apartment with windows.
In the September issue of Martha Stewart Living, there was a rather large spread on Martha and Alexis Stewarts jadeite collection. Jadeite glassware became a popular household item during the Great Depression when Americans had to cut down on one of our favorite national past times: wasting large amounts of food.
Jadeite boxes were the first generation of tupperware, and the boxes flat tops made them perfect for stacking and storing. Fenton, McKee, and Fire-King began turning out the glass in perpetuity, and there was a range of jadeite plates, mixers, creamers, pitchers and saucers with an additional thicker and more heavy-duty restaurant line. The dishware was inexpensive, durable, and attractive. And it’s a collector’s item today.
Before the late 1990′s the glass was still fairly cheap, then it went through the roof and hit a plateau in 2003. Needless to say after reading the article I put owning some pieces into the thought category of, “Oh wouldn’t that be nice. Hell could freeze over.”
Ironically at the Hell’s Kitchen flea market today, it did. I was irritated after my absinthe mixology class was canceled, and decided to head to my old stomping grounds in Midtown to check out the variety of odds and ends and complete crap. Per usual there was the crew of people who had decided to clean out their grandparents attic and sell everything they could to unsuspecting Caucasians who would buy anything if they’re told it’s vintage.
Peeking out from underneath some decades old paper towels was a hint of green, and after bringing the stack of dishware to light I realized that it was indeed, jadeite. A quick Google search later confirmed my beliefs, and I was pleasantly surprised when the nice man sold me the stack of 12 mint condition saucers for $14. Either I looked adorable or he didn’t know what he sold me, but I have a feeling it’s more of the latter.