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For those of you who don't know, Fiesta is a great line of china from Homer Laughlin China Co. Fiestaware is a term commonly used to describe all forms of glazed, brightly colored dinnerware, while the actual line of HLC dinnerware is called "Fiesta".

Fiesta was first produced in 1936 and, at that time, it was highly affordable dinnerware, available in so-called "dime stores". Of course, these days, pieces range in price from about $15 and up. This is based on my shopping excursions. There are usually 15 colors in rotation, with one being "retired" every year or so - so don't wait for that special piece in that special color to go on sale, because it will be retired before then! I speak from experience. You can get the pieces at any number of large retailers and on the web. Google will give you some great results.

The pieces themselves are glazed pottery and are very durable. They are dishwasher and over safe. One thing I have noticed is a tendency for the darker colors to scratch after repeated use, but these scratches don't penetrate through the glaze. Many of my pieces have been dropped and have survived. Those that haven't get recycled into mosaic pieces or filtration aids for potted plants.

One of the best things about Fiesta is the fact that you can buy pieces individually, letting you choose exactly what pieces you want in each color. Right now, I have nine place settings in nine different colors, along with several accessory pieces in additional colors. For me, the great variety of colors ensures that I don't get tired of looking at the same pieces every day.

In addition to my "new" (post 1986) Fiesta, I have approximately 200 pieces of vintage Fiesta (pre 1973). I do not use those older pieces for anything other than display as the glazes used back then had lead in them and, in the case of the "Brilliant Red" Fiesta, traceable amounts of uranium oxide. Of course, chances are that very little of those materials would leech into your food in the short time it is in contact with it, but I just don't like taking the chance. Unlike the newer Fiesta, you can only find the vintage pieces at antique stores, "flea" markets and online sources. I started collecting vintage Fiesta in 1994 and at that time, you could buy fabulous pieces for very little. But, as more people became interested in it, the prices went up and supply went down so if you go looking for vintage pieces, be prepared to find very few pieces and to pay a high price for those pieces.

All in all, Fiesta is not only a great addition to the modern kitchen but also a great throwback to a time gone by. The clean lines and bright colors make it attractive to many people with many different decorating styles. I'm so glad that I found a place like www.iantiqueonline.comto share my love for this great piece of Americana.

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