When buying antique dinnerware sets, some indicators to look for in terms of quality are the proportion and balance, as noted by Etiquette Scholar. The plates should lay flat on the table and the rims should not be warped.
Another aspect to look for is craftsmanship. The handles of the cutlery should be wide enough for a comfortable grip. The cups should rest securely on the saucers. The glaze on the ceramics should not have blemishes such as spots, pinholes or bubbles. If the glaze was set unevenly, the ceramics may appear matte in certain areas — avoid dinnerware that has this flaw. The color tone of each piece should be consistent and the lids should fit tightly.
Another aspect to look for is the design of the dinnerware. Depending on their use, look for whether the dishes are wide with no rim or rimmed and smaller. The former are European, while coupe-shaped dishes are Eastern. Etiquette Scholar recommends a set that balances ornate and simple patterns. Keep the ratio two-to-one, either ornate or simple. Also, consider the material of the dinnerware. Sets made of majolica or faience chip easily. This makes them unsuitable for everyday use and likely need replacing. The same is true for sets decorated with precious metals.