Today diners enjoy oysters on the half shell served on a bed of rock salt or chipped ice. But during the Victorian era, between 1810 and 1900 when oysters were at the height of their popularity, hostesses in the U.S. and Europe went above and beyond to entertain their guests with highly decorative oyster plates.

By serving shucked oyster in the newly popular plates, stylish hostesses could remove the rough shells from their precious china plates and protect the plate’s delicate surface.

Production of these unique plates slowed almost to a halt after WWI with the former over farming of oyster beds and the formality of Victorian life was swept aside by the Roaring 20’s.

Today oyster plates are experiencing a surge in popularity, resulting in both modern design and vintage collection.