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When was Jewel tea Autumn Leaf made?

When was Jewel tea Autumn Leaf made?

Jewel tea Autumn Leaf is a vintage pattern produced by the Jewel Tea Company, a direct sales company that was popular in the early 20th century. Determining when this specific pattern was manufactured requires some investigation into the history of the Jewel Tea Company and the characteristics of the Autumn Leaf pattern.

The Jewel Tea Company History

The Jewel Tea Company was founded in 1899 in Chicago by Frank Vernon Skiff. The company started out selling coffee, tea, baking powder, and spices door-to-door. In 1904, they expanded into selling premium dishware and kitchen items to customers. The dishware and kitchen items were used as incentives for customers to purchase food items from Jewel Tea salesmen who went door-to-door.

The company grew rapidly in the early 1900s. By 1922, they had over 5,000 salesmen and were operating in 44 states. In addition to food items and dishware, Jewel Tea expanded its product line to include soap, healthcare products, and cleaning supplies over the years.

Jewel Tea had its own manufacturing plants where they produced their premium dishware and kitchen items. The company hired designers to create patterns and motifs for their dish lines. Jewel Tea dishware is notable for having lovely floral patterns and motifs, often with names inspired by nature like Autumn Leaf.

The company remained successful for many decades with its door-to-door direct sales model. However, sales began to slump in the 1950s and 1960s as shopping patterns changed and more women worked outside the home. Jewel Tea officially ceased operations in 1973 after over 70 years in business.

Characteristics of Jewel Tea Autumn Leaf

The Autumn Leaf pattern features autumnal colors like brown, orange, and olive green. The dishes have an ivory background with dark brown and orange leaves decorating the rims. Some pieces also have additional floral detailing at the center in orange and green.

Autumn Leaf was one of Jewel Tea’s most popular patterns and was produced in a large variety of dishware and kitchen items. It was made into multiple dinnerware shapes like plates, saucers, cups, bowls, and mugs. There were also pitchers, butter dishes, cookie jars, and other serving pieces available in the Autumn Leaf pattern.

The dishes were well-made from high-quality glazed vitreous porcelain. They were more expensive than standard dishware at the time but were very durable and able to withstand decades of regular use. The glaze has a slight glossy shine and warm ivory color that complements the autumn leaf motif.

Estimating the Era of Production

While the exact years that Autumn Leaf was in production are difficult to pin down, we can make an educated guess based on the Jewel Tea Company history and the characteristics of the pattern:

  • Jewel Tea was most successful from the 1920s through the 1950s, so Autumn Leaf was most likely produced during the height of the company’s popularity.
  • As a floral pattern, it fits aesthetically with other Jewel Tea patterns from the Art Deco era of the 1920s and 1930s.
  • The fine details and high production values point to it being an earlier pattern, as quality declined in the 1950s as the company began struggling.
  • It was clearly one of Jewel Tea’s most popular patterns based on the wide variety of items it was produced in, indicating large volume production and availability over many years.

Based on this information, it seems most probable that Autumn Leaf was first produced sometime in the late 1920s or early 1930s. It likely remained popular and in active production through the 1940s and into the very early 1950s.

By the mid-1950s, Jewel Tea was discontinuing many of its elaborate floral patterns in favor of more modern, pared-down designs. So Autumn Leaf dishes from after about 1955 are less common. The pattern was likely fully discontinued sometime in the late 1950s when the company began majorly downsizing its manufacturing operations.

Of course, without Jewel Tea’s internal production records, it’s impossible to pin down exact dates. But the 1920s through the 1950s era covers the prime of the pattern’s popularity based on its characteristics and the company’s history.

Autumn Leaf Examples

Some examples of Autumn Leaf dishes help illustrate the pattern’s defining characteristics:

Item Details
10-inch dinner plate Ivory background with brown and orange leaf detailing on rim. Green accents at corners.
Teacup and saucer Delicate orange leaves on saucer rim. Orange and green accents on cup exterior. Ivory interiors.
Oval serving platter Broad orange and brown leaves on rim. Green accents on handles. Ivory center with intricate floral motif.

These examples demonstrate some of the classic Autumn Leaf design details on various dinnerware shapes. The pattern maintained consistent colors and motifs across the product line.

Autumn Leaf Value and Collectibility

For collectors, Autumn Leaf is one of the most prized Jewel Tea patterns. Its attractive design and association with the Jewel Tea Company make it sought-after by vintage dish enthusiasts. Scarcity also adds value, as the dishes are getting harder to find as original sets continue to be broken up over time.

Prices can vary considerably based on the type of dish and condition. But to give an idea, here are some estimated values:

  • Teacup and saucer set in excellent condition – $30 to $50
  • 10-inch dinner plate in excellent condition – $20 to $35
  • Full dinnerware set for 8 in excellent condition – $400 to $600
  • Rarer serving pieces like platters in excellent condition – $50 to $200+

Dishes with damage, imperfections, or excessive wear will be worth considerably less. Prime examples in pristine condition fetch top dollar. Subtle variations in the leaves and colors also make some versions more rare and valuable to collectors.

Overall, Autumn Leaf remains one of the most iconic Jewel Tea patterns. Both its nostalgic aesthetic and association with the Jewel Tea company history contribute to its ongoing collector appeal.


Based on the characteristics of the Autumn Leaf pattern and the history of the Jewel Tea Company, the pattern likely originated in the late 1920s or early 1930s. It remained popular through the 1940s and into the early 1950s when Jewel Tea discontinued many of its elaborate floral patterns. Exact production dates are difficult to determine, but the era of the 1920s through 1950s covers the prime years when Autumn Leaf was widely manufactured and sold as part of Jewel Tea’s marketing campaigns. The pattern’s nostalgic design, craftsmanship, and connection to Jewel Tea history make it a sought-after collectible today.