As the gavel bangs, the Grand Charity Auction will sell to the highest bidder sterling silver replicas of the heirlooms of Ceylon Tea; each a delicate and invaluable collectible.
Giving back and nurturing society has long been a part of the Ceylon Tea legacy. The trade’s customary charity auction, is thus being held on a grander scale to commemorate the 150-year milestone. Proceeds of the Grand Charity Auction will fund various welfare initiatives aimed at improving the lives of children in the Ceylon Tea Districts. The eight tea brokers in Colombo will each auction a set of memorabilia, while the oldest broker will have the honour of auctioning an additional decorative tea chest.
It was James Taylor, a Scottish Planter, who first commercially cultivated tea, amidst the cold peaks of the Kandy District. He started an industry that would economically sustain the Island
for centuries. Sculpted by Dr Sarath Chandrajeew, the Father of Ceylon Tea has been immortalized in sterling silver.
The first manually operated Tea Roller came to being in 1880. Called the Little Giant, this is believed to be the only machine
of its kind; a restored original could be seen at the Ceylon Tea Museum. With each wheel and handle crafted from sterling silver, the miniature replica operates just like its muse.
The tasting and savouring of tea is an important part of its manufac- turing process. Tea tasting is an art, a unique skill, which still mostly follows the traditional model. The mug in which the tea is brewed, the four-minute timer, the cup into which the tea is poured and the spoon through which the tea is tast- ed all come together to complete the Traditional Tea Tasting set.
The traditional ‘trip balance’ weighing scale, is still used to measure the three grams (or more) of tea that is required to brew the cuppa for the Tea Taster. While Tasters attach a permanent three-gram coin to one plate, in the replica, the three-gram coin takes the form of the 150th Year Anniversary logo of Ceylon Tea.
Since 1883, the auction system has been proven to be the most practical as well as transparent method of selling tea. The gavel and the mallet in sterling silver depicting the traditional device that called the tea auction to order and marked the end of a sale have been created as an ideal memorabilia for the event.
Five kilograms of the best quality orthodox Ceylon Black Tea – which represent the Island’s seven tea growing regions, CTC Black Tea and Ceylon Green Tea have been selected. Of this, 500 grams have been encased in a teak timber chest, embellished with sterling silver and semi- precious gems. This is both a keepsake and celebration of the best flavours of Ceylon Tea.