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In InStyle's February issue, Annette Bening shares the sweet story behind her favorite antique tea set.

Jennifer Ferrise
Jan 10, 2018 @ 9:00 am

I've always been a big tea drinker. Every day I have a cup of black loose leaf with a splash of milk. So a few months ago I was excited when my parents passed down a wonderful set of Limoges china to me that once belonged to my great-grandparents Arthur and Jenny Arnett.

They immigrated to Aberdeen, S.D., from Ludlow, England, in the 1800s, and my family thinks this set, with gold-leaf detailing and a delicate pink floral pattern, is from around 1890. Amazingly, almost every piece is still in great condition, except this one teacup that appears to be glued back together. It's that little imperfection that makes it beautiful to me.

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I never got the chance to meet my great-grandparents, so when I drink from that particular cup, it links me to them. I wish I could ask them the story behind how it broke. So often people keep precious heirlooms on a shelf without ever using them, but I feel like this set has really been loved by my entire family. And now it's become a part of my own special traditions.

—As told to Jennifer Ferrise

Bening appears in Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, in theaters now. For more stories like this, pick up the February issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, through Amazon, and for digital download now.

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