What is a loving cup?

Loving cups are drinking vessels with two handles, one either side. Traditionally made of silver, loving cups were used as shared drinking cups at events such as weddings, banquets and other ceremonial events.


Loving cups are used to symbolise friendship, unity, and love. When a loving cup is shared, you symbolise the unity between yourself and the other person or people who drank from it.

Loving cups are sometimes also used as an award or trophy, which is why they take a similar shape to modern day trophies you often see, particularly at sporting events.

Why is it called a loving cup?

Loving cups were designed to share with people you love, hence the name. The two handled aspect of the cup is for ease of passing between people.

When loving cups are used at weddings, they are usually filled with wine and passed between the newlywed couple to toast to married life together, and in some instances the loving cup is passed around the families to show their support and approval of the marriage.

The best loving cups for Valentine's day 2022

Staffordshire ‘Pekin’ Chinese style loving cup by T. Booth & Co

best loving cups

This Chinese style loving cup is actually an English offering, dated to the late 19th century. The intricate design paired with the two handles makes this antique loving cup a really classic design. This would make a wonderful addition to any loving cup collection.

Buy Staffordshire 'Pekin' loving cup from Fontaine Decorative (£110)

Alice in Wonderland ‘It’s always tea-time’ loving cup

best loving cups

This loving cup has a fun Alice in Wonderland design, and with its bold pink colour scheme, it's the perfect statement piece. This loving cup has been decorated in the style of 19th century Sunderland lustre ware, perfect if you aren't looking for an antique.

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Buy Alice in Wonderland loving cup from Sussex Lustreware (£50)

Slipware pottery frog loving cup

best loving cups

This antique loving cup was made at Howcans Pottery in Halifax, Yorkshire, and dates back to 1868. The exterior decoration has been created in slip, and the interior base features a hidden frog design.

Buy slipware pottery frog loving cup from John Howard (£1,250)

Early 18th-century English brass loving cup

best loving cups

This two handled antique loving cup, dated circa 1730, features an engraved Arms of the Weston's of Sutton Place, Surrey, making it a truly unique piece.

Buy English brass loving cup from Beedham Antiques (£4,750)

Rare Mason’s Ironstone loving cup

best loving cups

Decorated in a colourful flying bird pattern, this rare Mason's Ironstone loving cup was made in Staffordshire circa 1860. The 19th century antique is a very rare shape, so it's worth keeping an eye on if you're a keen collector.

Buy Mason's Ironstone loving cup from 1st Dibs (£325)

19th-century treacle-glazed loving cup, £95, Vinterior

best loving cups

For something a little bit different, this 19th century loving cup features a unique treacle-glazed design. It's not the usual design you'd expect to find on an antique loving cup, but it still has a certain charm about it.


Buy treacle-glazed loving cup from Vinterior (£95)