I know we can do just what we like and want to, but what is proper etiquette about using chargers?--should we use them with a placemat?--No placemat?--Tablecloth?--No tablecloth?
Table cloth or placemat is just a personal preference when setting your table - neither factors in when using chargers.
Interesting that 2 of the 3 articles refer to chop plates being the same as chargers. I've always understood that chop plates are round platters for serving steaks/chops or other round items. The size & shape would certainly lend itself as a charger (& be beautiful) but I've never seen them sold in quantity; in antique patterns, using chop plates as individual place pieces would be pricey - if you could even find them!
I have seen people mix diff chop plates or silver trays as chargers. I guess if you pick them up at yard sales or auctions they might be reasonable.
I think it is impt to make sure the dinner plate doesn't slide around on the charger if someone is trying to cut their food. I either secure it or remove it for the main course .
My mother taught me that charger plates should be pre-heated (or chilled, as appropriate) to aid in keeping food warm (or cold) by transference to the actual serving plate/dish. They weren't made of acrylic and painted back then though. lol!