The word, china, is commonly used as a generic name
for all dinnerware but there are several different kinds. Most them are
ceramic which are means they are made from clay. After the clay has
been shaped and fired for the first time, the pattern is applied. Next
a glaze which is glass like coating is applied. This seals the plate &
design and gives it its particular finish. Then the ware is fired
Porcelain or Fine China Porcelain
has been produced in the Orient since the earliest periods of
civilization. It wasn't made in Europe until slightly over 200 years
ago. The ware is called China in honor of those who first made it.
The ultimate in dinnerware, china, is made from a combination
of clays -kaolin, quartz, and feldspar. It is very hard and
extremely durable. Fine china is vitrified which literally
means glass like. It is fired in a kiln at a very high
temperature so that it is non porous, hard and smooth. Fine china
is translucent, which means that if you hold a dinner plate up to the
light and pass your hand behind it, you will see your hand's shadow.
A 5 piece place setting usually consists of
dinner plate, salad plate, butter plate, teacup and saucer.
A 5 piece serving
set usually consists of a 13' or 16" platter, an open
vegetable serving bowl, a cream pitcher, a sugar bowl and its cover.
A rimmed soup plate us very shallow and has
a wide rim, It is generally 8 "-9" in diameter.
The karat of the gold trim is generally either
22karat or 24 karat.
Bone China is porcelain that
contains animal ash, mostly ox bone, The bone is burned and ground to a
fine powder. This gives the ware strength and whitens it. The
only difference between porcelain and bone china is the whiteness of bone china.
Everyday Dinnerware is the
general term used for casual dinnerware made form less refined clays than those
used for fine china. The ware is fired at a lower temperature which
makes it more porous and less strong. The final product is much thicker
than porcelain and is completely opaque. (You will never see your hand's shadow
through it.) But because of its firing at a lower temperature, an almost
unlimited range of colors and specialty glaze techniques can be found on casual
Earthenware is the general term used for casual dinnerware made
from less refined clays. It is always slightly porous whether or not
it is glazed.
Ceramics are fired at much
lower temperatures than other casual ceramics which makes it possible to get
strong, rich colors.
Ironstone is a stronger , finer kind of
earthenware, made with finer clays and fired at higher temperatures.
Terra-Cotta literally means
baked earth. It has a distinctive, low fired red clay body when
Stoneware is the connecting link between
earthenware and china,. It looks like the former, but because of high
firing temperature and the quality of the clays, its strength and durability are
much closer to that of china. Stoneware products usually have good thermal shock
resistance. It is for this reason that oven - to -table ware is commonly
made in stoneware.
Glass dinnerware is usually inexpensive ware produced by machines. There
are a few very fine handmade glass plates on the market. They are not
usually available is place settings.
Pyroceram is a kind of glass
that looks more like china It was perfected by Corning. It is highly
durable and chip resistant.
Back to ASK US Index
What is fine china?
What is usually in a 5 piece
setting of china?
What is Stoneware?
What are the basic
What are the different types of Ceramics?
What is glass dinnerware?
What is Pyrocem?
What is a rimmed soup plate?
Is bone china made out of
What are alternative metals?
What karat is gold trim?
How do I care for my China?
What is the story of Blue