Are you starting your bridal registry and are confused by all of the different things people call “china?” You’re not alone.
The most important thing to know when selecting your china is to make sure it reflects your personality and lifestyle. Enjoy it! You are, after all, the person who has to live with it. Part of enjoying your china is appreciating where it came from, what it is, and how to best take care of it.
China is popularly a generic term encompassing all dinnerware, but technically refers to fine porcelain dinnerware. As you might have guessed, the name comes from the fact that the first modern dinnerware came from China.
Fine china is a translucent type of china that is quite strong despite its seeming delicacy. Sometimes mistakenly used as a synonym for porcelain, fine china usually refers to a broader range of dinnerware made from top-quality clays fused into a hard, non-porous body. It is generally dishwasher and microwave safe.
Porcelain has become a generic term used for all formal dinnerware, but it is actually a hard, translucent clayware body usually comprised of 50 percent kaolin, 25 percent feldspar, and 25 percent quartz. Kaolin gives the body a bright white color and is the base for plasticity, durability, and consistency. Quartz keeps porcelain stable and feldspar makes it hard and glossy like glass through a process called vitrification. A decorative glaze is fused to the clay body at a temperature of 2700 to 2800 degrees Fahrenheit. Porcelain is impervious to bacterial growth. Ideal for all uses at the table and in the kitchen, porcelain is diswasher, oven, and microwave safe.
Bone china is a type of porcelain that represents the whitest of all dinnerware. It has the same ingredients as porcelain with the addition of bone ash (up to 50 percent). Bone gives finished china greater strength, a bright white appearance, and a translucent quality when held up to light. Thought it often appears more delicate than porcelain, it is very durable. Bone china is, however, not designed as a cookware product.