DINNERWARE patterns are generally classified into one of these categories:
FINE CHINA: Gold Band, Platinum Band, Traditional, Contemporary and White
CASUAL CHINA: Pattern, Solid, White
EVERYDAY CHINA: Pattern, Solid, White
EVERYDAY DINNERWARE: Pattern, Solid, White
Types of DINNERWARE:
EARTHENWARE: The oldest form of dinnerware, Earthenware is made of un-refined clay which is fired at low temperatures making it a porous dinnerware. Most Earthenware is not microwave or dishwasher safe, and it is very sensitive to changes in temperature. While Earthenware looks heavy and durable, it is actually very light and fragile.
STONEWARE: More durable than Earthenware, Stoneware is made of a more refined clay with fewer impurities, and since it is fired at higher temperatures than Earthenware, it is non-porous. While it is chip-resistant, it can still chip. Most Stoneware is dishwasher safe, and it can be microwave safe assuming there is no metal, banding or decoration present.
PORCELAIN: More durable than Earthenware and Stoneware, Porcelain dinnerware is fired at the highest temperatures to create a hard, non-porous, glass-like surface. Porcelain is dishwasher, oven and microwave safe assuming there is no metal banding or decoration present. It is sometimes referred to as Fine China.
BONE CHINA: Bone China is in the same family as Porcelain yet is more translucent. It is considered the strongest and most durable type of dinnerware. Bone China looks fragile yet is actually quite strong.
Selecting dinnerware can seem like an overwhelming process. Here are some things to keep in mind to make your selection an easy one.
- Dinnerware is sold open stock, by individual place setting or in boxed sets.
- Open stock is sold by the individual piece. Sometimes sold as a mix and match collection; you can choose from coordinating designs and colors within the same pattern.
- Fine China patterns or Bone China patterns are often sold in individual place settings. The most common is a 5-piece place setting consisting of a dinner plate, salad plate (or dessert plate), bread and butter plate, teacup and saucer.
- Boxed sets are made up of multiple place settings. The most common are 20 and 16 piece sets which offer service for 4. A 20 piece set will include four each of the dinner plate, salad plate, bread and butter plate (or soup bowl), teacup and saucer. A 16 piece set will have a mug instead of the teacup and saucer.