Future newlyweds, are you thinking of investing in a full set of china? It's a big, big porcelain world out there, and there are a few things you should probably know before settling on the perfect set of china. First things first: not all ceramic dinnerware is the same! The quality of china depends on a number of variables, from firing temperatures to clay content — but familiarize yourself with these four categories, and you'll be one step ahead of the game. Learn more when you keep reading.
- Earthenware, the oldest form of dinnerware, is fired at low temperatures. It includes unglazed pieces, such as terra cotta, but servingware is often glazed to keep out moisture. It isn't as translucent as porcelain, and can have a tendency to crack when faced with extreme temperature changes. However, it also tends to be the least expensive.
- Stoneware was the predominant type of dinnerware used in the 1800s. Known for its durability, stoneware's stronger than earthenware, but still more opaque than its haute sister, porcelain. Most pieces are microwave- and dishwasher-safe, but double-check to make sure, and also be careful with sudden temperature fluctuations.
- Although porcelain (also called fine china) is coveted for its delicate demeanor and thin, nearly translucent appearance, don't be fooled: the stuff is actually quite durable, and, generally speaking, will fit right into your microwave or dishwasher.
- Bone china was first developed in England; it's fine china with bone ash used as an added ingredient to create an even whiter, transparent effect. This is the crème de la crème of china.
What type of dinnerware do you use at home?