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The China Connection: Popular Picks And Defining Terms

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Now that you’re on your way to being a Mrs. and a couple, perhaps you’ve set your sites on hosting lots of fun, family-friendly get-togethers. Or perhaps you’re just thinking of registering for some of the essentials you need including housewares and tableware.

But, before choosing your china, you may want to examine all your options and know what each on has to offer, in order to make the best decision for you.

China: A generic term referring to most tableware and dishes. But, china can be broken down into a variety of more specific types categorized by material, formality, usage, etc. Among these bone china, porcelain, stoneware, earthenware, and both casual and fine china.

Bone China: This contemporary yet classic class of china features tableware that is durable, translucent, and glasslike and is considered to be the cream of the crop as far as china is concerned. Made of a ground clay mixture combined with bone ash and heated to extreme temperatures, it is incredibly strong and chip resistant, yet appears elegant and dainty. But, maintenance may take a bit of work, as it’s best to wash bone china by hand.

Porcelain: “Identical” to bone china, in fact, made from the same clay mixture only without the bone ash, it is also high quality china noted for its elegance and durability, and is best kept by washing it by hand.

Stoneware: Dishwasher, microwave and oven safe dinnerware made of clay and ground stone, this china is heavy, non-porous and known for its strength. It usually has a glassy appearance with a rough texture, stronger and heavier than earthenware, and generally glazed.

Earthenware: This variety of china features pieces of heavy, somewhat porous ceramic dishes that are usually for used for daily dining or informal occasions. Like stoneware, it is also frequently glazed but not as heavy or as durable.

Ironstone: A solid, impervious type of earthenware china featuring a porcelain-like appearance and commonly referred to as Masonware.

Casual China: Dishes meant for everyday use, typically less expensive and not as strong as fine china, usually sold in 4-piece settings.

Fine or Formal China: China traditionally used for special or formal occasions. It typically also refers to bone or porcelain chine and is also generally more expensive and durable that casual china, and usually sold in 5-piece settings.

4-Piece Place Setting: Then dinner “ensemble” includes a dinner pate, salad/dessert plate, bread and butter plate, and coffee cup or mug, and is the standard setting for casual china.

5-Piece Place Setting: A table setting including dinner plate, salad/dessert plate, bread and butter plate, coffee cup and sauces, and generally the standard setting for quality, fine china.


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