Whether you are looking to purchase dinnerware for a special occasion, general day to day necessity or as a gift, the likelihood is that you will be making a choice between bone china and porcelain.
When deciding between bone china and porcelain dinnerware there are a few things to take into consideration, aside from the brand, color, and design. The small differences in the production and manufacture of both types of dinnerware impact not only the durability, and weight but also price point of Bone china and Porcelain.
Below you will find an overview of the main differences, including a few that might even surprise you.
The primary differences lie in the raw materials used. Porcelain dinnerware was first made in China, primitively at first, during the Tang dynasty (618 – 907) and then later in the form best known to modern day during the Yuan dynasty (1279 – 1368). Porcelain dinnerware manufactures today utilize fine particle clay, typically comprised of feldspar, kaolin, and quartz, which is fired at a high temperature to create the desired item.
Bone china is similarly composed but an additional element is added, cow bone. In the mid-18th century potters in England still struggled to make the hard-paste porcelain as made by their East Asian counterparts. However, they found a way to get around this by adding finely ground bone ash into their softer porcelain pastes to increase their strength.
And it is from this extra ingredient after which bone china was named.
You will be able to recognize the difference between Bone china and porcelain dinnerware from the color itself. Porcelain dinnerware comes in various degrees of whiteness ranging from ivory through to blue-grey and bright white. Whereas bone china is often described as having a now white color, a warmer tone than that of Porcelain. This is due to the bone ash used in the manufacturing process which gives the body of the dinnerware a unique translucent milky color.
If you are unsure if you are holding a piece of bone china or porcelain dinnerware, try placing your hand at the back of one of the pieces then hold it up to the light. If you are holding bone china, you will be able to see the shadow of your hand through the piece.
There is a noticeable difference in the weight of porcelain dinnerware compared to its bone china counterparts.
When you look at a piece of porcelain dinnerware and compare it to a piece of bone china dinnerware, it will look slightly thicker. If you then compare the two by holding them, you will notice that the porcelain is slightly heavier. Bone china, on the other hand, will feel lighter to hold.
Whether or not you prefer heavier and more solid feeling dinnerware or a lighter and more delicate one it’s important to remember to pick the style of dinnerware that fits in best with your lifestyle.
Any item of dinnerware made from either porcelain or bone china needs to be cared for as heavy handling can lead to chipping and cracking. However due to the differences in production between bone china and porcelain dinnerware manufacturing, noticeably the inclusion of bone ash in bone china, there is also an impact on durability.
Porcelain dinnerware is slightly more brittle than bone china, which can lead to chipping. Whereas because bone china has the inclusion of bone ash, the dish is made stronger by being slightly softer, making it more resilient and less likely to break.
It is worth noting that that durability of bone china is based on the percentage of bone content, industry minimum is 30% but stronger higher grade products can go up as high as 40 – 45%.
If you are looking to purchase dinnerware and you have a budget in mind, then it is worth considering the cost differences between porcelain and bone china.
Porcelain can provide you with both value and also a beautiful product at a lower price point than bone china. The primary reason for the increased cost of bone china is due to the manufacturing process and additional materials included in its production.
We hope this article has helped you make the right choices for your next dinnerware set, whether for a special occasion, general day to day necessity or as a gift. And we also hope this article could help you make the best or the most appropriate choice when you choose the dinnerware manufacturer.