China & Dinnerware
Fine China: This is a substance that is "vitrified" ceramic. It has been fired in a kiln to a very high temperature (2000 degrees +) until all materials fuse and form a solid, glass-like substance. Fine china is thin, translucent, resistance to chipping and cracking. It will also give off a bell-like ring when tapped. Fine China has the exact same properties as bone china, but doesn't include bone ash. Dishwasher safe and, if the pattern has no gold or platinum, it is also microwave safe.
Always let your china cool down to room temperature before handling it because the high heat of the drying cycle temporarily softens the gold & platinum.
Bone China: Fine or vitrified china that contains, in addition to clays, an ingredient that gives it its characteristic whiteness. Bone China was developed in England in the mid-1800's by the addition of ox bone ash. Today, synthetic bone ash replaces the ox bone ash. The addition of bone ash gives bone china translucency, whiteness, and strength. If you hold bone china up to the light, you can see the translucency through it.
Porcelain: A hard, translucent clayware body that differs from fine china only in the manufacturing process. In all other respects, the two are so much alike that the terms are generally used interchangeably. It is very durable and is great for formal or casual dining. Microwave and dishwasher safe if there is no metal detail on it.
Earthenware: A type of clayware fired at comparatively low temperatures producing a heavy, porous body that is opaque, not as strong as china, and lacking the product's quality. It is not vitrified ware and must be glazed to hold liquids.
Stoneware: A ware made of dense clay and fired at a high temperature. Generally, stoneware is glazed in subdued, earthy tones, giving a handcrafted look. It is very durable and oven, freezer, dishwasher and microwave safe.
Ironstone: A hard variety of ceramic ware. Strong and durable. A ware first developed in England. It was the most popular dinnerware type before the introduction of china in Europe. Dishwasher and microwave safe.
The Table Essentials
A Five-piece place setting of china generally includes a dinner plate, salad plate, bread & butter plate, a teacup and saucer however sometimes it varies by vendor. Once you select your pattern, refer to the on-line item descriptions or ask a sales associate to help you identify items included in place setting.
Brides typically register for 8-12 place settings of china and the key serving pieces listed below;
It is recommended to register for at least 12-place settings to accommodate for larger gatherings especially the holidays.
Dinner Plate - the essential item used for dinner service
Salad Plate - not only for salad but also for appetizers and desserts so you should register for extra salad plates
Bread and Butter Plate - not only for bread and butter, these plates are also great for cookies and desserts
Rim Soup or Cereal Bowl - perfect for soups, salads and pastas. You always need lots of bowls!
Accent Salad Plate - these salad plates are generally larger than the normal salad plate, most are 9" accent plates as opposed to an 8" salad plate. Accent plates add style to your table with mix and match opportunities and they are also great for salads, desserts and appetizers. Why wash more plates during dinner?
Tea cup and saucer & mug - always make sure you have plenty of them for during dinner and after dinner with dessert
Platter - use as a serving tray or centerpiece
Vegetable Bowl or Serving Bowl - make sure you have lots of these for vegetables, sides or salads
Creamer - use it for salad dressings, syrup and extra gravy
Covered Sugar Bowl - used for coffee and tea service and you can also add sweeteners for iced tea
Covered Vegetable Bowl - keeps all foods warm including dinner rolls
Fruit bowl - use it for sauces, grated cheese or dessert