Victorian-era history buffs, vintage dishware collectors, and supper club hosts might be familiar with this one-of-a-kind version of fine china. But to most others, fine bone china may feel like a mysterious hidden treasure.
What is bone china? Bone china is a type of fine china that was originally created for royalty over 200 years ago, utilizing some of the most precious materials potters could wrap their hands around—bone ash, clay, feldspar, kaolin, and quartz.
This elegant china has earned a high place in the ranks of fine dinnerware and on pristinely kept china cabinet shelves. Once you’ve discovered the reasons why, you might very well find yourself pining after a set of your own.
The History of Bone China
If you’ve found pleasure in owning or appreciating fine china, its fascinating history might be partly to thank. After all, the deep-rooted beginnings of such brilliant artifacts are part of what makes them so treasured.
A world-renowned family of Master Potters at the Spode company is credited with the first creation of fine bone china around 1799. The Spode factory in Staffordshire, England, as well as the rest of Europe at the time, adored Chinese porcelain and sought a way to recreate it in their homelands. After some experimentation, Josiah Spode and his heirs perfected what is known today as the official bone china formula.
Soon after its inception, Spode bone china became a mark of English prestige. And in fact, the term “English porcelain” itself became synonymous with Spode bone china. English royals adulated the ware for its extra sturdiness and milky translucency—the ideal backdrop for a family crest or hand-painted bouquet of florals.
What Makes Bone China Special?
You may be wondering what the difference is between bone china vs porcelain? Bone china seems to effortlessly check every box when it comes to fine china. Not only is it made from some of the finest materials in the world, but it’s also more durable than many of its fine porcelain cousins. What’s more, its unique recipe of materials lends a truly distinguished beauty to dinner tables, china cabinets, and tea sets.
Benefits of Bone China
Bone china is as beloved today as it was in 17th-century England. Though the lifestyles of diners may prove slightly different since then, the clear benefits of bone china have sung through the ages. Bone china dinnerware is:
- Break proof
- Microwave safe
- Strong and durable
- Crafted to artisanal perfection
Bone China Distinctions
Bone china is a remarkable amalgamation of art and science. Defying the laws of physics, it is as lightweight as it is durable. And speaking of light, if you hold its elegant creaminess up near the window or lamp, you can actually see the light travel through it.
So, what makes this outstanding pottery different from the rest?
- Its distinguished milky-white color and creamy texture
- Its delicate, thin edges are ideal for tea and coffee cups
- A rigorous creation process with up to eight expert steps
- Its unique combination of lavish materials like bone ash, feldspar, and quartz
Bone China vs. Fine China
If you’re wondering about the differences between bone china vs fine china, you’re not alone. There are indeed some similarities between them. Both are considered china, or porcelain, as they’re both constructed with some amount of clay and baked at high temperatures.
However, there are some key distinctions between them as well. The primary difference is in the types and amounts of materials used between bone china and fine china. Bone china incorporates anywhere from 30–50% bone ash, whereas fine china (or traditional porcelain) employs a combination of clay, kaolin, feldspar, and quartz.
Their differing clay recipes, as a result, reap distinct results. Fine china is more fragile, opaque, and brighter white in color. Bone china is stronger, slightly translucent, and takes on its renowned eggshell-white color.
Find Exceptional Bone China Dinnerware Sets from Lenox
Bone china is a timeless and elegant addition to any fine dinnerware collection. Its longevity means you can enjoy it for decades and pass it on for generations. And even if you’re not a Victorian-era history buff, you can enjoy sipping tea from a fine piece of history.
At Lenox, we’re the leaders in contemporary bone china dinnerware. We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality bone china craftsmanship for you and your family to delight in. With 130 years of experience, you can feel confident and proud of the products perfected by our expert hands.
With our luminous collection of bone china dinnerware sets, there’s a style for everyone. Give a dinnerware set as a thoughtful gift, or pass the gorgeous bowls and plates around your own table. Shop our new products or classic ceramic material pieces and elevate your dining experience today.