Tips & Tricks

Your Ultimate Dinnerware Guide

Have you ever found yourself looking at a bunch of plates and you don’t understand the difference between all of them? Or maybe you just moved into a new home and you just can’t figure out which set is best fit for you? Well, consider this your crash course in everything you need to know to become an expert in picking dinnerware . Our new Dinnerware Guide video series makes it easy to pick, compare and discover what’s special about each dish we make at Lenox.

Our Vice President of Dinnerware, Beth Baer, will take you through everything you need to know. From the difference in materials to how to care for each piece and what kind of set is fit for your table, our comprehensive overview will be your handy guide to reference any time you need to buy new dinnerware.

Watch the full video below or skip to the section you’re interested in for more details. Enjoy!



Materials

 

Most of our dinnerware is made of one of these three materials: bone china, porcelain or stoneware. Bone china has a reputation of being a delicate material that you need to stow away in your cabinet and use sparingly, but it’s actually the most durable of the three. Bone china is incredibly strong and won’t break—even if you stand on top of it. (Don’t believe us? Watch the video as Beth demonstrates!) 

All of our bone china is dishwasher safe. As far as microwave safe, some of our bone china dinnerware features precious metal banding , such as real 24k gold or platinum, which means it can’t be put in the microwave. However, we pioneered the concept of microwave-safe metallics. In order to check if your dinnerware is safe for the microwave, flip it over and look at the backstamp!

Bone china comes in a creamy white color that makes a gorgeous dramatic difference on your table. We’ve actually spent years getting just the right shade of white down for our dinnerware. We even have our own formula for the signature Lenox ivory bone china!

Next up is porcelain . Although it is just as durable as bone china, porcelain is more affordable and has a slightly heavier build. Our porcelain dinnerware is chip-resistant, so don’t worry if you accidentally hit it against your kitchen counter. It will always maintain its sturdy structure. You can even see Beth slam our porcelain dinnerware on the counter in our video for proof. Porcelain: 1. Beth: 0.

Just like bone china, our porcelain dishes come in both the signature Lenox ivory and creamy white colors, and they are completely dishwasher safe. Look for the unique stamp on the back to see if your porcelain dinnerware features special, microwave-safe metallics so you know if you can put it into the microwave or not.

Last, but certainly not least, we have stoneware . Slightly heavier and thicker than bone china and porcelain, stoneware is best for holding more designs, textures and glazes that showcase the detail and intricate carvings of each piece. Stoneware is not as durable as the other materials, but it comes in a variety of colors and is completely dishwasher and microwave safe. This is the easiest option for those who like to have unique designs in their cabinet.

Shapes

 

The shape of your plate is not just for presentation purposes. It affects the food you serve and makes a statement about your dining aesthetic. You can choose from a few different shapes: coupe, rimmed, scalloped and organic.

The coupe shape is a modern, rimless plate that slightly caves in at the center and creates a nice showcase for your food. Our classic rimmed shape has a concave center with a round rim trim that enhances the design without covering up your food. The scallop shape has a slightly curved trim that creates a pretty, flowing pattern. Lastly, we have more organic, natural-looking edges that give dinnerware a more artisanal and handcrafted feel.

Finishes

 

Let’s talk about the different finishes you can have in dinnerware. First up: banding. We add gold and platinum bandings to our dinnerware to give the piece an elegant trim. It elevates your dinnerware and makes it stand out from the table in a gorgeous way.

We add decals to our plates, which is a super thin piece of food-safe film that transposes the graphic onto the plate to get the more intricate designs on our dishes. We also do enamel dots: those itty-bitty raised bubbles that create a colorful accent and texture to the design, like with our classic Autumn dinnerware.

We also have reactive glazes, which give you really beautiful colors. This reaction happens during the firing process and creates a blend of colors and patterns that looks simply stunning.

Lastly, we add a back stamp to each and every piece of dinnerware. All of our back stamps tell you what kind of material it is when you flip over the dinnerware, so you’ll know what you’re getting and how to care for it. This is the signature Lenox seal of approval!

Sets

 

It’s important to figure out the ideal number of place settings you need for your table, especially if you plan to have guests over or host a holiday dinner. Here is where we will help you figure out how many pieces you need and which dinnerware sets are fit for setting your table. 

Our first option is a 3-piece place setting, usually consisting of a dinner plate, accent plate and bowl for one person. More commonly, you’ll find a 4-piece place setting that includes the same items, plus a mug. A 5-piece place setting is for more formal use, as it includes a dinner plate, accent plate, bread and butter plate, cup and saucer. And that’s all for one person; however, we encourage you to think outside of the box. For example, the bread and butter plate can be used as a tidbit plate for dessert and hors d’oeuvres, or you can turn the cup and saucer into a little dish for soup or sorbet!

We also offer larger sets for a greater value and to serve more people. A 12-piece dinnerware set tends to come with a 3-piece place setting for four people. That’s what we mean when we say “service for”. So, a 12-piece set is a service for four. A 16-piece set is also a service for four. Both include dinner plates, accent plates and bowls; the 16-piece set also includes mugs or smaller bowls.

Lastly, when we talk about “open stock”, we mean any dinnerware that is sold individually. This is great for when you only need a few specific items or if you lose a plate and need an extra one. We sell our dinnerware individually, so that it’s easier for you to add to your collection.


Lenox Replacement Promise

 

We stand behind the strength and durability of our dinnerware. All of our pieces are crafted of quality materials that will last a lifetime. On the chance that you do happen to break any of your Lenox-brand dinnerware or the coordinating serveware, we’ll replace them for free. It’s our promise to you!

To get your free replacement, all you have to do is register your product at lenox.com when you first receive it. We have a page up called Replacement Promise on lenox.com that directs you to sign up and register. Then, if your dinnerware breaks or if you receive a defective item, you can simply send us a photo and we’ll replace the item for free. It’s that simple.

Now that you have all the basics of dinnerware down, don’t forget about the other key elements! Complete your table with glasses, serving pieces and flatware that complement your dinnerware style. No matter what you choose, we’re always here to answer your questions and be the trusted experts you can rely on.


The only thing left to do is shop and set your table. Share your pictures with us by tagging @lenox on Facebook or on Instagram!