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How we picked and tested porcelain?

Author:    Source:    Date: 2016-08-16 14:26:50

Manufacturers use a variety of ceramics to make dinnerware, but we’ve focused our selection on dinnerware made from porcelain and bone china due to those materials’ aesthetic appeal, resilience, and practicality. However, out of all the whiteware sets we reviewed, our testers were drawn to the overall look, color, weight, and unique translucency of the bone china sets over porcelain ones. We aren’t alone in that assessment, as many of our experts agree. For basic dinnerware, design and entertaining expert Eddie Ross said he “really like[s] the thinner, white bone china that’s dishwasher and microwave safe.” Marion Hover, a former tabletop decorative gifts buyer at Macy’s agreed “My favorite is bone.” Aside from its aesthetic appeal, bone china offers greater durability and is less prone to chipping than porcelain. Hover noted that “the biggest lesson in china/dinnerware is the sustainability of the product.”

Ultimately, you want a set that provides both beauty and strength, and we found that bone china with a high bone ash content offers both of these. In our research, we found that most inexpensive bone china suffered in quality due to its low bone ash content, and most high-quality bone china collections were exorbitantly priced. We prioritized finding a high-quality bone china set that was both durable and elegant at a reasonable price.

Decorated sets can be exciting, but they’re also more likely to become dated with time. For this reason, we limited our search to sets with a classic white look with defined rims free of any patterns or designs. Overall, we preferred dish sets with proven longevity and little change in design over the years.

We searched for dinnerware sets that you can purchase as open stock, which allows the freedom to customize collections to suit your needs and to replace the dish or two that will inevitably break over the course of your ownership. Ideally, we wanted sets that allow you to choose between shallow soup bowls or deep cereal bowls, mugs or dainty teacups and saucers, and a variety of different dinner and salad plate sizes. At the very minimum, we felt each set should contain salad and dinner plates, cereal bowls, and coffee mugs. We were able to rule out any sets with bowls that were too deep or too shallow. Collections that offered additional serving pieces outside the main place setting were viewed as having a nice bonus, but offering serving pieces was not a required factor in our selection.

A note on fine china for newlyweds: Though plenty of these sets are available, our research showed that long-term couples often regret registering for a fine-china set. The dishes simply don’t get used enough and take up too much storage space. Very fine or hand-painted china collections are expensive. Likewise, hand-painted designs may date quickly, and may not be dishwasher- or microwave-safe. Because of this, we prioritized finding sets that were elegant enough for fine-china occasions like dinner parties with friends and family, but also sturdy and casual enough for everyday use.

After considering over 60 dinnerware collections, we evaluated and tested seven sets. We examined each set under light to check for any visible flaws, such as pitting on the surface of the ceramic or inconsistent glaze. We scratched a plate from each set with a fork and knife 50 times to test for too-soft, cheap glazes. We also compared the sets’ hue and brightness. Finally, we asked testers to handle each set to evaluate weight, comfort, and overall ease of use.

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