When you set out shopping for dinnerware, understanding the characteristics that make each type of material unique and the pros and cons of the variants is important. Largely, your options will be between porcelain, bone china and stoneware. While all these variants are significantly different, all of them do look beautiful and can last for several years. The best way to ensure that your dinnerware blends well with your needs is to be well informed before you go for the ‘buy’ button, or add stuff to your shopping cart.
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Let’s start with an overview of these three variants before going into the details.
Refined white clay christened as Kaolin is what goes into the making of Porcelain. Translucent, the material is also nonporous. Most common deployment of this category of dinnerware is at fancy parties and high profile dinners though nothing prevents you from using them at home for your everyday needs. The clay used in making porcelain ware is heated at 2300 F, and once the baking is completed, it gets a clear glaze cover bringing its white colour into focus. The whiteness is the major factor that makes lends great visual appeal to porcelain.
Bone ash and very refined clay are the essential ingredients that go into the making of bone china dinnerware. Baking of the clay mixture is done at 2200F, and the colour at the end of the process either remains pure white or cream. Bone China, however, has a more delicate and refined look which make it more expensive. Therefore many people reserve its use for special occasions. Melbourne has a great variety of Bone China whether it is for home use or a sunday evening high tea.
Stoneware differs from porcelain in many ways. For example, the baking process, the colours and finish look are the major differences. Stoneware is hard while being less refined and less delicate, but more durable compared to the other two options. It is opaque, porous, and heavier compared to porcelain or bone china. Notably, stoneware undergoes only one baking at a constant temperature, and different grade of clay is employed in making stoneware. They are available in different finishes like matte, satin, and glossy, with various designs.
Precautions while using the different varieties of crockery
Conventional ovens and microwave cannot be used for warming or cooking of food in Bone chinaware. Porcelain and stoneware can, however, be used to bake or warm food by following manufacturer’s directions.
To warm or bake food with porcelain or stoneware, you should first set the oven at a low temperature, i.e. 225 degrees F for about 10 minutes and then place your dinnerware inside the oven. Gradually raise the temperature to about 350 degrees F. After use, Cool off your dinnerware before wetting them or washing, and never place your dinnerware on a direct heat source. While using porcelain and stoneware with a microwave, always follow the instructions provided by the microwave manufacturer. No sudden changes in temperature will occur with both these variants. Also note that if your porcelain ware comes with a metal rim, it cannot be used with a microwave.
Since stoneware and porcelain are microwaves and ovens safe, they are reckoned as more versatile compared to bone china. However, before buying the dinnerware, it is desirable that you consider how they will be used. Remember also that bone china works well for special occasions. For everyday use, you can think of stoneware or porcelain sets.
Choosing between different types of crockery
When it comes to selecting a particular type of crockery, the primary consideration is undoubtedly the cost. Bone China sits at the top of the price tier with porcelain coming next and stoneware pitching at the lowest rung. Notice though that prices can also vary according to finishes and designs that you pick.
Secondly, the usage condition of the dinnerware must be considered. Bone China is not ideal for everyday meals or heating up leftover food. But, for those special occasions, bone china is a top option for the delicately crafted beauty that this range brings along.
The final criteria for selecting dinnerware or crockery is, choosing a pattern that appeals to you. This can be somewhat overwhelming because of the wide array of patterns that are available. Many people tend to sway between different patterns spending considerable time before they make up their mind on the final choice. This can be justified because it is a long-term investment. In some families, the dinnerware is even passed on to the next generation.
With the enormous choice available for dinnerware, it is important that your final selection is in tune with the particular theme you have thought of. Most importantly, you should examine the different types and understand how they could work for you in your home. Many families consider ease of use over beauty though some others may prefer less delicate crockery that can last longer and be useful with a microwave and ovens.
There is no dearth of resources in the digital world, and before you visit a store, it is better to examine all your options using the internet. This way, you can also involve all members of the family in the selection process and make it a fun exercise for everyone. At the end of the exercise, you will also be an informed buyer making the perfect choice with all the information you need about the crockery that you are buying.