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A Complete Guide on Bone China: From A to Z

A Complete Guide on Bone China: From A to Z

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British looking porcelain tea ware

source: unplash

The most elegant and opulent dinnerware available is believed to be bone china, which adds exquisite classical and modern style to any table, whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

This article provides a succinct and understandable introduction to bone china, including its composition, value, potential uses, method of identification, cleaning procedure, and place of origin. Read it carefully if you are interested in bone china.

What Does Bone China Mean

tea in a ceramic mug with polka dots

source: unplash

What is Bone China

Bone china is a kind of precious porcelain. Bone ash, porcelain clay, porcelain stone, or any combination thereof are mixed with porcelain clay and fired at a temperature a little lower than porcelain to make bone china. This results in a fragile, light substance that is milky white and almost.


Bone china is traditionally made using a mixture of 50% cremains, 25% kaolin, and 25% Cornish stone. The bone content must be at least 30% or higher than the industry minimum. And specific to different countries, this index is also different, but all above the industry standard. For China, the content of bone ash must reach 36% before it can be called bone china, which is the national standard, while the content in the United States is 25%, and the content in the United Kingdom is 30%.

The higher the content of bone ash, the more difficult the production process is, and the brighter the product color. However, Tangshan is a well-known bone china-producing area in China, which usually contains more than 40% bone ash.

Price & Value

The cost of obtaining raw materials for bone china is high, and significant management costs are involved in the manufacturing process. Because of this, bone china is now much more expensive and considered a luxury rather than a necessity. The best European standard, more than 40% bone China tableware sets, are priced at several thousand yuan.

Specifically, the high cost of bone China is due to the following reasons:

  • The amount of bone ash in bone porcelain components affects the product’s quality. Additionally, the price of bone china increases with the amount of bone ash it contains.
  • The production process also requires a lot of labor. Because the majority of its raw materials must be cleaned of contaminants before use, making them unsuitable for bone porcelain, they are expensive and require manual mixing.
  • Because it is translucent, real bone porcelain differs from other varieties of porcelain. Translucence indicates two firings, a hot kiln, and simple warping.
  • The kiln’s high temperature will cause more collapse and leakage failure. As a result, the higher the temperature, the more faults and the higher the cost.
  • Manufacturers, especially those with a long-standing reputation, will design unique signs to decorate their works. Therefore, the materials required for marking also result in the high cost of bone china.
  • Creating firing containers is expensive. This is due to the fact that the high temperature required as well as the kiln’s high temperature will cause more collapse, among other reasons. At the same time, there is a product derived from bone china, called new bone china. The cost of new bone china is low, the price is lower than bone china but still higher than ordinary porcelain.


Although bone china is considered a luxury item, many people believe it is still worthwhile to invest in due to its high value and durability.

  • It is a wise decision to keep bone china in the family. It is well-made and beautifully designed, and it can add an elegant and delicate flavor to family meals, making every day an unforgettable experience. So we can start with some bone china dinnerware.
  • At the same time, it has been preserved for decades due to its durability. In most cases, it can withstand an accidental hand slipping or falling off the table. It may have tremendous emotional value if passed down from generation to generation.
  • Furthermore, as with some antiques, the older the bone china, the higher the price. A whiteware vase painted in cobalt blue was the most expensive Joseon object ever made solid. It was sold for $4.2 million in the United States.
  • Last but not least, the content of lead, cadmium and other toxic elements in bone china is low, which is beneficial to human health.

Common Applications

The best porcelain used for tableware is thought to be bone china.  It is ideal for both day use and exceptional occasions due to its robustness, gorgeousness, chip resistance, and durability.

Bone China products are abundant. Such as plates, bowls, and teaware. And it is safe in microwave ovens, dishwashers, and ovens.

How to Identify Bone China

making Chinese hot tea with porcelain cup

source: unplash

Traditional ceramics are the foundation of fine ceramics. It’s made from Chinese stone and Chinese white clay. In terms of raw materials, fine ceramics overcome the limitation that traditional ceramics use clay as the primary raw material, and instead use oxides, nitrides, silicides, borides, carbides, and so on. They are similar in many ways, but fine ceramics are more beautiful and more durable.

Porcelains and bone china are made in basically the same way.

The process of making fine porcelain is straightforward. The clay is mixed with additives before being fired into the kiln. Mullite has a wide range of practical applications. Continue to paint patterns on the fired glaze after it has been successfully fired.

The manufacture of “bone china” requires several stages, complex technology, and experienced experts and workers. Clay construction, mold molding and production, biscuit firing, coating, varnish firing, decoration, decal firing, and packaging are the eight key stages in the production process.

When you get a bone china dish, use the following ways to judge its authenticity and merits:

1.  Weight

Bone china vessels are lighter in shape. When comparing the weight of other porcelain and bone porcelain, on the basis of the same shape, the weight of porcelain is generally heavier, while bone porcelain is lighter.

2. Shape

The enamel of bone china is thin and bright, which is energizing. And in terms of shape, bone china is thinner and smoother than porcelain.

3. Transparent

It is easy to see the difference between fine porcelain and bone porcelain when they are exposed to light; Bone china is translucent, allowing more light to enter, while fine porcelain will completely block any light passing through. In fact, bone China is more transparent than glass. The softer the color, the stronger the light transmittance, and the better the quality

4. Color

The tone of superior porcelain (ashless) is brighter and whiter while the color and luster of bone china are even, milky white.

5. Sound

Using the right-hand flick against the edge of the bone-in porcelain dish while the left hand is flat, holding up the porcelain. The sound of the exquisite porcelain made a strong and deep “ding” sound (no echo). On the other hand, bone china parts will make a “clatter clatter” sound, similar to a bell ring (with echo).

In short, bone China can be identified by five factors: weight, shape, light transmittance, color, and tapping sound.

How to Clean Bone China

a chipped white porcelain plate

source: pixabay

Despite the natural durability of Wedgwood porcelain dinnerware, you can still take certain precautions to ensure that you continue using it to serve your loved ones and guests for years to come.

Here are some pointers for maintaining the best possible condition for your Wedgwood porcelain:

  • Remove the hard water stains by soaking them in white vinegar for three minutes, rinsing them, and drying it with a towel. 
  • To get rid of the coffee stains on the cup, spread a paste made of baking soda and water on the dinnerware before washing and drying it (as well as the fork marks on the plate). 
  • Put your delicate bone china tableware in a fabric storage box or cover it with many pieces of cloth or paper towels to prevent scratches.

One thing to note is, commonly used detergents should be chosen with caution, whereas pills frequently damage bone china.

To keep the porcelain’s brilliance, it is advised to use mild soap and detergent. Additionally, if you don’t thoroughly clean the dinnerware, the detergent precipitation will dry and form a film on the porcelain.

Where is Bone China Made

woman putting porcelain dishes into dish washing machine

source: pexels

Due to the complexity, cost, and difficulty of forming bone china, its production is limited. Though it has been developed for over 200 years, only a few countries, including England, Japan, Germany, South Korea, and Japan, have produced it. There are relatively few bone china manufacturers in China. Tangshan, Hebei Province, is the birthplace and largest production base of bone china. In Zibo, Shandong Province, there are several bone porcelain factories, one in Pingding and one in Shenzhen. The porcelain is of excellent quality, mainly for export.

Bone china is mainly made in Britain and is also the best known in Britain. Here are a few luxury dinnerware manufacturers, like Wedgwood and ROYAL DOULTON, which are all located in Britain. Wedgwood’s bone china has been in Britain for over 200 years. While Royal Dalton is devoted to women, the Sunshine Series is a favorite of Princess Diana.

Key Takeaway

porcelain plates on formal dinner

source: pexels

Bone china, high-quality porcelain made in the UK, is of fine quality and workmanship. It is “as thin as paper, as clear as a mirror, as loud as a bell, and as fair as jade”. The porcelain is exquisite and clear, beautiful and elegant in shape, and bright and colorful. It has dual values of use and art. Historically, it was the exclusive product of the court and the nobility. Now it has a collection as well as utility. In this paper, the composition, price, value, use situation, identification method, cleaning, and maintenance method of bone china are introduced. I hope you’re interested.


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