What is bone china?

As we will be selling some pre-loved china here, it is best to mention it.

Bone china is a high-quality ceramic made from bone ash, china clay, and china stone. It is the strongest of the porcelain ceramics and known for its whiteness and translucency.This is used to create high quality tableware and teaware.

Bone china was first developed by Thomas Frye at his Bow Porcelain Factory near Bow in East London in 1748. His factory was located close to the cattle markets and slaughterhouses of London’s East End, so he had easy access to the animal bones needed to create the bone ash used in bone china. He originally called his formulation ‘fine porcelain, uses up to 45% bone ash in his products. Between 1789 and 1793, the concept of bone china was further developed by Josiah Spode of Stoke-on-Trent, introducing his ‘Stoke China’ in 1796. When the original Josiah Spode died suddenly, his son Josiah II took over, and renamed the product ‘bone china’. The material quickly became highly popular, leading to its production by a large number of other pottery manufacturers across Britain. Nowadays, China is the largest producer of bone china.

In the UK, references to “china” or “porcelain” can refer to bone china, and “English porcelain” has been used as a term for it, both in the UK and around the world.

How can you tell the difference between bone china and fine bone china?

It’s easy to differentiate the two by lifting fine china or bone china up to light; the bone china will be translucent and will let in more light, whereas the fine china will totally block any light coming through.

Tips for washing your china:

  • Wash dishes straight away to remove any acidic or sticky food residue.
  • When hand washing, wash each dish individually using a mild liquid detergent and a non-abrasive cloth. Having a silicone mat in the sink is also a good idea, as it will protect the china from the harsh stainless steel of the sink. 
  • If using a dishwasher, take care not to overload the rack, and keep metal items away from your fine bone china – even light contact can scratch, chip or crack your dishes.

How to keep your bone china in top condition

  • Soak your pieces in white vinegar for three minutes before rinsing and towel drying them to remove hard water spots.
  • Remove coffee stains from mugs (as well as fork marks from plates) by rubbing a paste of baking soda and water over the tableware before rinsing and drying.
  • To prevent scratching and chipping your fine bone china tableware set, put it in a fabric storage case, or put segments of fabric, tissue paper or napkins between each piece when stacking.

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