What Are the Differences Between Porcelain, Stoneware, and Bone China

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What Are the Differences Between Porcelain, Stoneware, and Bone China

When choosing among the different types of dinnerware, it is important to understand what makes each unique, including both the pros and cons of each. The three types of dinnerware that buyers will encounter most often include porcelain, stoneware, and bone china. All three are very different, yet all three can look beautiful and can be used for many years. Before deciding on the type of dinnerware that you will purchase for your home, it is best to understand the differences so you can make a well-informed decision.

Overview of Porcelain, Bone China, and Stoneware

Before focusing only on the differences of these three types of dinnerware, it is important to understand what they are and how they are made.


Porcelain dinnerware is made from white clay that is refined called kaolin clay. It is nonporous and usually translucent. Porcelain is usually lighter in weight and thinner and has a delicate appearance. This type of dinnerware is usually reserved for fancy dinners or parties, but can be used for daily living. The clay for porcelain is also fired at more than 2300 degrees Fahrenheit. Once fired, it is covered with a clear glaze that helps the white color show more prominently. Porcelain is usually not painted or otherwise marked by other color as the main attraction is the white color.

Bone China

Bone china dinnerware is generally made from a mixture of very refined clay and bone ash. When fired at over 2200 degrees Fahrenheit, it will stay pure white or a light cream. It will also become translucent. Bone china is considered to be a very durable ceramic dinnerware, though it has a very refined and delicate look. This type is also considered a dinnerware to use for special occasions, but many people use it for their daily needs.


Stoneware differs from porcelain in many ways.


  • Color
  • How it is fired
  • Hard and durable, but less delicate and refined
  • Porous and opaque
  • Heavier than the others
  • Can have different colors and finishes

The main difference between stoneware and porcelain is that stoneware dinnerware only has one firing at the same temperature. It also uses a different type of clay. Another main difference between porcelain and stoneware is that stoneware can have other colors than white, including blue. They can also have other finishes, such as shiny, satin or matte, as well as other designs.

Warming and Baking Differences

Bone china should not be warmed in a microwave or conventional oven. Food should be cooked or warmed using proper equipment, and then transferred to the bone china. Stoneware and porcelain can be used to warm food or bake.

Type of Dinnerware

How To Warm/Bake

Stoneware AND Porcelain

  • No sudden temperature changes
  • Start the oven at a low temperature, such as 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, place the dinnerware in the oven, and then slowly increase the temperature for up to 350 degrees.
  • The use of wet cloths should not be used on hot dishes.
  • Both dinnerware types should be completely cooled before washing or wetting.
  • Both types should not be placed on direct heat
  • Can be used in the microwave, following manufacturer's directions


  • If porcelain has a metal rim, it cannot be placed in the microwave.

Because porcelain and stoneware can be used in ovens and microwaves, they are considered more versatile than bone china. It is always best to consider how the dinnerware will be used before purchasing; if you are interested in fancy dinnerware for special occasions, bone china can work well. Otherwise, consider porcelain or stoneware sets.

How to Choose Between Porcelain, Stoneware, and Bone China

There are many things to consider when choosing a type of dinnerware for you and your family. The first thing to consider is cost. Bone china is usually the most expensive, followed by porcelain and then stoneware. However, different designs and finishes can also make a difference.

The second thing to consider is how the dinnerware will be used. If it is meant for daily use at meals or to heat up leftovers, bone china may not be the most suitable choice. If the dinnerware is meant to be used for special gatherings or on special occasions, consider bone china as it is beautifully crafted and delicate.

Cost could also be a contributing factor on the decision of the type of dinnerware to purchase. It is important to note that bone china will be a more expensive choice, though it will look beautiful on your dinner table at any time of the year. No matter your feelings on dinnerware, it can all be found on eBay.

Once you have decided on the type of dinnerware, whether it is porcelain, stoneware, or bone china, it will then be time to choose a pattern. This can seem overwhelming as there are literally hundreds of patterns from which to choose. For most people, choosing the pattern is the most time consuming aspect of purchasing dinnerware. However, it is something that should be considered with real thought as this will be seen by you and your family every day for many years to come. It is worth a little extra time to choose something you will enjoy for years, which could even be handed down through the generations.

How to Find Porcelain, Stoneware, and Bone China Dinnerware on eBay

Once arriving at the eBay homepage, use the search box to enter your search criteria. It is important to know the type of dinnerware you wish to purchase beforehand. Type porcelain dinnerware, stoneware dinnerware, or bone china dinnerware into the search box and click Search. Scroll through the results and view everything available, then make a decision that works for you.

However, if you are interested in finding full sets of dinnerware , it may be better to use the advanced search options. At the top of the eBay page, there is a search box and a search button. Beside the button is the advanced link. Click this link to go to the advanced search page.

To begin, type in the keywords, such as porcelain dinnerware or porcelain dinnerware sets. Select from the drop down box whether you want all words, exact words, or some other setting. You can also choose to exclude certain words from the search.

Other ways to filter the information can include choosing a specific category, selecting a price range, shipping options, and selecting a specific mile range. These filters can help you locate exactly what you want or need.

Once you have searched for the items, consider the amount of pieces you need or prefer. There are many china sets available on eBay, with many different designs. Some only include dinnerware, such as dinner plates, salad bowls, saucers and teacups. Other sets include afull tea service. You can also find serving or cooking sets, including platters and baking or casserole dishes.


Dinnerware choices are numerous; everyone has a specific theme in mind when searching for the perfect dinnerware. However, it is also important to consider the types of dinnerware available and how they will work in your home. Choosing beauty over ease of use works for many families, but some buyers would rather have less delicate pieces that are durable and able to be heated for leftovers.

Considering porcelain, stoneware, or bone china dinnerware can be fun and exciting, especially after learning about each type. Knowing the differences is one way to make a choice on the type that will work best for you. Each has its own qualities, look, and feel, and any of the three would look great in almost every kitchen setting. The choice between the three types will depend on budget and individual taste.

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