Porcelain Dinnerware vs. China Dinnerware vs. Ceramic Dinnerware

Polar White Dinner PlateThroughout the party rental, restaurant and foodservice industry there is always talk about porcelain dinnerware, china dinnerware, and ceramic dinnerware. But ever wondered what the difference is between the three different terms? This blog post will clear up any confusion related to the term porcelain, china and ceramic.

The formal definition of china dinnerware is a fine white or translucent vitrified ceramic material. The word was originally founded to refer to where “china” was originally made – the country China. Chinese china dinnerware dates back to the 1600 – 1046BC range and it wasn’t until the 16th century, when Chinese porcelains were held in such high esteem in Europe that the word china became a commonly used synonym for the term Porcelain. China dishes are made by heating kaolin clay (among other materials) to temperatures between 1200C – 1400C which bring out the durability, strength and translucence of the material. Note that china dinnerware is not to be confused with fine china or bone china dinnerware which is a separate category comprised of clay and bone ash.

The formal definition of porcelain dinnerware is a white vitrified translucent ceramic; china. The word porcelain came into existence (according to the Oxford Dictionary) in the mid-16th century from the French word porcelaine and Italian word porcellana. One could argue the word came into existence once European companies started producing china / porcelain as a way to distinguish the location where the dinnerware was made.

The formal definition of ceramic dinnerware is “made of clay and permanently hardened by heat”. As both china and porcelain includes this as part of their definitions, one can consider ceramic to be interchangeably used with porcelain and china dinnerware.

If you’re interested in learning more about our ceramic/china/porcelain dinnerware: