Friday, June 21, 2013


One of the most commonly asked questions is “what is the difference between bone china and fine china?” There are lots of misconceptions on what makes bone china different from fine china in the online world so we thought we share with you what we as a manufacturer of tableware tell our customers. 

First of all, let me start by saying bone china does not mean stronger china. I repeat, bone china does not mean stronger china. If you are looking to buy bone china because you believe it is unlikely to chip compared to fine china, DON’T because I can tell you now that it doesn’t matter. When I tell this to my clients, the response I get is “but then how come it’s more expensive?” The reason behind bone china’s tendency to be marketed at a higher price point is due to its material. And that magic material is cow bone ash. 

The main difference between bone china and fine china is that bone china mixes cow bone ash into the ceramic material. Now I know you are tired of me saying this but they don’t do this to make the material stronger; they mix cow bone ash to give it a unique colour tone. A bit hard to tell from an image but still you can tell the difference between bone and fine china above. Hertford which is bone china has creamy soft white colour compared to Hampshire Gold which is made from the fine china (or sometimes called fine porcelain) without any cow bone ash content. By mixing the bone ash in the ceramic material, it gives your china a warm soft looking colour and translucency. It’s easier to see the difference when you lift up a cup under the light. You will find that bone china is more translucent and will let more light in compared to fine china.

So it all comes down to your preference. If you are like me and prefer creamy white colour in your china, you should definitely choose bone china. But careful when selecting your bone china as you might risk paying more for what you are getting. Unfortunately, at this stage, the industry does not have a standard on minimum cow bone ash content necessarily to claim chinaware to be bone china. So it doesn’t matter if the china only has 5% or 30% bone ash content, they can both claim to be “bone china”. Not many people know this and pay more for low quality bone china.

If you are looking to buy bone china, ask the store or brand how much bone ash content is in that product. Noritake bone china has cow bone ash excess of 30% and that is what we believe the standard should be to be considered high quality.

When buying quality bone china, you definitely want to make sure it is of quality that they claim to be!

Posted by Yoko Gomi