Can You Tell the Difference Between Fine China and Bone China?

15 Sep.,2022


china plate wholesale

Wedgwood teapot, plates, cups and saucers - Fine Bone China

Can you tell the difference between Fine China and Bone China? The answer is yes. Whisper-thin and considerably delicate is how we would describe these two pieces of China. They instantly transform a dull table into a beautiful and elegant landscape. These days, China doesn’t quite seem to hold that special place in our homes as it once did. Despite that, there are still a few of us who appreciate it.  

Aesthetics aside, the topic in question is one of the most common among tableware collectors and homemakers. There is confusion and usually, it originates from the fact that they look very similar to each other. On top of that confusion, a lot of people tend to prefer Bone China over Fine China because they believe it is much stronger and more chip-resistant just because it has bone material in it. 

Bone China Does Not Mean Stronger China

If you had plans to get Bone China based on that pre-conceived notion, we advise you to scratch that idea, because it really doesn’t matter.  What matters is what they are made of. Bone China, true to its name, is made from finely ground cow bone ash mixed with other ceramic materials. Fine China has a similar manufacturing process, only without the bone content. 

The highest quality Bone China should contain at least 30% bone ash as with cow bone ash content in Noritake pieces. At the moment the industry doesn’t have a minimum cow bone content to define a high-quality one. But Noritake believes that 30% should be the standard content amount in any Bone China.

Royal Albert teapot, cake stand, plates, teacups and saucers - Bone China

You may have noticed that Bone China tends to be far more expensive than Fine China. This is due to the cow bone ash material. However, the material wasn’t intended to make the China stronger or chip-resistant. It is because the cow bone ash creates unique shades of colour and hues.

This isn’t to say that Bone China is not tough. It is. In fact, Bone China is stronger than it appears to be. But, it is wise to keep in mind that it is not indestructible, nor is it considered unbreakable. 

Making Out the Aesthetic Differences

At first glance, it is a tad bit difficult to tell the difference. But once you know what to look for it is rather easy to tell them apart. Let’s take a look at tableware pieces from Noritake. 

Arctic White is made from quality Bone China. Often, Bone China has a softer creamier colour compared to Fine China, (sometimes known as Fine Porcelain). You will notice that Fine China is a brighter white.  

If you place the two China side by side, Arctic White is innately translucent with beautiful warm tones. You can see a significant difference when you put them under a light. Bone China lets more light in and as it passes through, your Bone China will seem transparent compared to its Fine China counterpart.

Think shadow puppet show where you see figurines behind the white screen and light illuminating through the China. In this case, your Bone China is the white screen and your hands (if you are holding it) is the figurine. A simple way to verify Bone China’s authenticity. 

Wilkie Brothers Dinner Set - Bone China

Shape, Weight and Sound

Weight: Generally when you compare the weight between Fine China and Bone China, Fine China is typically slightly heavier than Bone China.

Shape: Due to technological and raw material differences, Bone China has a much thinner makeup and is considerably smoother than Fine China.

Sound: You can tell the difference if you listen to the sound of two Fine China pieces colliding together. You will hear a heavy thick sound “ding” (with no echo). But if you put two Bone China pieces together, you’ll hear a bell ringing type sound “clang” (with echo).

Wedgwood Arris Teapot 1L White - Bone China

Buying Fine or Bone China is a Matter of Preference   

Aesthetically, both types of China brings about a classy feel to your table setting. To a certain extent, they symbolise luxury and high-end elegance. So if you want to dress your table to impress, Fine and Bone China is a great way to do just that.  

If you see table pieces on Everten you are keen on but are unsure about which ones you should buy, get in touch with us so we can help you identify the right pattern, design and colours.

Our range of teacups, saucers, plates, teapots and dinnerware pieces include both Fine China and Bone China that are made with the best quality in mind. Recommended brands for both types would be pieces by Noritake, Wedgwood, Maxwell & Williams, Salt & Pepper, Royal Doulton and Robert Gordon.


Noritake Hampshire Gold 20pc Dinner Set - Fine China

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