Bone China or Porcelain Dinnerware?


Selecting dinnerware for your restaurant sets the stage for your dining room’s tone and enticement. A key consideration is which type of tableware best fits your establishment’s interior design. There are multiple options in the commercial china market, fulfilling different needs for different customers. When shopping, keep the following properties in mind to make the best decision:

  • Plasticity
  • Fineness of grain
  • Color after firing
  • Hardness
  • Cohesion
  • Ability to apply decoration

Porcelain and bone china differ in appearance, composition and production. Below is a summary of each material’s characteristics to guide you in making your decision.

bone china

Porcelain’s Primary Characteristics

  • White, hard, permanent, non-porous pottery
  • Made from a combination of feldspar, quartz and kaolin
  • Less expensive and heavier than bone china
  • Brittle composition leads to more chipping
  • Available in varying degrees of whiteness ranging from ivory to blue-grey to bright white
  • Comes in two types
    • Soft Paste – creamier in color and somewhat porous
    • Hard Paste – purer white color and non-porous

Bone China’s Primary Characteristics

  • Translucent and fine composition
  • Made from kaolin, feldspar, quartz and bone ash
  • The quality is determined by the total amount of bone ash included
  • Opaque texture and appearance
  • Thin-walled pieces give a more delicate appearance, but offer more durability than porcelain
  • Lighter in weight than porcelain
  • Bone china white has a warmer tone to it; often described as “snow white”

For more details on the properties and production process of porcelain and bone china, see our in-depth Bone China vs. Porcelain Guide.