Fine bone china, Fine china, Porcelain, a comparative study by Faux
The first bone china was developed in Stoke-on-Trent over 220 years ago. This area, now referred to as ‘The Potteries’, is where the William Edwards Home factory resides, and where the same traditions and skill sets that have been in place for over three centuries continue to this day. As technological advances have developed and improved the quality of both porcelain and bone china, one small difference can create a large and influential change to china itself.
So, what is the difference between fine bone china, bone china and porcelain?
What is Porcelain made from?
Porcelain is a combination of feldspar, quartz and kaolin. These materials are fired in a kiln at temperatures up to 1400°C, resulting in a hard, white, non-porous pottery. Compared to bone china, porcelain tends to be significantly heavier and more brittle, which can lead to chipping.
What is Bone China made from?
Bone china, also composed of kaolin, feldspar and quartz, has the greatest strength and resilience of all ceramics with the addition of bone ash to its raw materials. The texture and appearance is opaque, and its colour is snow white.
What is Fine Bone China made from?
The quality of bone china is determined by the total amount of bone ash included in the raw materials. High quality fine bone china contains at least 30% bone ash, enabling thin, walled pieces to be made with a more delicate appearance and translucency compared to porcelain, and allowing for greater chip resistance and durability.
Fine bone china is thinner and lighter in weight than porcelain. It also has warmer hues, whereas porcelain tends to be brighter.
After years of practice, William Edwards has perfected the craftsmanship of fine bone china, demonstrating all of its superior characteristics.
Fine bone china undergoes two firing processes. The first causes the product to shrink, and about 20% of the pieces may crack. The second firing happens after the piece is glazed, and melts the glaze into the piece, strengthening the product. Those that don’t crack or break during this stage are then decorated with final patterns. Many pieces are hand painted or sprayed and decals are used more commonly today. Many of our products are hand finished and may produce minor imperfection in artwork.
Difference between fine bone china, fine china, and porcelain?
The difference between fine bone china, fine china and porcelain are quite evident if you know what you’re looking for. The addition of fine bone ash gives bone china a delicate light finish and if you hold the fine bone china up to the light you will see it has a translucent quality compared to fine china.
Fine bone china is the toughest of porcelains with bone ash making up the greatest part of the formula, resulting in a material that is hard, resilient and ivory white in colour.
It is written that fine bone china was originally developed in England in 1748 in order to compete with imported porcelain from China. The English read the letters of Jesuit missionary Francois Xavier d'Entrecolles, who described Chinese porcelain manufacturing secrets in detail. One writer speculated that a misunderstanding of the text could possibly have been responsible for the first attempts to use bone-ash as an ingredient of English porcelain although this is not supported by researchers and historians. In China, kaolin was sometimes described as forming the 'bones' of the paste, while the 'flesh' was provided by the refined rocks suitable for the porcelain body. Traditionally, English bone china was made from two parts of bone-ash, one part of kaolin and one part china stone, although this has largely been replaced by feldspars.
What we use?
Faux uses only the finest quality fine bone china from Tangshan in northern China which is dedicated to making the fine bone china products for centuries.