China Glossary

18/8 or 18/10 Stainless Steel - Stainless steels contains at least 70% of stainless steel productions. The rest is made up of a number of minerals such 18% chromium (standard) and 10% or 8% nickel.

Active China - China patterns that are still being made by the manufacturers.

Backstamp - The markings found on the back of many china dishes which provides information as to who the manufacturer is, what the pattern name and number is and more. The dinner plate usually has the most comprehensive details.

Barware - Drinking glasses that are flat bottomed, without a stem. Used often to serve alcoholic beverages in a bar setting. See our Waterford Lismore pattern for some examples of barware

Bone China - Dinnerware made from approximately 50% bone ash from animals. Originally developed by Josiah Spode in the late 18th century, bone china is renowned for it's extraordinary translucency and whiteness and is from the most resistant to chips and breakage from all types of porcelain.

Bouillon Cup and Saucer - Similar to a cream soup and saucer set, only smaller. Features a cup with two handles. Not common to many dinner patterns, especially newer ones.

Brand - Synonymous with manufacturer in the tableware industry. Refers to the company that manufactures a piece of china.

Bread & Butter Plate - Round plate usually ranging from 5" to 7" in diameter. Part of the standard five piece place setting.

Bud Vase - Very small vase for holding flowers, usually not more then three stems.

Butter Pat - Small, round saucer-like china piece, used to serve individual pieces of butter.

Ceramics - Generally refers to inorganic, non metallic, usually clay based solid prepared by heating and subsequent cooling. From the Greek word "keramikos" which means pottery.

Cereal Bowl - The bowl in between the fruit dessert bowl and the soup bowl, usually ranging from 6" - 7". Used to serve cereal or oatmeal at mealtime. Can be coupe or rimmed. See Wedgwood Blue Heritage for an example of cereal bowls.

China - Often used interchangeably (although not necessarily accurately) with porcelain and pottery. Made up of clay that is non-porous, it is fired at very high temperatures to produce relatively thin and light translucent pieces.

China Matching Service - Also known as replacement china dealers or discontinued china dealers. These are companies who specialize in tracking down and stocking patterns that are no longer being made by the manufacturer.

Chip - A small piece or fragment that breaks off from a larger, whole one, leaving the original piece defective. Chips are often hard to detect with the naked eye and can be better found by touch.

Chop Plate - A round plate, 12" to 13" in diameter, usually used as a serving plate.

Crack - A fracture in a piece of dinnerware without any noticeable fragments missing.

Crazing - Little lines that appear on the glaze of china, often looking like little cracks. They are a result improper storage in shifting extreme temperatures, with the heat and the cold causing expansion and retraction, leading to crazing.

Cream Soup & Saucer - Similar to the bouillon cup and saucer, just bigger. Features a wide cup with two handles with a saucer underneath. Used for soups or warm broths.

Creamer - Small jug with spout used for serving cream to go along with hot beverages. Comes in many shapes. See Wedgwood Columbia for examples.

Crystal - Items made out of glass which contain lead to add to it's luster and strength.

Cut Glass - Glass hand or machine-cut with facets, grooves or depressions for surface decoration.

Demitasse Cup & Saucer - Smaller than regular tea cups, usually used for liquids drunk in moderation such as espresso, Turkish coffee or liqueurs.

Depression Glass - Clear or colored but translucent glass popular in the US during the Great Depression where it was readily available at low cost. It was often distributed as an incentive to buy other goods or shop at retail establishments. Highly collectible, there are many clubs for Depression glassware collectors. Certain pieces command high prices due to their desirability and scarcity.

Dessert Plate - An addition to the five piece place setting, it usually ranges from 7" to 8" in diameter. Sometimes interchangeable with the accent plate and the cream soup saucer (although the latter usually features an indentation for the cup).

Dinner Plate - On of the main pieces of a china set, part of the standard five piece place setting. Usually ranges from 9 1/2 inches to 11 1/2 inches in diameter.

Discontinued China - Patterns of china that are no longer being made by the manufacturer. These patterns can still be available from the brand that makes them for some time until stock runs out. Afterward they are available only on the secondary market such as replacement china dealers or private individuals.

Faience - Tableware from German, France or Spain, usually earthenware. Tends toward colorful designs.

Flatware - In the US refers to utensils used to eat such as forks, spoons, knives and serving pieces. Materials include silver, silverplate, stainless steel, pewter. Has other meanings worldwide.

Flow Blue - porcelain whose blue/coalt glaze flowed over into the white portion of the dish. this was part of the firing process and done intentionally. Mottahedeh Blue Canton is a flow blue type pattern.

Glaze - Al layer of liquid, vitreous coating applied to ceramics to help make it non-porous and strong.

Identification (aka Brand or Pattern Identification) -  The process by which the manufacturer or the specific design name of a piece of china or tableware is determined. Used are the backstamp markings as well as literature to help make the correct determination.

Limoges - Region in west-central France which is headquarters to many dinnerware companies. World famous for producing top quality products bearing the Limoges name (although there are many different specific manufacturers, fro example Limoges Jammet Seignolles).

Martini Glass - A glass deigned for drinking alcoholic beverages, specifically martinis. It's shape is specially designed to be held by its stem, thereby not affecting the temperature. It's wide bowl allows for the delightful aromas to go straight through the senses by placing the surface of the drink directly under the nose. See Salviati martini glasses

Motif - A decorative design. many china patterns have different motifs in the same pattern, meaning that the pattern is basically the same with minor variations. See Herend Rothschild Bird or Spode Chelsea Garden.

Mug - Tall handled cup used usually for coffee or juices, often with accented designs. Without a saucer.

Old Country Roses - The world's most popular dinnerware, made by Royal Albert. Many copycat patterns exist. See Royal Albert Old Country Roses.

Pattern - The unique design on a range of china which usually stays the same or with only minor variations for all the pieces that are included in the pattern. Consists of all types of colors, addons, trimmings and motifs.

Piece - Different sizes and shapes make up the pieces of a china pattern.

Platinum Trim - Silver-colored trim used to decorate china or crystal. Is not made from platinum or silver.

Replacement China - China that replaces broken pieces or adds to an existing set. This term is usually used in reference to discontinued patterns.

Salad Plate - Part of the standard five piece place setting, the salad plate is usually round and ranges from 7" to 9". Typically used for salad, appetizers and desserts.

Sandwich Glass - Collectible pressed glass made in Sandwich, MA.

Soup Bowl - A round, open dish with a bowl deep enough to contain soup. Can have a rip that extends outward (rimmed) or can be rimless (coupe).

Scalloped - When the border of a dish weaves in and out, creating a "ruffled" look. An example of scalloped edges is the Royal Crown Derby Royal Pinxton Roses china patterns.

Silverplate - A thin layer of silver applied as a coating to other metals

Sugar Bowl - Small dish used for serving sugar, usually comes with a cover. Can be in many shapes including leigh, peony, Queen Anne etc. See Wedgwood Florentine Gold for examples.

Tines - The prongs of a fork.

Trim - Design applied to the extreme edge of a dish, most commonly gold or platinum. Other colors used include green, yellow and pink. See Lenox Versailles China for an example of a metallic trim.

Verge - The line between the rim of a dish and its center. Is often trimmed with gold or platinum.

Wedgwood - Name of a UK china manufacturer. Also a color as in Wedgwood Blue.