Stoneware, Porcelain, Ceramic – What’s the difference in tableware?

Stoneware, Porcelain, Ceramic – What’s the difference in tableware?
7th February 2019 Ollie Ody

When you’re looking for dinnerware, there are plenty of materials to choose from. The most popular being stoneware, porcelain & earthenware. Each of these are a type of ceramic, with their own set of positives & drawbacks. This post will help clarify some of the confusion around the types of ceramic & explain what you need to know before buying!

Ceramics: The Basics

Ceramic is a general term that describes any article made of natural clay, mixed in various formulas with water and sometimes organic materials, shaped, decorated – usually glazed – and hardened by heat. When it comes to tableware or dinnerware, they are all a type of ceramic.

What is Earthenware?

Earthenware is made from either red or white clay baked at low temperature and since it has not been fired to the point of vitrification, earthenware is porous and must be glazed in order to be watertight. It tends to have a chunkier appearance & often a rougher texture. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a unique, rustic finish but is generally more fragile than other types of pottery.

We would recommend earthenware for it’s decorative features but not if you wanted a hard-wearing collection that is dishwasher proof.


What is Stoneware?

Stoneware  is composed of fire clay and ball clay as well as feldspar and silica. It is fired at high temperatures and therefore inherently non-porous & water tight. Generally stoneware is harder, stronger and more durable than earthenware. It still has rustic look but can be shaped into more sophisticated shapes due to its strength.

Stoneware tends to be the most popular form of dinnerware due to its balance of having a hard-wearing nature, unique look & price point. You will find our best-selling collections, Nordic Sea & Nordic Sand are both examples of stoneware.


Stoneware typically has a detailed glazed finish but there are matte finishes available. For example our Esrum collection includes a matte finish with a gloss-glaze detail.



What is Porcelain?

Porcelain uses a white clay body and includes kaolin (a primary clay known for its translucency), feldspar, silica and quartz, although other materials may be added. Often confused with fine china or bone china, porcelain is fired at very high temperatures so that just like with stoneware, the body vitrifies and will be nonabsorbent. However, unlike with stoneware, the surface is generally very smooth, even when unglazed. The fineness of the clay allows for intricate details & therefore it generally has a more elegant finish while also being a highly durable and hard wearing material.

Our collection of Salt dinnerware is an excellent example of porcelain. It has a very smooth finish & refined shape, while also holding it’s own in a dishwasher or microwave.


These are the key types of ceramic & hopefully explain the differences between each type a little better. If you have any questions, please email us at and we will be happy to help!

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