An Introduction to Bone China

Bone China English Tea SetFirst introduced in England in 1800 by Josiah Spode, bone china is a type of fine china made from a mix of clay and bone ash. Its original formula contained 6 parts of bone ash, 4 parts of china stone, and 3.5 parts of china clay, also known as Kaolinite.

The differential between bone china and porcelain is primarily the mix of bone ash in its formula. Because of it, bone china is stronger than regular porcelain and its beautiful ivory-white is far more translucent than basic porcelain, allowing light to pass through it. Its ivory-white appearance is actually attributed to the bone ash.

Bone china grew as a popular alternative to traditional porcelain china in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries because although it was delicate and beautiful, it was very strong. Common items made from bone china included teapots, vases and tableware.

An additional contributing factor to bone china’s growth in popularity is from its sturdy formula being less likely to be lost in fire since it does not contain any glass. Additionally, the firing temperature for bone china is much lower than porcelain so potters could easily adjust to its process and use their existing ovens.

Although easier to make than basic, hard-paste porcelain, producing bone china still requires a series of processes and requires substantial machinery. There are six main steps involved in the process, which include:

  1. Mixing
  2. Forming
  3. First Firing
  4. Glazing
  5. Second Firing
  6. Decorating

The initial steps are similar to basic porcelain making; however the firing and glazing have a different process. Unlike porcelain, bone china is fired twice, helping to make it much harder and stronger. Today, bone china is still produced in the same process that Spode developed so many years ago and is the standard porcelain made in England.

We invite you to visit Enjoying Tea to view our bone china tea sets, including the beautifully crafted Royal Court New Bone China English Tea Set. It is delicately crafted with a gold trim to complement its exquisite ivory-white color and the cup’s handle has a unique English design, allowing you hold it by pinching it with your thumb and index finger.

To view more English tea sets and other tea accessories, simply click here

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