Fine China 101

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We took the liberty of answering everyone’s FAQs about the most mystifying (but classic-for-a-reason) registry staple.

Q: What is fine china?

A: It’s dinnerware made of porcelain, the most durable ceramic, and can be formed into gorgeous, delicate-looking shapes.

Q: Why is it so freaking expensive?

A: Its durability. Plus, china is usually hand painted, resulting in one-of-a-kind pieces. Gold accents can also add up the dollars.

Q: Is bone china stronger?

A: No, it’s still porcelain. Bone ash (originally made from cow bone ash mixed into porcelain, but now frequently synthetic) just gives the china a special milky-white color. It’s also slightly translucent.

Q: How many pieces are in one set of fine china?

A: Five: teacup, saucer, salad plate, dinner plate, and bread-and-butter plate or bowl. We suggest registering for at least eight sets.

Q: Do you need charger plates?

A: They make for more-dramatic place settings. You CAN achieve the same look with placemats and a tablecloth, too.

Q: Can you really eat off of fine china or is it more like art?

A: Fine china is way more durable than you think. Don’t let those gorgeous ceramics collect dust on your shelves!

Q: Want fine china but wish it was more modern?

A: Try mixing and matching colors, prints, even designers. Just stick to one palette and material for overall cohesiveness.

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