Acid gold: A dinnerware decoration in which the design is acid etched into the body, painted with liquid gold and then fired and burnished.
Basaltware: A type of dinnerware that is unglazed stoneware.
Bellek: A creamy-colored porcelain with an iridescent glaze that is produced in Ireland.
Bone china: A ware that was first produced in the mid-18th century by English potters. It's made of a highly refined clay mixture and bone ash, most of which is oxbone. The body is pure white, highly translucent and it's the most durable of the ceramic types.
Bright gold: A liquid gold paint decoration, that, when fired, comes out bright and requires no burnishing.
Burnished gold: A more expensive gold dinnerware or drinkware decoration that comes out of the kiln dull and then requires polishing.
Casual china: The term generally refers to earthenware, stoneware and ironstone dinnerware. Today, the term refers to all dinnerware types that will be used in the household on a regular basis.
China: A generic term encompassing all dinnerware but is most often associated with fine porcelain dinnerware. The name was coined because the very first dinnerware originated in China.
Ceramics: A generic term referring to all ware made of earth materials, clay and sand, then processed by firing or baking.
Earthenware: A type of clayware fired at low temperatures producing a heavy, porous opaque body, not as strong as china. It is not a vitrified ware and must be glazed to hold liquids.
Coupe shape: A plate shape that lacks a rim border.
Crackeledware: A clayware or drinkware with a surface marked by a network of tiny cracks, deliberately induced for decorative effect by sudden cooling.
Crazing: A defect in the clayware that consists of tiny cracks. It's caused by the difference in the rate of contradiction between the body and glaze.
Decal: A design-bearing sheet used in a dinnerware decoration.
Delft: A type of pottery originating in Holland, in the city of Delft. It's characterized by a blue and white glaze decoration.
Dresden: A type of china that originated in Germany, in the city of Dresden. It's usually characterized by heavily-embellished white china.
Earthenware: A ware made from a mixture of clays and fired at a low temperature. Ironstone is a variation of earthenware.
Embossing: A raised or molded decoration that is either produced in a mold or formed separately and applied before firing.
Encrustation: A decoration of precious metals, either gold or platinum, applied in liquid form and then fired.
Enameling: A process of applying glue to the plate and then coloring.
Faience: A type of French pottery referring to high-fired glazed earthenware, usually bearing a highly colorful decoration.
Fine China: Thin, translucent china, that, despite its delicacy, is quite strong. The term "fine china" usually refers to ware made of top-quality clays fired at high temperatures. The result is a hard, non-porous body.
Firing: A baking process under carefully controlled temperatures to which all ceramic ware is subject for hardening, strengthening or fusing.
Five-piece place setting: A grouping of dinnerware that includes a dinner plate, salad/dessert plate, bread and butter plate and teacup and saucer.
Four-piece place setting: A grouping of dinnerware that includes a dinner plate, salad/dessert plate, rim soup bowl and a mug.
Glaze: A glossy, transparent or colored coating baked onto clayware, making it non-absorbent and resistant to wear.
Hotelware: Industrial-strength porcelain that is designed to maintain the heavy usage from commercial venues like resorts and restaurants. Today, it is very popular for home use.
Ironstone: A ware first developed in England that originally contained iron slag. It was the most popular dinnerware type before the introduction of china in Europe.
Jasper: A type of ware that was first developed by Josiah Wedgwood. It's usually characterized by a stoneware body with a satin finish. It's most widely associated with the blue and white ware, called "Jasperware," manufactured by Wedgwood.
Kiln: The oven in which ceramic ware is fired or baked.
Limoges: A type of ware created from kaolin deposits in the French town of Limoges, 200 miles south of Paris. Many manufacturers produce Limoge dinnerware.
Luster: A ceramic glaze coating that gives the ware an iridescent effect.
Majolica: A type of Italian pottery that is glazed with a tin enamel.
Matte finish: A flat glaze without gloss.
Meissen: The first factory in Europe to produce hard-paste porcelain in 1710.
Melamine: The chemical name of a compound used in manufacturing plastic dinnerware.
Open stock: A term that refers to dinnerware and drinkware sold individually, not in fixed sets.
Ovenware: A type of ware that is able to withstand oven heat without damage. It is also called oven-to-table.
Overglaze decoration: A design applied after the ware has been through a final firing or glaze.
Porcelain: Porcelain has become a generic term for "formal" dinnerware. It's a hard, translucent clayware body, usually 50 percent kaolin, 25 percent feldspar and 25 percent quartz. Kaolin is the base for plasticity, durability and consistency. It also influences the whiteness of the body. The quartz component is the base for stability. The feldspar component is the base for vitrification. A decorative glaze is fused to a clay body at a temperature of 2700 to 2800 degrees.
Pottery: A ware made from crude clay that is hardened by firing at a relatively low temperature in a kiln.
Rim shape: A shape of dinnerware that has a rim border.
Quimperware: A colorful French-made pottery of a peasant character, taking its name from the French town of Quimper.
Salt glaze: A semi-matte or half-glossy glaze obtained by injecting salt into the kiln during the glaze firing.
Scraffito: A type of ceramic decoration produced by casting a piece with a layer of colored slip (or liquid clay), then creating a design in that layer to let the original body color show through.
Screen-printing: A method of ceramic and drinkware decorating in which the stencil-like screens are used in applying colors to the ware.
Silica: A mineral that is one of Earth's most abundant and an essential ingredient in ceramic manufacture. Silica is the basic component of glass, in addition to ceramic glazes and high quality clayware bodies.
Stoneware: A ware made of a dense clay and fired at 2400 degrees, stoneware sometimes takes on a buff, gray or brownish tones. Generally, stoneware is glazed in subdued, earthy tones, giving a handcrafted look. It is chip resistant and oven, freezer, dishwasher and microwave safe.
Underglaze decoration: A ceramic decoration applied directly to the unglazed body, then covered with a protective glaze coating, and, as a result, is highly resistant to wear.
Acknowledgements: A to Z's of Dinnerware is reprinted with permission from Tableware Today.