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Marko Tsourkan
05-10-2013, 11:17 AM
It has been established that vast majority (if not all) people here love kitchen knives, but what about other things that make dining (at home) experience great, like fine china? Just curious.

I myself love plain white bone china tableware from the makers like Wedgewood or Steelite. I admit, most of my tableware is Syracuse china brand purchases at surplus restaurant supplies in NYC, but I would like to upgrade at some point to the likes of Wedgewood or Steelite. The quality and the feel is pretty significant (have a few pieces of Wedgewood on hand).

Are there US brands that are in the same class as the above mentioned UK brands?

M

markenki
05-10-2013, 11:23 AM
I have two Rosenthal espresso cups that I bought when I was a grad student, and which I've cherished all these years. They helped power me through my thesis! Unfortunately my wife accidentally broke one of them recently. :( I'm thinking of getting a replacement, but sentimental value is hard to replace. Other than that, we use mostly Corelle. Wine glasses are Riedel.

mzer
05-10-2013, 11:48 AM
US brands generally are not that good. French porcelain has become very homogenous quality wise, but the level is extremely high and there are some very nice things available. German porcelain strikes me as having the highest highs, as far as quality, but the distribution is more limited, the number of manufacturers smaller and the designs more particular. That isn't to say worse designs, KPM has perhaps the best designed goods for anybody who is a dedicated modernist, and Meissen is unbeatable in the classics, but these are very expensive pieces. Both French and German offer better goods than UK at this point in my opinion.

I'll be happy to answer any questions.

DeepCSweede
05-10-2013, 12:31 PM
I was having dinner at a client's house and while putting away the Champagne Vinegar, I just barely touched one of the French China espresso cups that were stacked atop each other (why they did that, I do not know) and as it fell, I almost caught it with my foot, then it tipped off of my foot and dropped no more than four inches and shattered. Since I broke it I felt obligated to replace it. What that stupid little espresso cup cost me to replace turned me off to investing in china of any kind for a long time. I would rather have one of your knives than that espresso cup.

The hekler
05-10-2013, 12:52 PM
When I was working at a Mikasa outlet store I stocked up on what I hoped would be a lifetime supply of their high end stuff. It's not the quality of what you guys are talking about but still decent and I'm pretty sure that I'm the only 20 year old guy that had a complete dinner service and serve set. With my employee discount 30% added to the discounts we were offering after the brand was bought and the outlet stores closed down I was getting them for pennies on the dollar. What would have cost over 2k retail was bought for less then $200, all I did was hide what I wanted in the back room until we were offering 75% off, then took it out and bought it. I also picked up some of there more contemporary sets for college and apartment life. Here's the nicest set I have though: http://www.mikasa.com/Imperial-Blossom/imperial-blossom,default,sc.html

Marko Tsourkan
05-10-2013, 01:03 PM
If I drop my US-made china on a wooden floor from about 3', as long as it lands on a rim, the chances are it will stay intact. So if I upgrade to something nicer, durability would be a requirement along with a cost of replacement.

There aren't too many things that I enjoy having, and nice, white tableware would be one of them. Right now most of my tableware are Syracuse Bone china and Oneida Bone china along with a few pieces of Wedgewood, Steelite, and Villeroy & Boch.

Where would one get best prices for fine china?

M

apicius9
05-10-2013, 01:06 PM
I still use my hopelessly outdated 80's design Hutschenreuther Maxim's de Paris in classic white that I bought a long time ago in Germany - and I still like it, even though after all these years you can see signs of heavy use on some pieces. It looks like I am in a minority among my friends here in Hawaii who mostly use very cheap 'china'. I even remember eating from plastic plates on Thanksgiving at a friend's house. Almost as bad as plastic wine glasses... I haven't seriously looked at a replacement, but the few times I browsed around, I did not see any American design that really appealed to me. That is even more the case for cutlery where I always end up prefering modern European designs. In any case, I think using decent china enhances the eating experience and can also be a sign that you are taking care of yourself by finding enjoyment in the little things.

Stefan

Mike9
05-10-2013, 01:14 PM
With three grandchildren there's no such thing as "fine china" in our world - :lol2: Our Mikasa white set is 13yrs old and still serviceable.

WildBoar
05-10-2013, 01:21 PM
We have a couple sets of nice china we 'inherited' from others who no longer wanted to keep their old wedding sets. But 99% of the time we turn to heavier/ bulkier Italian or Portuguese plates. They are not as elegant, but that suits us as we are not very formal. Plus many of the plates are virtually indestructible. A Vietre plate can withstand a substantial impact. BTW, why is everything made in China except, well, china??? :dontknow:

Marko Tsourkan
05-10-2013, 01:37 PM
Mikasa and Arabia are also on my radar for an upgrade.

bikehunter
05-10-2013, 02:12 PM
German porcelain strikes me as having the highest highs, as far as quality, but the distribution is more limited, the number of manufacturers smaller and the designs more particular.

I'll be happy to answer any questions.

Are you familiar with German made Bauscher?

Chefdog
05-10-2013, 02:29 PM
One of the restaurants I worked at for a few years had Limoges table settings that were both intricately detailed and seemingly indestructible. They had to be 20 years old when I got there and they're still in use today. When I first started there I used to flinch every time I clinked a plate on the window while expediting, but never broke one.

rahimlee54
05-10-2013, 03:23 PM
US brands generally are not that good. French porcelain has become very homogenous quality wise, but the level is extremely high and there are some very nice things available. German porcelain strikes me as having the highest highs, as far as quality, but the distribution is more limited, the number of manufacturers smaller and the designs more particular. That isn't to say worse designs, KPM has perhaps the best designed goods for anybody who is a dedicated modernist, and Meissen is unbeatable in the classics, but these are very expensive pieces. Both French and German offer better goods than UK at this point in my opinion.

I'll be happy to answer any questions.

What are a few brands you recommend?

I have been thinking about getting some fine china but haven't really looked into it yet. I also have a small obsession for table linens and have bought a very good ironing system to maintain them and other linens in the house.

mkriggen
05-10-2013, 03:45 PM
When I was working at a Mikasa outlet store I stocked up on what I hoped would be a lifetime supply of their high end stuff. It's not the quality of what you guys are talking about but still decent and I'm pretty sure that I'm the only 20 year old guy that had a complete dinner service and serve set. With my employee discount 30% added to the discounts we were offering after the brand was bought and the outlet stores closed down I was getting them for pennies on the dollar. What would have cost over 2k retail was bought for less then $200, all I did was hide what I wanted in the back room until we were offering 75% off, then took it out and bought it. I also picked up some of there more contemporary sets for college and apartment life. Here's the nicest set I have though: http://www.mikasa.com/Imperial-Blossom/imperial-blossom,default,sc.html

Mikasa, su casa:rofl2: Bet you never heard that one before:wink:

I seem to remember Mikasa having a pattern called "Threads" back in the late 90's that I liked, but generally I perfer some hand thrown stoneware to fine china. If you're ever around Colorado Springs there's a big artist community outside town (at least there was 10yrs ago) where you can pickup some real nice pieces (or sets), or get some made to order. And yes Marko, they are much more durable then Wedgewood.

The hekler
05-10-2013, 04:01 PM
Mikasa, su casa:rofl2: Bet you never heard that one before:wink:

I seem to remember Mikasa having a pattern called "Threads" back in the late 90's that I liked, but generally I perfer some hand thrown stoneware to fine china. If you're ever around Colorado Springs there's a big artist community outside town (at least there was 10yrs ago) where you can pickup some real nice pieces (or sets), or get some made to order. And yes Marko, they are much more durable then Wedgewood.

Funny you should mention "threads" that's one of the more contemporary patterns I also picked up, 16 or 20 piece service for 4 couldn't have spent more then $15 on it. If I could go back in time I would have bought everything in the store and sold it on eBay for twice what I was paying. The other set I had was saffron countryside, basically their regular Italian countryside but in a warm yellow color. Every piece survived 4 years in college without a chip, not as though as surviving a 5 year old but still a testament to quality.

Mike9
05-10-2013, 04:02 PM
Our Mikasa set is Studio Nova "Homestead". I really like them and would replace a couple pieces, but it is long discontinued and the pieces are spendy when you do find them. I should keep an eye out on the 'bay.

Lucretia
05-10-2013, 05:25 PM
Have you checked out Lenox? Besides their classic cream colored china, they make white bone china. I'm not sure if they do a completely plain white--there might be some embossing on their white plates. It seems like the more recent patterns are sturdier than the vintage ones, which are more delicate and translucent (at least in the cream). Lenox is readily avaiable on eBay. You can also try replacements.com if you don't mind used pieces. They have all sorts of things that have been discontinued--might be worth investigating to see if you find something you really like.

Along with Lenox we have some Royal Doulton that's holding up well. All the china gets used then put in the dishwasher--haven't had any problems with it.

mzer
05-10-2013, 05:41 PM
What are a few brands you recommend?

I have been thinking about getting some fine china but haven't really looked into it yet. I also have a small obsession for table linens and have bought a very good ironing system to maintain them and other linens in the house.

It depends on your aesthetic sensibilities and how you eat, but I can give you a few I think do pretty good jobs for different looks.

For classic French, Raynaud and Bernardaud still make nice pieces. Some of the others, like Deshoulieres and Royal Limoges, make stuff that looks good from afar, but I think they often get the color palate a bit wrong and it looks weird. For French modern, which would align itself with designer as opposed to architectural interiors, I think Coquet is pretty good. It is slightly precious looking, and the plates can be small because they expect restaurant portions, but the quality is really there and it is super durable. For a more modernist look there is a line called Adonde, which is really cool looking. It competes more with Heath than with Raynaud or Lenox, but the shapes are wonderfully done.

For German, KPM has wonderful designs from the last 70 or so years which look good in any situation, but are, at their heart, modernist in the sense of post war non mid century looks. Think Mises rather than Eames. They also have some lovely fascistic pieces with Greek inspired medallions. Don't take fascistic to mean a political philosophy but the corresponding aesthetic one. The quality on all of these is extremely high, better than any of the French or English. For classic German you are looking at high dollars, but KPM makes a few and Meissen makes the most beautiful dragon plates going. You really have to love them, though.

One rung down from these quality-wise is Rosenthal, which is related to the plates Apicius mentioned he has. It is a bit more design and a bit less classic. The Jasper Morrison Moon Plates are about as versatile as you will ever find. Really good quality that can be used even at breakfast. The Tac plates are nice as well.

So, I guess I have some recommendations but I don't know exactly what you want. Take a look at these and let me know. Also price wise there are a lot of ranges.

keithsaltydog
05-11-2013, 12:55 AM
I have two Rosenthal espresso cups that I bought when I was a grad student, and which I've cherished all these years. They helped power me through my thesis! Unfortunately my wife accidentally broke one of them recently. :( I'm thinking of getting a replacement, but sentimental value is hard to replace. Other than that, we use mostly Corelle. Wine glasses are Riedel.

Corelle,that stuff is very tough.Kahala Hilton had their flower emblem on thin Corelle plates,they lasted forever in banquets & outlets.When the Hotel changed hands the plates went to the cafeteria & new expensive China & even blown glassware.None of it was left after a year,all had been broken,never learned their lesson ordered more fancy expensive plates wt. high breakage rate.The head steward got fired.

scotchef38
05-11-2013, 03:36 AM
It has been established that vast majority (if not all) people here love kitchen knives, but what about other things that make dining (at home) experience great, like fine china? Just curious.

I myself love plain white bone china tableware from the makers like Wedgewood or Steelite. I admit, most of my tableware is Syracuse china brand purchases at surplus restaurant supplies in NYC, but I would like to upgrade at some point to the likes of Wedgewood or Steelite. The quality and the feel is pretty significant (have a few pieces of Wedgewood on hand).

Are there US brands that are in the same class as the above mentioned UK brands?

M
The Steelite brand is commercial quality with additional glazing to minimise chipping and rubbing whereas Wedgewood is primarily domestic use.Fine bone china will also be a finer grade/higher quality than porcelain.I believe Dudson also sell in the states,they are commercial quality but have more attractive/less pedestrian designs.Noritaka are also a well reknowned potter that produce some nice porcelain.At auctions you can usually pick up part sets of high quality crockery for next to nothing

Marko Tsourkan
05-11-2013, 07:34 AM
I am bookmarking this thread. Wealth of information. Thanks.

mzer
05-14-2013, 10:18 AM
Fine bone china will also be a finer grade/higher quality than porcelain.

I disagree with this. The choice to use bone china over porcelain is mainly a choice between English or continental aesthetic and tradition. English use bone because they did traditionally, and Anglophile makers outside England will. Meissen (German) and Limoges (French) use hard paste traditionally and still do so. I don't know that you can make an overall quality statement about bone vs porcelain. They are just slightly different, and have different traditions.

mr drinky
05-14-2013, 10:02 PM
I'm not a big china fan BUT I second Lucretia's plug for replacements.com. I have looked at whole used china sets on their site, and you can find some nice vintage art deco sets from way back when. As for me, I instead like fine glassware and stick to plain bistroware for my dishes.

k.

AFKitchenknivesguy
05-14-2013, 11:55 PM
Mikasa, su casa:rofl2: Bet you never heard that one before:wink:

I seem to remember Mikasa having a pattern called "Threads" back in the late 90's that I liked, but generally I perfer some hand thrown stoneware to fine china. If you're ever around Colorado Springs there's a big artist community outside town (at least there was 10yrs ago) where you can pickup some real nice pieces (or sets), or get some made to order. And yes Marko, they are much more durable then Wedgewood.

Are you talking about Manitou Springs?

keithsaltydog
05-15-2013, 02:39 AM
Mikasa, su casa:rofl2: Bet you never heard that one before:wink:

I seem to remember Mikasa having a pattern called "Threads" back in the late 90's that I liked, but generally I perfer some hand thrown stoneware to fine china. If you're ever around Colorado Springs there's a big artist community outside town (at least there was 10yrs ago) where you can pickup some real nice pieces (or sets), or get some made to order. And yes Marko, they are much more durable then Wedgewood.

I like glazed stoneware too,some of the colors are stunning.Last christmas fare bought a 16" platter wt. light blue green turquoise glaze.Also got 3 large glazed coffeemugs all slightly diff.

scotchef38
05-15-2013, 07:42 AM
I disagree with this. The choice to use bone china over porcelain is mainly a choice between English or continental aesthetic and tradition. English use bone because they did traditionally, and Anglophile makers outside England will. Meissen (German) and Limoges (French) use hard paste traditionally and still do so. I don't know that you can make an overall quality statement about bone vs porcelain. They are just slightly different, and have different traditions.

I meant it as a very general statement.I have not encountered any low quality bone china but I have seen plenty low quality porcelain.You clearly have a much greater knowledge on the subject than I do.Would you consider Meissen to be superior to Serves.?

mzer
05-15-2013, 09:09 AM
Yeah, you are right here. There is almost no low quality bone china I can think of and a lot of low to mid quality porcelain.

Do you mean Sevres vs Meissen as in the styles of making china or the individual (historical) makes? I don't know that I am knowledgeable enough to say that what is made in the German style is better or worse, though I think it is fair to say that we generally see only a higher end of German manufacture than French here. Historically, I understand that Sevres was great, but I don't know anything about collectible plates. Today I think I probably prefer Meissen, the company, to any other manufacturer, but I don't actually have any because they are a little incongruous with how we live.

To add to an above post, there is still a lot of great Danish porcelain made, often with a really modern sensibility.

cnochef
05-15-2013, 09:32 AM
My wife and I have a rather large collection of Royal Albert Val D'or china, it's plain and elegant with a gold rim.