Monday, June 9, 2014

Ironstone vs. Porcelain

Ironstone verses Porcelain.
Which is which?
Are they the same?
How can you tell the difference?

Some writers describe ironstone as merely 
white china.  

Ironstone was first produced in 1813 in
Staffordshire, England and exported 
to the US in the 1840's.

Some call it heavy porcelain.
Others say that it is not porcelain.

Older ironstone has a bluish cast to it 
and it later became creamy as you can tell
in comparing the two pieces above.

There are transfer-decorated pieces
including the Tea Leaf, Flow Blue,

The bowl above is a new piece that i got for $3 at the local flea market.
and the gold painted bowl, platter and creamer above.

Ironstone is safe for serving.
It can be cleaned with toothpaste, denture tablets, 
Calgon water softener, or hydrogen peroxide, 

My collection of old ironstone is used simply for display
or as a vase for flowers.
I use my newer pieces for serving at weddings and events. 

Does anyone know?
Is Ironstone and Porcelain the same?



  1. Hmmm...interesting question, Bonnie. I have a close friend who is a potter. I will ask him and see what he says.

    Your pieces are beautiful! And that $3 piece you just purchased was a real steal!

  2. HI Bonnie! Interesting post as there are so many people collecting everything white and calling it "ironstone" whether or not it is. Authentic Ironstone is not porcelain, but earthenware, which is very porous. It was actually made as an alternative to porcelain, but the quality didn't measure up.

    I wanted to say thank you for always stopping by and leaving such sweet comments. I always look forward to your visits:-)

  3. Bonnie, I always thought ironstone was heavier than porcelain. but hey, what do I know...we ate on melmac growing up. LOL. My own first set of dishes were melmac. But it could have been china, for I was truly happy with it. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

  4. Beautiful pieces Bonnie! I have been collecting pitchers for some time.. I think ironstone is much heavier than porcelain???? I just love the old white pitchers...most of the older ones have a creamy patina to them with almost a crackle look. I am not really an expert.. I usually buy if I love it and of course if the price is right.....:) Have a great day! Blessings!

  5. Such beautiful pieces Bonnie, I am a sucker for old dishes, Francine.

  6. Both are lovely, but I don't have a clue... I'm such a novice but learning so much from you new gals I'm following.

  7. From what is described, it seems like they are different but very similiar in appearance. Sound right? :) Whatever they are, they are both very pretty and apparently quite fragile. The pictures turned out clear too, by the way. Good camera work.
    Hope your day is full of joy unspeakable ... ~:)

  8. They are both from the stoneware family. Ironstone is heavier. It is according to how the stoneware is glazed. That is the only difference.

    Lovely pictures..Blessings

  9. I don't know, but I like them both!

  10. I soak my ironstone in hot water and OxyClean to brighten it. That is if I want to brighten it.

  11. I think it is the clay that is used in producing ironstone and porcelain which makes the difference.

  12. They are actually not the same, but I think they have become somewhat interchangeable in recent years. I adore ironstone. Keep on collecting. xo Laura

  13. I don't know but I enjoyed everyone's answers and the tips on cleaning!

  14. I think that porcelain is a more refined product with additional glazing (if I remember correctly). Ironstone was more of a "poor man's porcelain" when it was made and was of a lesser quality.

    I love both though- xo Diana

  15. Bonnie,
    Not sure on the ironstone question but I love yours. So pretty. You have a great little collection. I have a lot of white pieces in my collection and love them all.
    Have a great week.

  16. I don't know but I know it is ALL SO pretty:) Enjoy your day dear Bonnie, BIG HUGS!

  17. Not sure of the difference. I only have about three pieces, a platter and some pitchers. Not rally interested in collecting a whole bunch now wince I am moving hopefully soon. Maybe some day I will. I love yours!

  18. Porcelain is fired at an extremely high temperature. If you hold a piece of porcelain up to the light, it is translucent, a sure identifier.


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