Looking for plates
At one point in my life I was first a china salesperson and then a buyer in all things table top. Is what you are looking for going to be used for everyday dinnerware. Exactly what do you have in mind or have you given it really any thought? Here are some tips and maybe I can help you solidify what it is you think it is you want. First of all keep in mind. You are equal to if not better than your possessions. In otherwords nothing is too good to use. You may find something you like but might think it might be a little dressy and forml for some meals and that is okay and you might like someting to trot out for special occasions or meals......I have 11 sets of china and do change seasonally ond some I consider fall dinnerwear or summer etc.
Now to the basics. The most expensive dinnerware you are going to find is Bone China. It is called bone china because there is actual animal bone ash in the clay mixture. It gives the china the beautiful translucense and makes it appear so fragile. Surprise! This is the most chip resistant dinnerware you can buy and some of the sturdiest. Very little is produced in the US. It is mainly English or French or German. Lenox tried to bring out a bone china line every few years and while it is quite beautiful it does not sell as well as their fine china. The fine china is the next step down. Because it lacks the bone ash it has a creamier body color. After that comes Porcelain. It is also very durable and fine looking, it can chip but the clay it is produced from is a very sturdy china clay, it occasionally has a slightly greyish cast to the porcelain body because it too lacks bone ash.
Next is stoneware. Stoneware is very solid and is fired at temperatures where the pottery is almost vitrified. If you break a piece it can be very sharp. Think Dansk, Pfaltzgraf and the like. On the lower end is pottery, there are lots of brands and it is cheap enough that you can uy in so called "fashion colors". The problem here is the clay that is uaed to produce pottery, and it has lots of mis-leading names, like ironstone, is that the clay used to make it is very soft and porus. Think Pier 1, pottery Barn etc. That stuff is chip city and the stuff is so porus that food can get into the body and promote bacterial growth.
So if you came to me and said "Candy help me decide" probably one of the first suggestions I would make is that you go to either Wedgwood or Royal Doulton or Royal Worcester etc. and buy plain white, no decoration, no gold or pltinum (china industry does not use silver on china it washes off too easily) what is important is that it is all sold open stock. You break a piece and it is hard to do, you can replace it no porblem. YOu can buy the pieces you need and are going to use. You can go to Pier 1 etc. amd get some fun stuff for patio dining or to suit ethnic meals. As you graduate into tabletop addicition there are things like Spoge Christmads Treee (Haunt TJ Maxx for this). Whatever you decide to do, do not buy a "set" . Only buy open stock and and when you graduate into some more decorative patterns keep in mind that color fashion runs about a 10 years course.
Blieve me i am a junkie, going on my 3 rd. set of sterling fltware, teh 11 sets of china, and i cannot tell you how much stemware and bar wear I own, i just don't know. If you want to contact me directly feel free to do so. my e-mail adderess is on my profile.