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Dinnerware safety--brand suggestions?

I am in the market for some new every day dishes and I don't want to spend a fortune. But I am struck that everything I've seen at a low cost or reasonable prices is made in China and I am concerned about toxicity and safety for food service (I've researched the issue a lot on the web and those who haven't ought to--it is scary) A friend recently bought a lovely set of white Martha Stewart dishware, and while I love the design, they too come from China. I presently have some nice white dishware that I bought 10 years ago at Willaims-Sonoma, not made in China, but it has seen better days, and even W.S. has lots from China now. I am looking for white dishes again in classic style--no frills and reasonably priced. I'd like to be sure they are safe to use and my first preference would be American made (and I don't want Fiestaware)--next choice would be made somewhere that has safety standards in place for what can be sold for food service. Any suggestions?

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    1. re: paulj

      I second the Corelle. Tough stuff.

    2. I think we're getting crazy here.

      Not everything made in China is tainted. If you were to go around your house and clothing and get rid of everything made in China, you'd have a lot of empty spaces.

      What are you worried about with the white MS dishware? Lead? You can buy a very inexpensive lead tester. Or email Martha and ask if they've tested it.

      17 Replies
        1. re: Gio

          Sorry. Old link no longer accessible.

        2. re: Jennalynn

          Of course, I do realize that not everything made in china is tainted, but there is no way to know, because a lot of the ceramics from China do have high levels of lead (see US consumer affairs) and glazing/firing processes that are not up to US standards and do not prevent toxins from leaching into food. This is why many dishware items from china are not diswasher, microwave, or oven safe. Also, many of these items are not safe to serve acidic or hot foods, like salad dressings and soups. While it may seem a "little crazy" to be so concerned about this, frankly, I am. As a mother, I do not want to take risks, especially when it comes to the potential for contaminating food with lead or whatever else when there are other options to avoid this risk, even if some may think it is small (I happen to think it is not small, from the research I have done on the topic). I am also careful about other products I purchase and I do avoid those very tempting-to-buy inexpensive clothing, bedding, candles, toiletries, toys, etc. made in china and I choose other items I can be more certain are safe for my family. I do have a lead tester. I have also contacted companies like Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn through e-mail to ask about items made in china that may have lead and I have not received any responses. Safety issue aside, I have other concerns about relying on products from China so heavily, either as an individual or as a society. Our economy has suffered greatly for this and I just hope that people will think twice about what they buy from china and make efforts to support U.S. manufacturers--for safety and economic reasons.

          1. re: liveforfood

            Although I appreciate your concerns about cheap products from overseas, there are also many things of excellent quality produced by our trading partners. Similarly, not everything Made in America is of the quality we might like it to be. Unfortunately, we can manufacture some real crap in this country as well.
            I think it's important to purchase from reputable companies when we buy things that we are going to eat from or cook in. Lead and other things can leach out into the food we eat if the glazes are improperly applied or are defective in some way. A cheap vase for some flowers - maybe. A cereal bowl for my kids - no way!

            1. re: MakingSense

              I agree with you--I'm not really an extremist about this, and sure there is loads of plain junk produced here. Made in America doesn't guarantee safety and quality, and yes, purchasing items from reputable companies is the best strategy. Also, a smart and critical consumer can usually do the research and find out more before making a purchase (part of the reason I started this thread, to learan what others might know as a place to start). I think with products made in China, or other places, there is no way to get more info, or at least, I have not found that to be the case. At one point I heard that there would be American inspections of ceramics and other food-related paraphenalia imported from China, and those that met safety standards would be labeled as such with a seal of some kind, but I have heard nothing else about this. Does anyone know about this?

              Perhaps this is more of a plea for transparency about the safety and quality of products we purchase--we need more information about these kinds of goods (and others, at least I do), before I am willing to let my child eat off of them.

              I still feel a need to buy American goods whenever I can, though. I live in a state that has deep economic scars because of industry moving abroad, and it is a tragedy to me to see what has happened to so many communites (and the people in them) because the economic infrastructures have disappeared.

              1. re: liveforfood

                I, too. look for "Made in the USA." Libbey's, Anchor Hocking, Pfatlzgraf, Corning--It would be terrible for these companies to move completely out of this country. You can't even buy American-made toothpicks anymore.

                Johnson Brothers dishes were, last I looked, still made in the USA. Hope they still are.

                Fiestaware is still made in the US.

                1. re: Angela Roberta

                  FYI Pfatlzgraf is now made in China now also.

                  1. re: Angela Roberta

                    I wasn't aware that Johnson Brothers was made in the USA. Used to be made in England. Not sure anymore. I recently looked in a couple of fine department stores and it seemed just about all the china was made in China or perhaps Indonesia. In this instance, used china may be just the thing. There's always Replacements.com that has an entire warehouse in North Carolina of previously manufactured china.

              2. re: liveforfood

                ITA. I've been checking the bottoms of dishware, flatware and glassware these last couple months to see where they were manufactured. Anything "Made in China" goes back on the shelf. When purchasing online, if the dish says "imported", I'll call the site to confirm in which country it was made.

                Maybe overkill to some, but I prefer having a peace of mind.

                1. re: OCAnn

                  The problem is that just because it's NOT made in China doesn't mean that it must be safe.

                    1. re: OCAnn

                      Yes -- look at the recent tainted eggs situation (i know, moving into food board territory...)

                2. re: liveforfood

                  I am so glad that you brought up the safety issue (and also the issue of the U.S.A.'s loss of manufacturing jobs), as I have been worried about lead in dinnerware since the Made in China toy scare. I needed new everyday dishes and finally ended up getting Dansk made in Thailand. They get very hot in the microwave and that has concerned me because I had heard dishes with lead get hot (anyone know for sure). I have not tested my dishes but now I will. Need to get one of those testers! Thanks to Chow I have found out that others share my concern. I have not read about dish concerns in the newspapers or heard it mentioned on TV. Let's start manufacturing china again in the USA with strict standards!

                  1. re: callpromo

                    Homer Laughlin China makes Fiesta dinnerware in Newell, West Virginia. It is totally lead free.

                    1. re: callpromo

                      There are still dishes made here, you just have to look beyond the department stores in most cases. The OP wanted Not made in China at a reasonable price. Hall China company makes their wares in Ohio, it's restaurant grade, looks really nice and the prices are much less than you might expect. I got mine from a restaurant supply company, where they sell it by the case of 12, which works out for me because I want 12 place settings anyway. I've also got Apilco, made in France, but that does not in my opinion meet the low cost requirement.

                  2. re: Jennalynn

                    I completely understand your concern given that you have children. Here is a really cheap lead tester (it's like $7 ish), so you can check before you spend a lot of money buying all new dinnerware:

                  3. Try Fishs Eddy in New York. As far as I know, all of their dinnerware is still Made in America! Great stuff, clever and lots of fun. They also have plain white - a dressy style and good old diner dishes. I've always been delighted with the things I've gotten from them.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: MakingSense

                      Many thanks for this link! Very cool looking stuff, and looks like prices are very reasonable. Lots of items that are just what I had in mind! I will take more time to peruse and do some shopping.

                      1. re: liveforfood

                        Also take a look at Apilco. It's simple white porcelain, made in France for over a century, clean designs, widely available at Williams Sonoma, via Amazon, EBay, occasionally and randomly at such outlets as TJMaxx and Marshalls (but only random pieces, not dinnerware sets).

                        I've had some Apilco ramekins for years and they are sturdy. If you google the brand name you'll get a number of hits. Good Luck.

                        1. re: janniecooks

                          Apilco, although not made in America, is absolutely first-rate porcelain, as is Pilluvuyt, both of which are available at W-S and at many fine stores and on-line. I've had some of mine for more than 35 years and it is as beautiful today as when I got it. I add to it all the time. Sur LaTable carries Revol, another French porcelain (200 year old company) as well as their own porcelain line (although I'm not sure where it's made.)

                          1. re: MakingSense

                            Sur La Table white porcelain is largely manufactured in Turkey; a few pieces come from different places (e.g. Italy), but the vast majority comes from Turkey.

                      2. re: MakingSense

                        Alas, most of what Fishs Eddy sells now are Chinese imports (except for some of the glass pieces). I had read an article about this earlier this year and I phoned them and they confirmed this. Too bad, because they have very cute designs...

                      3. You may also want to check your local restaurant supply store. While many of the items are "Made in China", there are still non-Chinese finds...porcelain from Europe, utensils from Japan...all at very good prices.

                        1. All I know of for sure, is not Sango. I bought service for 16. All pieces, all sizes, all the same pattern, a light green, dark green on the outside, with muddled green in there too. Upon washing them the first time in the dishwasher, the glaze came off a bunch of the pieces. Then fadeage started. I took them all back to Macy's at Christmas, with cash receipt in hand and still had the toughest time getting a refund, plus, it took hours. Just no Sango is all I can tell you. Go with a tried and true brand, a well known brand. They don't have to cost an arm and a leg.

                          1. You might consider stoneware by reputable manufacturers such as Noritake or Denby. Stoneware is not made with a lead glaze, doesn't contain lead, and isn't made in China.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Luckybranch

                              Stoneware rocks. Get some Denby, or try the Dansk stuff (their outlet stores abound). I have way, way too many pieces of Portmeirion's Botanic Garden pattern...good stuff, made in the UK and perfectly safe.

                              1. re: Luckybranch

                                I highly recommend Denby, which are made in England. I've had a set of Denby dishes for years and I've only ever chipped one piece (and I'm not super careful handling it). It's not the cheapest line but they will last forever. They have plain white as well as a variety of colours.

                                1. re: ms. clicquot

                                  Are you sure that Denby is still made in England?

                                    1. re: callpromo

                                      It's interesting - I just checked their website and most lines such as the Halo set proudly declare that the dishes are "made in England using locally sourced clay". There is also a 'Made in England' logo at the corner of the photos. However, there are a few lines that make no mention of where the dishes are made (such as the Denby White collection). I guess it's important to do your homework, even with different lines from the same manufacturer.

                                2. So what about Corelle? Too downmarket for ya? It's sturdy, safe (not pottery, so no concerns w/lead glazes). It certainly comes in white.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                    I grew up with plain white corelle, never realized it wasn't "real" china.

                                  2. Homer Laughlin makes lots of stuff other than Fiesta for the food service market. http://www.hlchina.com/ For that matter Fiesta does come in white (and coming this summer, ivory).

                                    Given the way things can be procured these days, there is probably a way to buy this for your home use too if that's what you mean. I can't quite tell.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: CrazyOne

                                      We have young children and also prefer to be extra cautious. So, we use American-made Corelle as our everyday dishes because they are lightweight, break- and chip resistant and cost next to nothing, especially when they're on sale. I especially love the square plates and bowls.

                                      For entertaining, we use the French-made Apilco which we purchased from Williams-Sonoma for more than quadruple the price of Corelle.

                                      Both Corelle and Apilco are microwave and dishwasher-safe. Our Apilco dinnerware is even freezer safe.

                                    2. I, too would like to extol the virtues of Corelle. For these reasons:

                                      The design of the plates leaves more room for food. Even though the plates are not as large as other manufacturers, the surface area for food is much larger. It really irks me that so many 12” plates have as little as a 6” serving area. I like serving my main and sides on one plate.

                                      They stack like paper plates and are light in weight. In my tiny 8’ x 8’ kitchen (with a giant GE fridge in it, by the way) being able to have all my plates on one shelf is essential.

                                      I am a congenital dropper. My mother had the condition and sadly I share the tendency. The first time I sent a plate clattering to the floor I was mortified, then instantly gleeful as the plate did its little circular dance and remained whole. Bless Corning and Corelle.

                                      It’s beautiful. I love having whiter than white dinnerware that I can round out and play with using other things picked up at Goodwill or DAV.

                                      I inherited my mother’s wedding china. Beautiful Wedgewood that filled me with terror thinking I’d break it. Frankly it just wasn’t me. Oddly nobody else in the family wanted it, so with clear conscience it was sold at the estate sale. I kept a few bits of other china she collected (including the Peter Rabbit Wedgewood that I break out when I’m not feeling well), but for every day I love my Corelle.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: MplsM ary

                                        The only bad thing I'll say about Corelle is that when it does break, it shatters into a zillion razor-sharp fragments and finding them all to clean them up is a pain. Not as much of a pain as stepping on one of them with bare feet, though..

                                        1. re: Buckethead

                                          Really? I didn't know that. In my 30 years, I've never see one break, though we have repeatedly dropped them.

                                          1. re: DishyDiva

                                            I used to have a set of Corelle years ago and it's true - it's almost as though they explode if you drop them a certain way. Instead of breaking into a few large pieces they splinter into a million shards. I broke a couple of pieces when they dropped on a tile floor, otherwise they're pretty tough.

                                            1. re: ms. clicquot

                                              I've dropped them on tile & hardwood plenty of times without shattering. My one shattering experience involved a really, really old small bowl, used to feed the outside semi-feral cat. He'd pushed it around on concrete for so long that the bottom was all scratched up--the proximal cause of shattering.

                                            2. re: DishyDiva

                                              I have some Corelle cups — originally four, now two. I also have a solid concrete floor. Believe me, Corelle will break. By the way, my Corelle cups are marked "Made in China."

                                          2. re: MplsM ary

                                            I have Wedgwood Peter Rabbit for 6. It is great when you or someone else needs comfort food and pampering. Many years ago Waterford made a cut crystal baby bottle, water sized. Meant as a christening gift but useable. I always thought that on the days you needed to go home and suck your thumb the bottle would be great for a self indulgent martini.

                                            In the same vein, my aunt had an antique baby crib converted into a settee. She said she always sat there when she was sulking about something

                                          3. I wonder why it's called "china"?

                                            Anyway, what about picking up some vintage Pyrex from ebay? Maybe not
                                            completely white, but much of it is mostly white. Borosilicate glass is about
                                            as pristine an eating surface as you're going to find.

                                            1. I too say I love Corelle!

                                              I have my original set bought when it first came out -- Spring Blossom Green, augmented by my Grandma's set, augmented still more by great thrift shop finds that cost pennies.

                                              I now have enough place settings and matching pyrex accessory pieces to host a bbq party for dozens of people, and I do not worry about someone dropping them.

                                              Oven safe, dishwasher safe, microwave safe, light and sturdy. What more could you want.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Leolady

                                                I agree that we are getting a little crazy here. Most stoneware and china dishes have lead in them, no matter where they are made. They are glazed to make them safe for eating. If the glaze wears out, or crazes, or has cracks, the dishes are no long safe to use. If the glaze is intact, there is nothing to worry about no matter where they are made.

                                                There is a very simple way to test if the glazing on your dishes is leaching any lead or other possible toxic substances. Put the dish in water for a few minutes. If you see water lines, that indicates that the glazing, which is required on all types of dishware that contains lead, regardless of its origin, has minor cracks in it and the dishes aren't safe to use. It would be a manufacturing defect in a new piece. I have found this to be a problem on cheap decorative serveware (Found at the usual linen box store, but they were so pretty! They had grapes on them!) and on old pieces in which the glaze simply wears off due to repeated use. The lines you will see on new dishes tend to be bigger and more noticeable than the crazing you find on antique china (which also makes those unsafe to use regularly). Literally, you will be looking at water leaking under the glaze, which also tells you that lead can seep out onto your food when it comes in contact with it.

                                                Don't be alarmed. No, I too won't buy dog food from China and bargain toothpaste is out of the question, but I am a glass and china collector, and have learned that this is a problem that can happen whether the item is manufactured in Europe, North America (including Mexico), or in Asia. It doesn't matter, so you need to check.

                                                1. re: RGC1982

                                                  I used to work for Williams-Sonoma in product information. We tested ALL of our products for lead safety before they ever reached the shelves. We actually had production samples sent to our testing dept where it was tested by us. If it leached lead above a certain amount (which, by the way, was a MORE rigorous standard than the FDA's or Prop 65), we didn't carry it. To be honest with you, it wasn't China that was the worst offender, it was Mexico. The colors to look out for in Chinese patterns is RED.

                                                  There are other reasons to not buy from China right now (political, mostly), but I wouldn't discount the dinnerware coming from there in a store like Williams-Sonoma.

                                                  You may be interested in reading this article from the Chicago Tribune last year on lead safety in dinnerware:

                                              2. I could have written your request myself. Just curious if you have selected a set or learned anything new!

                                                1. Yes, Please…let us know how you made out and what you ended up buying. I too have been avoiding anything China-made for quite some time now. It goes way beyond avoiding the lead problem – there have been other safety concerns with the Made In China label, involving cadmium, and other hazardous ingredients. And of course, everyone is familiar with the safety violations involving children’s toys, toothpaste, and pet foods.

                                                  Way before these problems started hitting the news, my personal experience with the overall shoddy workmanship had put me off anything made in China. Now I buy nothing without checking the label first. While it’s true that most glazed dinnerware can be safety compromised over time by crazing or other damage to the glaze, it’s unsound reasoning to compare product deterioration over time with a product that is unsafe right out of the box. (And I say “most” because there does in fact exist lead and cadmium free dinnerware. I will try to stop back and post a source link.)

                                                  I will continue to avoid anything made in China as long as I can find the same product manufactured elsewhere. I prefer USA made but most European products, particularly from England, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, are also known for their superior quality and high safety standards. And yes, I know I will have to pay more but to me, it’s worth it.

                                                  Right now I’m on the hunt for a set of Corelle dinnerware and having difficulty shopping through the Internet since so many sites do not provide country of origin. Sadly, you can no longer assume all Corelle items to be manufactured in the USA, although I believe that most still are. For several days now I’ve been awaiting email replies to my inquiries for this information. Their lack of response speaks volumes as does the omission of this pertinent information from their product description.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: kittymom

                                                    It is appropriate to be concerned about the question of lead. Since industry entered the dinnerware arena, costs have made lead an issue. Lead is a fluxing agent potters use to melt glaze ingredients at a lower temperature, saving on fuel costs, and enabling use of cheaper clay. Industry has research what is "safe" levels of lead, and laws allow that level of lead to be used, all over the world. Different levels in different countries, including the USA. The only way one can buy ceramic products that are lead free is to know personally what is in the product. If you buy from a potter who made their own wares, you can rest assured there is no lead. Potters are not stupid, and recognize the need to assure no lead is used. If there is lead in a decorative item that is hand made, they will tell you not to use it for food use. Industry has no such conscience and will not tell you they use "safe" levels, and certainly not the shop keepers who sell the products. Hand made porcelain is fired to a higher temperature and therefore, has no need for a fluxing agent. If a clay body used is red it is most assuredly unsafe for food. The character of red clay is it is porous, absorbs and holds bacteria. Also, because it is a low fire clay, will require a fluxing agent for the glaze which melts at a higher temperature than the clay body. The same can be said of any other color, because it is not the color of the clay that determines its' firing temperature, but the amount of silica and kaolin in the clay body. The term "China" is a work that grew out of European potteries attempting to find cheap ways to produce what China called "porcelain" which was fired at such a high temperature. High fired porcelain partially melts, becoming glasslike in its character, called Viscosity or "glass like" and semi transparent. Because of the high temperature and viscose nature of the clay, it not only does not require lead, it also is virtually non porous.
                                                    Having said all of that, I would like to bring to your attention any lead crystal you may use in your home. Are you concerned about that?

                                                  2. I'm not sure how up to date this website is, but it might be useful:


                                                    I'm not sure avoiding Chinese products on quality grounds is a sound argument. There is high quality stuff from China and junk from the USA. I buy quality first. Quality being equal, I'll buy made in the USA over made anywhere else to support my home country's economy.

                                                    1. I bought 2 sets of Nikko Blanc Fleur (white, embossed bone china - each set has four 4-piece place settings) at a very good price (I think around $70/set) with free shipping online in November. I just checked the back of one of the plates; it was made in Thailand. Anyway, I love these dishes! Very chip-resistant, beautiful glaze/color, and the plates, mugs, bowls are perfectly-sized IMO.

                                                      1. If you are looking for safe American made dinnerware, I highly suggest Hartstone Pottery. I love their product. And it is the best for baking. Everything they sell is made in Zanesville Ohio. They use lead free glazes, and all their dinnerware is a fully vitrified body - which means it is restaurant quality. It can handle all the temperate changes from freeze to oven. Very strong and durable!

                                                        1. Wow, it's too bad you're against Fiestaware, because I've owned mine for over 25 years, and they have given me true service. They've lived through the dishwasher, microwave, and 2 kids who've eaten off of them since they could eat solids. We've broken quite a few--we're very rough with our dishes--but replacing them is so easy since I never stuck to any one color. Our set is an entire rainbow. They're very reasonably priced and have lots of different pieces to choose from. They also coordinate with other bright colored pieces. What else can I say? I've thought about replacing them with classic white, but if pieces get broken and if the company has discontinued that style, I would actually find it more difficult to find matching pieces than with Fiestaware.
                                                          Anyhow, another excellent brand made here in the US is Heath Ceramics. Just as good as Denby and with a beautiful aesthetic. Unfortunately, a bit pricey.
                                                          I also agree with trying to buy items made closer to you. There are more reasons than just health issues with buying Chinese-made products--think of the amount of fossil fuel used to transport goods, China's bad labor practices, keeping jobs here in the US, and also by creating an export-product economy in China, it prevents them from creating a real market there for their own citizens.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: breadfanatic

                                                            FYI while looking for USA made dinnerware I looked up Pfaltzgraff--the company has been sold and guess what --is now being made in CHINA--closed museum they operated as well--may have some made in USA still around but I was sick --wanted the poppy pattern one==now will have to look closer when buying

                                                            1. re: lukee

                                                              Check out Replacements.com. Replacements, Limited in North Carolina has a huge warehouse of formerly used (or never used) china designed for people who need to replace pieces from family heirlooms, etc. You can get complete sets of china there, too, made in places besides China (but ask first)!

                                                          2. I bought Pfaltzgraff dinnerware (Evening Sun) about 17 MONTHS ago (85 pieces total). From the first day, they broke, chipped, cracked...you name it, they did it. I contacted Pfaltzgraff about the problem and they replaced everything that broke. The problem was, even with the new replaced dishes, they all continued to break, chip, etc. I resigned myself to the fact that these Stonewear dishes were extra fragile and I would have to just hand wash them and be extra careful handling them. Keep in mind, we could not put anything too hot on them since hot grilled steaks cracked two of them, and they also could not be used in the microwave since the dishes would get super hot and we were told that that was unsafe. Now fast forward to Sept, 2010 and I am fed up with not being able to use my "new" dinnerware and tired of having to replace my new broken dishes (I felt bad having Pfaltzgraff continually replace the broken dishes) with cheap Target dishes. This is my longwinded way of saying that I will NEVER purchase anything with the Pfaltzgraff name on them. These dishes were also made in China...big surprise. So I am now looking for bone china that I can use everyday, can used for hot food, can go in the microwave....crazy requirements, I know. Any suggestions?

                                                            1. For those still interested, you can get nice, restaurant quality dishes from a restaurant supply house such as Wasserstrom, they have several brands that are made in the USA and the prices are very reasonable when compaired to something like Apilco, which by the way are wonderful, albut expensive. I bought french onion soup bowls that are Hall China, made in the good ole US of A.

                                                              1. It is a shame you're opposed to Fiesta. It's made in the USA, it's lead-free, and it has a 5 year warranty. I've been using the post-86 Fiesta since it came out in 1986. The only piece that has ever broken was the finial off of a sugar bowl lid when I dropped it loading the dishwasher. The finial hit the side of the dishwasher door and snapped. Good stuff.

                                                                  1. Have you heard of Simon Pearce? It's made in Vermont by someone whose name is actually Simon Pearce. I don't have any (I have Metlox Colorstax, NLA since the late '80s), as I found them when I was looking for flatware, but it sure _looks_ nice.



                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                                      but it sure _looks_ nice.

                                                                      And big bucks. Even their seconds cost. Remember, this stuff is and made.

                                                                    2. I don't get it, what's "wrong" with Fiestaware? Is it expensive?

                                                                      Are some people getting it mixed up with the melamine horrors of the 70s?

                                                                      I don't think I've ever seen it anywhere (not that I look for dinnerware). Why doesn't some place like Target carry it? Or maybe they do? Like I said I don't go around perusing dinnerware since I have my own already.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                        Nothing needs to be 'wrong' with Fiestaware for the OP not to want it. Personally I think Fiestaware is butt-ugly but looking at Homer Laughlin's foodservice lines I see some nice thin, good looking dishes. http://www.hlchina.com/alexaintro.htm

                                                                        1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                          Ah. Well I prefer a substantial looking set of dinnerware. I especially like bright colors and mix 'n matching.

                                                                          To each his/her own. It's just that she was so specific, and I'd never heard of the stuff before.

                                                                          Not that I keep up on fashions and name brands in dinnerware, LOL!

                                                                        2. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                          Try looking at Macy's in the housewares section. The store by me must have half a dozed colors or more. I don't think there's anyting wrong with it, however it is heavy looking. I'm sure people have their reasons for not liking it if they don't.

                                                                          Personally I don't like Pfaltzgraff, we've had it for quite a while and I'm not impressed, we finally got rid of it about a year ago.

                                                                          1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                            Fiesta is sold at department stores such as Macy's, Dillards, Kohl's, etc. and the HLC Factory Outlet. Also lots of online sources. There is always a sale somewhere, so you never have to pay full price.

                                                                          2. I'm sorry you don't like Fiesta. I've used it as my everyday dishes for years. I even inherited some pieces from my mother that she had when I was a kid. Not a single piece of my Fiestaware even has a chip on it and I don't baby it. There have been times I've been surprised I haven't broken something. I bought my original Fiestaware at Macy's on sale but you can also find good prices on Amazon. Fiesta is made by Homer Laughlin. Everything they make is, and always has been, lead free and made in the USA. You can also buy other HL dinnerware which I believe is made more for the commercial trade, although quite attractive. I also inherited some "very old", Homer Laughlin dishes from my mother that I threw away because I thought they were ugly, although in perfect condition. I didn't know what they were then and I wish I still had them because vintage Homer Laughlin is pricey. I keep kicking myself.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: thymewarrior

                                                                              Just for the record, old red glazed Fiesta ware was radioactive. but is deemed safe for use, if food is not stored in it:


                                                                              I dimly remember a buzz about this years ago. I personally wouldn't use old Fiesta at all. The new stuff is awfully pretty though.

                                                                            2. Boy do I feel stupid now. For the past 10 years I have been using what used to be my late mom's "good" china dinnerware regularly .... purely out of sentiment.... and in fact I eat my daily bowl of breakfast oatmeal out of one particular bowl. The set probably dates to the late 1940s and was made in England. Just recently I commented how much the colored rim design on the bowl I use every day has faded, and it's not due to harsh detergents because I handwash everything.... :-/

                                                                              Great, one more thing to add to the "I wonder if that's what caused my cancer" list (which normally isn't in my head but when topics like this come up, one can't help wondering, even briefly).

                                                                              I've read differing opinions on whether those lead tester things are accurate or not. However, on the topic of Fiestaware (which I've never owned) I did come across this thread on Gardenweb regarding Fiestaware and lead:

                                                                              Guess I should play it safe and relegate that old china to a storage box. Sorry, mom. :-(

                                                                              1. I have a friend who works in customs at theport here. She says you cannot trust what is made in China, especially anything you eat, wear, cook with, etc. Many companies ship with a product description that when tested does not bear up. This is her department: testing products.

                                                                                1. A good rule of thumb to avoid non food safe ceramics is: Use high fired porcelain or stoneware (fired to 1280°C or above) This is a vitrified non porous ceramic. The glazes at this temperature and above do not use leads. As long as the glaze is properly melted, all but copper will be locked in, therefore food safe. Copper can leach out of some glazes when used with acidic foods.
                                                                                  If unsure of what to look for:
                                                                                  If your tongue sticks to it, it is not vitrified (vitrified ceramic will not absorb water (<.3%)).
                                                                                  To make sure the glaze is formulated properly, has melted and locked everything in, it should be smooth and glossy. Hold it against the light so that it shines, look for any little holes (called pin holes) these should be avoided, apart from anything they can harbour bacteria. Same goes for cracks in the glaze (called crazing).
                                                                                  So to be safe. Stick to porcelain with a high gloss. Avoid greens, yellows and reds.
                                                                                  Most tableware ceramics coming out of China these days comes with certification.
                                                                                  It never hurts to be a little paranoid though.

                                                                                  I'm a studio potter with more than 12 years experience.
                                                                                  I have a BA (Hons.) in ceramics.
                                                                                  I use only food safe glazes and materials.
                                                                                  If you wish to contact me, your more than welcome to do so via my studio blog: andrewwiddis.blogspot.com

                                                                                  1. What happened now to same old/same old..Mikasa- Lenox - Noritake etc. Are the new batches no longer good? I have all complete full sets - as hand me down. No complaints whatsoever. I have another from England (fr MIL) w/c i seldom use only for esp occasion because its baroque ornate. Wonna know if knew ones of these brands are compromised quality. I'll stop giving such for bridal shower.

                                                                                    1. Whether or not it's true, I've read that it's colored dinnerware that you need to be really concerned about because many companies used lead glazes to get vibrant colors.

                                                                                      I have white Mikasa for my good stuff. I bought it about 20 years ago and it's marked "Japan". It's beautiful and has been durable. Mikasa is made in many different countries though, so you have to check each pattern.

                                                                                      I use Fiesta for casual dining. It's almost indestructible, is dishwasher and microwave safe, and I think it's very attractive.

                                                                                      For those of you who think Fiesta has never contained lead, by the company's own admission, they only began to produce lead-free china in the early 80's. http://www.hlchina.com/company.htm. Look at the paragraph titled "The Third Generation..." So for Fiestaware collectors, it might be a good idea to only use it decoratively if was made prior to that time period.

                                                                                      1. Hi to all,
                                                                                        I too have concerns regarding products from China. It is to be noted, however, that the FDA does allow the use of lead in glazes in American made products. It is called food grade and supposedly safe.

                                                                                        For me, lead is poison and I don't want it in the glaze in my dinnerware. I found Simon Pearce has a beautiful product. I want to point out that Emerson Creek Pottery also has beautiful dinnerware. It all depends on what your style is, which you might want to choose. Neither of these companies use lead in their glaze, it is artisan grade, craftsmen made in the ole US of A!

                                                                                        1. H.F. Coors is made in Tucson, Az.

                                                                                          1. Hello,

                                                                                            HF Coors makes lead-free dinnerware in the USA.
                                                                                            *passes FDA as well as California Prop 65 safety requirements
                                                                                            *Made 100% in Tucson, AZ USA
                                                                                            *made to withstand restaurant use = long lasting for YOU
                                                                                            *safe to use in: broiler, microwave, dishwasher, oven, freezer
                                                                                            *non porous/vitrified

                                                                                            1. Since this thread has been revived, I'll add a link for World Market's Coupe porcelain dinnerware. It's made in Thailand and can be had in round or square shapes.


                                                                                              I've got their more traditional (but no longer available) wide rimmed porcelain, also from Thailand. In 6 years of daily use, I've broken 2 plates. It's pretty tough.

                                                                                              1. I have a friend who works at port here in testing facility. She says never ever wear it,
                                                                                                Eat it, or use it if
                                                                                                It says Made in China
                                                                                                None of it can be trusted.