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Mar 26, 2008 06:53 PM

Help in matching "white" dinnerware

Hi all!

I'm new to chowhound, and a relative newbie at setting a (nicer) table. I got married over 3 years ago, but just didn't have time then to think about china, stemware, etc. but have finally decided as my cooking has improved that I need to take more time in the presentation as well. We finally decided on Wedgwood White bone china as our backbone original thought was that I could then mix and match different salad plates in other patterns, using WW as the neutral dinner plate. I have since realized though that WW is such a bright white, it actually makes most other porcelains look muddy.

Does this mean that I'm relegated to accessorizing only with other Wedgwood patterns? I had been hoping to mix in some Limoges salad plates (I'm fond of several Medard de Noblat patterns, and some of Haviland too), but am thinking this might not be a good idea now. I tried putting a Spode pattern on top of the Wedgwood white today, and even that was not a great match...which is a shame, as I had thought Spode Blue Colonel (not the pattern I tried today) would look great against the Wedgwood White.

Also, what I find most frustrating is that I am currently living in an area where I can't see any of this stuff in person.

Thoughts? TIA.

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  1. I would try a bold color with the white and/or a bright pattern so that the background colors dont have to match perfectly. i use a similar technique with my spode cream china adding other colors and patterns to it for a fun table setting.

    1 Reply
    1. re: foodwich

      Thanks for the idea foodwich...I had thought along the lines of colored glass for summer...but I guess I also happen to be partial to a lot of patterns that have quite a bit of white in the body of the plate. Maybe I'll content myself with different dessert plate sets.

    2. I have some white Wedgwood, but I don't know the pattern. I think It's Wedgwood White. Does your Wedgwood White pattern have the name stamped on the back?

      1 Reply
      1. re: susiescribbles

        Yes, it has the W and Wedgwood on the back. Wedgwood makes a number of white patterns though, and from what I understand, the whites differ from line to line. This is my set here:

      2. To the best of my knowledge, there is no interchangeable white porcelain from different manufacturers. And that's on purpose. They want you locked in. With that said, your very best bet, if you are set on white china, is to go with a company that makes anything and everything you will ever need or want. I mean from place settings and coffee mugs to soup tureens and egg cups! The only company I know of that is reliable-there-when-you-need-them open stock is Apilco. A five piece place setting will run in the same neighborhood as the Wedgewood White, but with Apilco, it doesn't matter which of their patterns you buy, the white porcelain will match the white porcelain. You can look over some of their line here at the Williams Sonoma website:

        I'm not pushing WS, but it's where Google led me. There is a direct importer with prices a bit lower. I just can't find their URL today. Hope they haven't gone out of business.

        Since you are just starting out, I will share my experiences with you, though some will strongly disagree with me. At one point in my life, I decided to go with all white china. What's more classic, right? I ended up getting rid of it when I realized I was spening more time color coordinating meals so they would look good on the damned white china than I was spending thinking about flavor! But I do very much like the idea of being able to get anything from egg cups to Chinese spoons, so I went with Blue Danube. Been using it every day now for over forty years and have never tired of it. That, and I love the handles on cups and mugs! Okay, I'm weird. If you'd like to look it over, you can see it here: This is an Australian company, with prices so great that even after paying shipping clear from Australia, I still save money.

        Good luck with whatever you decide!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Caroline1

          Thanks Caroline1, I'm locked into Wedgwood White. Incidentally, I do love it...the white is really great...had white porcelain before and when I got the Wedgwood white, I was ready to pitch all my porcelain, which looked dingy next to it.

          I'm surprised you thought the white china was hard to coordinate food on...I actually find that almost any food seems to look best on pure white plates and I'm finding it hard to incorporate color into my china.

        2. Wedgwood White is Bone china. There is a big difference among "chinas". Bone is is the whitest brightest and most durable. You should be able to mix bone china patterns whether is it Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Royal Worcester, Lenox Bone etc. Next on the list are Fine Chinas, the body color is creamier, think of the regular Lenox with that cream off white color. Porcelain is next, there is a greyer cast to the china body, a good example is Royal Worcester's ever popular Evesham and some of the French and German patterns. The English are best known for the "bone china". After that are stone wares, They are heavier but fired at very high temps. The clay becomes vitrified and very sharp if broken. Earthenware is next in line. It is made from a soft clay, is creamy and can chip easily, Spode, while making bone china is quite well known for much of it's eathenwware patterns. Christmas Tree is a good example.

          Ironstone was a heavier denser form of earthenware, rarely produced anymore. It chips and cracks easily. You also have things like Corelle which doesn't really fit into any of the other categories.

          With your Wedgwood White, look to mix with patterns with a similar profile. That dinner plate is a fairly flat dinner plate so a salad plate in a deep design, while still being bone china may look a bit odd with it.

          Another poster, jillp and I both have a dozen bone white dinner plates among many other patterns in our china crazed colections. She has Wedgwood White and I have a plain Royal Doulton white that is not available now. When we have big groups together we combine and share our white dinner plates. We really have to look at the back stamps to figure out which plate belongs to whom.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Candy

            The only reliable way to match the whites of china is to find an open stock pattern you like, and stick with it. I have Noritake bone china, Mikasa bone china, some very old English bone china with no manufacturer's name, then in porcelain I have Rosenthal, Sango, Eschenbach, Tirschenreuter, Blue Danube, and some other odds and ends. Not one whit matches any other exactly. The whitest white in any of my china is the white figurines on my blue Jasperware (Wedgwood).

            Just to make sure I'm not imagining this or the victim of bad light on a cloudy day, I called two department stores -- Dillards and Neiman's -- and in both cases I was told the whiteness of the china is determined by each manufacterer, but that Lenox is famous for it's creamy bone china. You and jillp are very lucky your whites match so closely. None of mine do!

            1. re: Caroline1

              Given the mix-and-match bandwagon that I'm trying to jump on, I wonder then if the best solution is to have 2 sets of basic white, one in say English bone china, and one in French porcelain. The bone china white should hopefully pair well enough with English patterns, the French porcelain white should be fairly close to the white in any French/Limoges patterns. Maybe never an exact match, but close enough? That way, the world is your oyster in choosing salad plates from all sorts of patterns and manufacturers. LOL, I guess I'm turning into a china junkie.

              1. re: cattleya

                Becoming a china junkie isn't a difficult leap. Well, except maybe if you're a politician. '-)

                Seems to me it will depend entirely on what you're calling "mix and match." If you're talking about adding white background china with a pattern as an accent, why not? However, I suspect y9u'll find as much variation in bone china as in porcelain. <sigh> It's the nature of the beast.

                1. re: Caroline1

                  thank you fellow china junkie. i have a few sets of china which i can mix and match for daily use so never have the same china daily and can also mix and match. the funny thing is i have been buying red white and blue for my everyday china. recently i have bought a few white pieces specifically for the food i intend to serve in them. i dont know if thats extreme but signs of addiction are definitely present.

              2. re: Caroline1

                The traditional Lenox is not Bone china but fine china. They have tried producing bone china a number of times but without great success. Bone china is cnamed so because of the addition of bone ash to the clay. It gives it that bright white color and a durability that while looking fragile is unsurpassed in durability. As I said above most of the other European chinas are porcelains and do not have the bone ash addition so the "white" back grounds are never going to look like the true bone white.

                I was a china buyer as well as still being a china junkie. My Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Crown Staffordshire, Minton, and Coalport's are all the same white. My porcelains do vary by origin.

                1. re: Candy

                  Thanks Candy for all the great info. When you say your Wedgwood matches up to the Royal Doulton, Minton, etc., which Wedgwood do you have? At my local dinnerware place, I was told that Wedgwood White was the result of a new formula introduced over 10 years ago and that the new formula resulted in the beautiful whiter than white (and harder to match white) that WW is.

                  1. re: cattleya

                    The English china is all produced pretty much in the same local in England, casually referred to as "The Potteries" , mid-central England and their clay comes from pretty much the same area so there is not a a real recognizable difference in china body. Wedgwood White is more than 10 years old more like 20-30 in age. One pattern I have is Hunting Scene. The pattern has been sold and produced as different companies were sold and absorbed, Crown Staffordshire started it, Coalport which was bought by Wedgwood gobbled up both companies and now produces it. Unless you look at the back stamp you cannot tell the difference from a dinner plate made 30+ years ago from one produced last week . I did find a mug produced by a Japanese maker on E-Bay. It was porcelain and much greyer in color than the bone china. Look as I suggested, at the china profile. Match that when mixing.


                    1. re: Candy

                      I have a similar problem to the original post in that I received Royal Doulton Moonstone dinneware from my mother as a wedding gift in 1972. Now I would like to expand the china for my daughter's wedding next year. If there is anybody familiar with the Moonstone pattern, can you suggest another of the many Royla Doulton patterns that I might add to ge the modern look of mixin' and matchin'. Thanks nan10450

            2. I bought Wedgewood White in the late 1960's and have only used the pieces a few times. Let me know if you are interested in purchasing some pieces, I have some place settings and serving pieces.


              1 Reply
              1. re: gjlglobal

                gjlglobal - I am very interested in your wedgwood white. Please e-mail me how many place settings and what serving pieces you have. My email is Thanks!