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Dec 17, 2009 12:25 PM

What dinnerware do you have, and how do you rate it?

As a dinnerware junkie, I'm wondering what you guys have, and what's the best and worst in terms of durability and function.

I'll come back & post about my collection ...

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  1. Let me start with worst, because that's easy ;)

    I have about service for two left of an aqua glazed red clay *incredibly fragile* Ceramiche Nicola Fasano set. I had a dinner plate break into in the microwave once (despite being 'microwave safe').

    Next is Haldon Group's Blue Stripe ... sold as dishwasher safe, it wasn't. The glaze cracked ... what a mess. Plus it kind of screams about its origin in another decade ...

    I also have Russel Wright's American Modern in seafoam. The most popular dinnerware ever made, but it was also fragile. (Not as fragile as the other two I've mentioned!!) And the glaze left something to be desired. It's beautiful though ... and the color's easy to serve on.

    Speaking of color, I have quite a bit of Our America transferware by Vernon Kilns, another vintage pattern, in brown and white. The glaze, like nearly all Vernon, is perfect. The brown and white is a bit challenging to serve on, though ... you have to make sure the food is colorful.

    I think that's it for the negatives ...

    1. I use daily a Pfaltzgraf pattern no longer in production, Forest. I think I have everything in that pattern, except for the salt and pepper. I bought through ebay extra coffee mugs. For 10 years we have used the set, and it has proved durable. We have only 1 or 2 chips in the set. I am somewhat disappointed that the creamy plates (w/ borders) have discolored and sometimes I see scratches in the finish.

      I also pull out a Lenox Christmas set around this time of year. And I have displayed some old American Haviland, pattern Birchmere. This a curious mid-forties - mid fifties set with a more modern pattern on a very traditional scalloped plate blank. Don't like using it because it cannot be dishwashed. Displayed with it I have a seldom used partial set of Fenton red goblets. I've forgotten the pattern. These were my grandmother's.

      I will enjoy hearing about others' dinnerware.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sueatmo

        I have my great-aunt's china (what's left of it, which is quite a number of pieces), which I inherited: not sure if it's pre-war or post-war, but it's not going into the dishwasher (too fragile and I do love the memories).

        I have a set for four (dinner/salad plates, cereal bowls) of this thick, industrial, well-glazed stoneware from England that I got about 15 years ago at the original Phila. IKEA. It has that diner-sturdiness to it and I love the black and white design on it It is microwave and dishwasher-safe (micro'd almost daily). It's a real workhorse set and has been in near-daily use since I purchased it (the china is more for special occasions). The glaze shows no signs of wearing thin, either.

        ETA: no chipping so far, either! BTW, meant to reply to OP, not you sueatmo!

        1. re: sueatmo

          Oops! I forgot my mother's stoneware, all white. She collected Meakin for years. I've got the pieces that are usable. Every so often I score another piece, but don't limit myself to Meakin. The only pieces I use are the oval platters. I think the shapes are simply elegant. The stuff does not remain pristine through the decades. But I use it anyway. My favorite platter has the most crazing. For some reason it has become my favorite. I dishwash this stuff, even though it is at least 100 years old.

        2. I spent months and months scouring shops for the perfect white set and finally chose Cellini by Villeroy & Boch. I've had it in daily use every single day for about 8 or 9 years and it's perfect. I've broken one plate and replaced it right away. It's a beautiful set and it's dishwasher safe. Apparently, it's fine in a microwave but I don't have a microwave so I can't comment on that. I would recommend it in a heartbeat!

          6 Replies
          1. re: hrhsheba

            I like white too, and I have the same dishwasher-safe requirement for everyday! I don't mind washing the special dishes by hand, but I certainly would mind doing it constantly.

            For everyday, I have Wedgwood Strawberry & Vine. I've had it for close to 20 years. The pieces I use continually have some scratching .... only one piece has ever chipped. The chip eventually led to a crack, and it all ended in the recycling bin. (Here you can recycle broken ceramics and glass, which makes me feel marginally better when tragedy strikes.) Creamware has a beautiful fragile appearance, but is actually very tough.

            Also for everyday, Poppytrail Jamestown Provincial, which is white. The borders of the flat pieces (like plates and platters) have 'rivets' at the rim, which I love. It was made in the late 50s/early 60s and is dishwasher safe (as required!). The pattern is strange ... it's like it had two designers. The flat pieces are tailored, while some of the others are cutesy, with hearts as I recall.

            I recently got some antique damask napkins that were too formal for everything I have, so I got a 'test' piece of French Haviland Ronson. I really like it, but the rimmed 9+" dinner plate seems quite small, and the larger dinner plate seems to be rare. Does anyone have this (or another pattern on the blank)? I saw there's also a coupe (rimless) plate ... does anyone have those?

            1. re: foiegras

              I have been using a porcelain set from Finland named "Ruska". It is made by the Arabia company recently bought out by Iittala of Finland. Oven, freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe. In 30 years of daily use I have only broken 1 dinner plate and 2 salad plates, Unfortunately, the line was discontinued in 1999.
              The dishes are a beautiful variegated brown shade.

              All of the Arabia of Finland dishware is very hardy. If I were going to start all over again, I would now choose the white line called "Artica." I have a few of the Artica serving bowls and serving dishes which I use with my Iittala Niva dishes, but no dinner plates or soup bowls etc.
              I also have a full set of Iittala Niva glass plates. bowls and dessert plates that would go beautifully with the white Artica dishes. Maybe if I broke more of my Ruska plates, I could buy more of the Artica set.:

              1. re: Smachnoho

                I've had Wedgewood's Stonehenge Midwinter White for 20+ years and love it. But, I am in desparate need of replacement pieces and it is now very dear. So, I'm thinking of putting the remainder of what I have up on Ebay and buying something new. Unfortunately, I can't find anything I like as well!

                I use it with a largish collection of Portmeirion Botanic Garden serving pieces.

                1. re: onrushpam

                  I Googled pictures & I like that mix! Unfortunately finding something else I like is never a problem for me ... I guess I'm very good at seeking and finding :D If you have a local version of Replacements, that's great for scouting new patterns. I think if you love it, though, you should see if you can't find some good prices. I have bought a number of patterns piece by piece, and when I've balked at the price of something, there's almost always a better way (unless it's super rare, in which case you take what you can get).

                  I have service for 9 in Fire-King jadite Shell (, but I balked at $75 at the time for the very plain clear glass cover/jadite bottom butter dish. I ended up finding the bottom for $7.50 at an antique mall--the dealer had no idea what the piece was--and the top when I helped clear out Great-Aunt Helen's kitchen. So you never know ...

                  I have some Portmeirion Starfire plates I use for everyday:

                  They're beautiful, but they have surface texture so your fork kind of scrapes along it in not the best way ... I try to serve just things like sandwiches on them, but don't always succeed.

                2. re: Smachnoho

                  I used to have Arabia Artica (or was is Arctica) and loved it! Now one of the kids has it, and I just might steal it back one day. Do they still make it?

                  1. re: Jane917

                    According to Replacements, Arctica is an active pattern:

                    I'm definitely seeing a marked preference for white! I wonder if that's a foodie thing, or if we are representative of the general population??

            2. I have three sets - I'm a bit of a dinnerware junkie too!

              My everyday dishes are Denby in Reflex Blue. I got them for my wedding and they are incredibly solid. I have only broken one dish in five years and none have chipped. Unfortunately, the pattern has been discontinued but it's easy to find pieces to mix and match with them. I have some Portuguese bowls and IKEA cappucino mugs that go with them perfectly.

              I recently acquired a set of Maxwell Williams white basics. I don't know yet how durable they are but so far so good. They look great and really showcase food nicely.

              Finally, I inherited a full set of Royal Doulton dishes from a great aunt. I believe they're from the 60's and are quite formal (white with olive green and gold trim). They get used once a year for Christmas but seem to be very durable. I even wash them in the dishwasher with no ill effects.

              1. I cycle in and out. Right now, we're using an older Mikasa called Bluebell. I got it at the Goodwill (!!) but it's actually fairly nice stuff. Some chips on it when I got it, but nothing's chipped in the decade I've had it....

                AND Polish Pottery of many varied patterns. I LOVE this stuff: it's strong, durable, fun, and you can add to it endlessly. I've bought cheap (at TJ Maxx) and fancy (from speciality shops) but aside from the artistic quality of the designs, there seems to be no difference in durability. It comes out of the dishwasher looking new.

                I've got some very cool (eight place settings) Monterey Art Pottery from California--4 in speckled pink, and 4 in speckled turquoise--and a lot of serving dishes, but I don't use this frequently as it has to be hand-washed. And I've got service for 8 in old Fiestaware, which likewise is used for mainly special occasions.

                Add to that our Wedgwood "Chinese Flowers" bone china, some fako-Italian (made in China) stoneware from J.C. Penney's years ago (love the design but it's chipping away), and a bunch of pink and blue melmac, and some jadite Firestone, and that's what we choose from at the moment.