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So how long will a porcelain dinnerware set last?

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I’m thinking about investing in Pillivuyt dinnerware.

I love beautiful things, and things that last. I also love to use my beautiful things, and unlike my mother-in-law (only using her China at Christmas, not scraping the plates, or stacking them, and hand washing them), I’d like to use the porcelain dinnerware daily, use in the freezer/oven, wash in the dishwasher and feel happy to serve my guest a steak and give them a steak knife to use on the dish.

I used to own a Maxwell and Williams basic white dinner set and within 3 years of use the plates looked quite worn, which is fine, I mean it’s their job. But will the Pillivuyt slow to age? Will I still be happy using them in 20 years time and then some?
What are your thoughts?

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  1. This AM I made my tea in my mother's white Pillivuyt teapot which must be at least 40 years old. My own plain white Pillivuyt dishes have been purchased over the past 3 decades & are used several times daily. All are in perfect condition, no chipping, no discoloration, no special treatment, washed in d/w, in & out of cupboards, on & off the table, into & out of the dw...I'm talking very heavy everyday use here ...

    IME an excellent purchase [as was my Wedgwood Drabware, sadly no longer made...why, oh why did Wedgwood d/c this elegant design? But that's a whole other issue...]

    1. They'll last until about 1 second after you drop them.

      1. I have a lot of white porcelain - some of it KSPlus and over the last 5 years I have been mixing in Apilco and Pillivuyt. Not a single piece has a mark, a blemish, a sign of wear. It is true that if you drop it, it's done but the nice thing is that you will only break one piece and you can just mix in a replacement piece without problem. As a personal choice, I do not like patterns. I love the look of white porcelain and you never have to worry that either Pillivuyt or Apilco will suddenly stop making porcelain. So don't worry about breaking one.

        1. I always thought they last forever. Porcelain-ware made hundreds and thousands of years are displayed. Of cours, if you break it you break it, but porcelain-ware is very inert.

          1. snax, I only have 15-20 pieces of bakware of apilco and pillivuyt, not dinnerware. Many of them are still younger than 2 years but I already feel that I cannot go back anymore to "Stoneware". Apillco/Pillivuyt are lighter and harder. It does not get scratches as easily as stoneware. Cleaning is the best part - so easy. Even the back of the bottom which has no shiny glaze remains white while stoneware's bottom get dirty very easily with oils etc which once they are absorbed, you cannot really clean off, I guess. Also, my Mikasa white porcelain dinnerware set is three years old but I don't notice any major scratches although we use steak knives on the plates many times. I am not an expert but think the temparature of firing creates the difference.

            1. I have some Chinese porcelain that I am the fourth generation to use (bought in SF before the earthquake) . The finish still looks great; so Pillivuyt and Apilco sound like a pretty safe bet as something that will stay around a long time.

              1. Good porcelaine should last you for years. And your kids too, if you have any and they like the pattern! My "everyday" fine china is Blue Danube -- you can see it here: http://www.bluedanube-direct.com/inde... -- and I've been using it daily for about forty two years now. Of course, it's not ALL original pieces! But the great advantage of open stock is being able to replace the piece, not the set!

                Before I bought the Blue Danube, I had white porcelain, though I no longer remember if it was Pillivuyt or what. Probably a "mixed breed." The reason I gave up on the all white porcelain was one night I fixed fillet of sole Veronique, with califlower and rice pilav. All of that pale food on a white plate was absolutely uninspiring! All the parsley garnish in my kitchen did not spice it up. So I decided my dinnerware needed a little color. I was hesitant, because normally I prefer plain and simple. The thing that won me over on the Blue Danube was the wonderful unique shape on the coffee cup and mug handles. PLUS. like the Pillivuyt, it is available in plates, bowls, finger bowls, footed cream soup bowls, individual au gratin dishes, rice bowls, soup tureens, covered casseroles, fancy mayonnaise boats, egg cups, and just about any other special piece you can t hink of.

                I have two full sets and several partial sets of other porcelain that gets used for holidays or as the spirit moves me, but the Blue Danube is used every single day of the year and has been for forty two years now. My ONLY rule: no one is allowed to set it in the sink if it's dirty. Set it on the counter top or put it in the dishwasher, but putting china in the sink is a short cut to chipping and breakage. Mine goes in the dishwasher, in the microwave, in the oven, I serve steak on it WITH steak knives, and occasionally even steam things in it.

                Whether you go with the pure white or ultimately decide on a pattern, I don't think you can go wrong with porcelain. Enjoy!

                13 Replies
                1. re: Caroline1

                  That's pretty. I love the "blue onion" pattern--it's really timeless. I had a smock shirt WAY back in the 70s that was in a blue onion pattern, that I adored so much I literally wore it to pieces.

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    It's lovely, and that's coming from someone who likes all white dinnerware.

                    Please tell me you bought the little table bell? how sweet is that

                    1. re: snax

                      LOL! No little table bell. If I rang it, I would have to get up and wait on myself! But I *DO* have the salt box. And some other fun things. I was going to tell you about them, but then I remembered "a picture is worth 1,000 words," so I broke out my camera. But NOT the tripod, so forgive the shaky focus. And I also drew the line at unloading the dishwasher, so some guys are off at the baths...

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        Beautiful!! I love the look of the hanging cups in the kitchen. Where did you get this "Coffeetime" hanger?

                        1. re: hobbybaker

                          It's one of those "junkyard treasures." I think I found it in a much earlier version of what is now known as "Big Lots!" It was lonely and unloved, so I gook it home for about a dollar, and it has been with me for thirty or forty years. In one kitchen, I cut it into two cup hangars, one that said "Coffeel" and one that said "Time." They got reunited in this kitchen. The great secret bonus is how much cabinet space the mugs free up!

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            Yah. It is a lovely piece and a space saver at the same time. I will look for something like this for garage sale etc!

                    2. re: Caroline1

                      becky, "Blue Danube" is very similar to the Meissen's "blue onion". but they are made by different company. As the link indicates, the former is made by Japanese Nikko (?) and the latter is by German, Meissen. They are different and Meisen is super expensive but I like the quality of affordable Blue Danube, too.

                      I have a couple of Meissen serving pieces given me as a wedding gift.

                      I saw Blue Danube a month or so ago on sale at Tuesday Morning. They don't have a set but nice pieces including bake ware.

                      1. re: hobbybaker

                        In addition to Meissen, Hutschenreuter (now part of Rosenthal) also makes Blue Onion. You can see it here:
                        When I chose my Blue Danube, I was torn between the Hutschenreuter and the Blue Danube. Forty two years ago, they weren't that far in price. I went with the BD because it had so many many more pieces available, as well as it being a whiter porcelain than either the Meissen or the Hutschenreuter. Let's just say that had I gone with the Hutschenreuter, I don't think they would still be my "everyday" dishes! If only I'd bought a couple of carloads then to sell now.... '-)

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          Caroline. True. As a matter of fact, one of mine is Hutschen not Meissen:) I am so greatful to my relatives giving to me as they, especially Meissen, are beyond my budget range.. they are elegant and matching all sort of dishes. Talking about blue and white porcelains, another I love is Royal Copenhagen. It is also beautiful but again so way up from my budget for daily use porcelain.

                          I have a couple of Hutschenreuter X'mas pieces which are also gift from Lufthansa when we were on board. Their plates were (or still are?) all from Hutschenreuter. Good Old Time with airlines. I don't know if United Airlines still use Noritake on board....

                          1. re: hobbybaker

                            This pattern has a fascinating history. When I was torn between Hutschenreuter and Blue Danube, I did some research into the pattern. It's over forty years ago, but what I do recall is that this specific pattern was one of several that arrived in this country as balast in sailing boats! About the time the U.S. was colonized and struck out for independence, there was great trade with China via sailing ships. When the ships returned, they needed weight in their holds to make them sail-worthy, and blue and white porcelain was about as cheap as dirt in China, so that's what they used. It caught on in the U.S. (and Europe) and people like Ben Franklin, among many others, became enthusiastic collectors. One (of the several) reasons I went with Blue Danube is because, according to my research at the time, the white white of the BD porcelain is truer to the original "Chinese balast" than the cream/off-white of Meissen and Hutschenreuter.

                            When I bought it, I fully expected to be "sick to death" of it within five or six years, but to my great surprise, they joy of it grows with each passing year. The mugs really do make my morning coffee far more enjoyable! I know. I'm strange. I've known that for years! '-)

                            1. re: Caroline1

                              Ah, Chinese blue and white. Probably the most celebrated and oldest popular style survived today. I always have a very soft spot for this class of patterns. Simple and yet elagent. Beautiful, full of constrast, but never overwhelms the foods. In other words, the porcelain-ware is very attractive and dominates the scene when they are emply, but the pattern do not steal the show when the foods are on them.


                              1. re: Caroline1

                                A nice story! Thanks, caroline. I am sure whenever I see the pattern, it will remind me of you and your nice photos!

                                1. re: Caroline1

                                  I just inherited my mother's set of Blue Danube. I'm in my mid -fifties and don't ever remember NOT eating off these plates so I'd say the life expectancy of porcelain is pretty good. We also have a set of Mikasa porcelain that I'v had for at least 30 years.

                        2. First question...do you really want your dinnerware lasting 20 years? I mean I understand value...but certainly your taste will evolve over time and my guess is that you would like to add or change some of the Pillivuyt through the years. Having said that, they make a good product - there are otherswho are also very good - so, without any catistrophic event, it should last. My experience on the professional dinnerware side is that 'hard' porcelain prodcuts lsat longer than many of the owners would like. Yes, they show a few 'scars'...but generally, the owners/consumers taste and their menus change before the china wears out.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: tabletopjournal

                            I bought dinnerware (bone china) (crystal?) in 1973 and 1976 that I still use today and love. I've broken quite a few pieces of the crystal and it is far from complete. I've adored this and have never seen it sold anywhere since.

                            The bone china - I've only broken one cup. Even though it was discontinued, I was able to buy another.

                            I just ordered today 4 tart Pillivuyt pans.. Since I'm in my mid-late 70's, they will last 20 years in this household, I'm sure :-))

                            1. re: Rella

                              Pillvuyt makes a great product. Try working some brightly colored glass plates - available in lots of places these days - as underliners. They're great for brightening things up a bit....and, usually, they are on the less expensive side.

                              Or....the whiteness of Pillivuyt allows you to bring some of your beautiful fine china down from the shelf and use it to serve on or as accent pieces.