Everybody likes to make a good impression when having a get-together or throwing a dinner party, whether it is elegant and refined or casual and impromptu. Even if you are just planning an informal lunch with family or friends, you will need to have the right dinnerware to complement the occasion. It’s a natural inclination to want to provide the best possible experience for your guests, so why not go the extra mile with a great dinnerware set?
However, this doesn’t mean that nice dinnerware sets are only for party hosts! Even if you just want to enjoy quiet meals at home by yourself or with a loved one, you should have the right dishes to make each and every occasion special. Fortunately, stoneware dinnerware makes for an excellent choice, regardless of the head count. Not only does it have the style to make an impact at any kind of event, but it also has the durability to last for years to come.
So, what exactly is stoneware dinnerware? What is typically included in a stoneware dinnerware set? Finally, is it safe to put your stoneware items in the microwave or dishwasher? In today’s stoneware dinnerware guide, we will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s look at exactly how stoneware is composed and differentiated from other common dinnerware materials.
What Is Stoneware?
Stoneware is a type of dinnerware material that is frequently confused with other materials like porcelain or bone china. While there are significant differences, they may not be readily apparent to the untrained eye. For this reason, it is important to understand exactly how stoneware is composed and how it differs from other materials.
Though stoneware refers to a type of non-porous ceramic dinnerware made from clay fired within a specific temperature range, the term is often attributed to a broad range of materials. This is the main reason that stoneware is frequently mistaken for other types of ceramic. At first glance, stoneware dishes might look like they are made of earthenware or even porcelain. However, when you actually touch stoneware, you can often tell the difference.
To understand stoneware better, it is important to know that there are three primary types of ceramic: earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain. Earthenware clay is fired at lower temperatures, resulting in fragile and relatively porous vessels. Consequently, earthenware clay is not capable of holding liquids on its own, which means that earthenware dishware must be treated with a waterproof glaze to be a viable option for holding food or beverages.
Alternatively, porcelain is clay fired at much higher temperatures, resulting in a shiny, translucent, yet hardened material. Porcelain is very common in kitchens, as it is both strong and attractive to the eye. However, porcelain tends to be the most expensive of all three types of ceramics.
Finally, stoneware rests somewhere in the middle, as it comes from clay that has been fired at medium-to-high temperatures. This means that the resulting dishes are far more durable than earthenware, but not as shiny as porcelain. Instead, they look much like traditional stone (hence the name). Due to its durability and rustic look, there are many stoneware uses, from restaurant plating to dishes used for traditional home cooking and baking.
How Is Stoneware Made?
Stoneware is made of either naturally occurring stoneware clay or non-refractory fire clay. Typically, minerals like kaolinite, mica, and quartz are naturally present in stoneware. If created using stoneware clay (as is most often the case), the material features various impurities, including iron and carbon. This is often what helps give stoneware its “stone-like” look.
Once stoneware clay (or fire clay) has been molded into the desired shape, it is fired in a kiln. The temperature is especially important, as this will help determine the appearance and durability of the final product. Stoneware dishware must be fired at temperatures no lower than 2012°F (1100°C) and no higher than 2372°F (1300°C). The standard firing temperature for stoneware is 2192°F (1200°C).
Like other types of ceramics, stoneware can be fired more than once. A second firing is often used when glazing. However, unlike earthenware, stoneware material does not need to be glazed in order to be waterproof. Therefore, many stoneware dishes are only fired once.
What Comes In A Stoneware Dinnerware Set?
Naturally, the exact items you can expect in a stoneware dinner set will depend on the provider and the size of your order. That said, there are some standard stoneware dish set sizes and components. Typically, a stoneware set comes in sets of 8 dinner plates, with accompanying cups and bowls. If you get a stoneware dinnerware set with Stone Lain, you can get a wide variety of sets and products to serve either 4 or 8 guests.
For example, the Stone Lain Celina Stoneware Dinnerware Set comes with round 10.25” dinner plates, 7.5” salad plates featuring a lipped edge, 5.5” Asian-style bowls, as well as 12 oz cups with earthy, organic color tones. Alternatively, the Stone Lain Grace Stoneware Dinner Set comes with square 9.5" dinner plates, smaller 7" appetizer plates, as well as soup bowls. These are just two of the stoneware dish sets available at Stone Lain, but you can mix and match between various sets to get the stoneware dinner set of your dreams!
Is Stoneware Microwave Safe?
Can you microwave stoneware dishes? Fortunately, the answer is yes! Stoneware dishes and products are microwave safe. This means that you can enjoy your beautiful stoneware dishware sets with your microwavable meals.
This is true regardless of where you purchase your stoneware. Any type of stoneware dish can go in the microwave (as long as it does not have any metal decorations). Moreover, stoneware is relatively resistant to heat. So, when you go to handle stoneware plates, bowls, or cups after they have been microwaved, you are far less likely to burn your hands! That said, if you put any kind of ceramic (including stoneware) in the microwave, you should use oven mitts or some kind of protection to prevent yourself from getting burned.
Is Stoneware Dishwasher Safe?
Can you put stoneware in the dishwasher? Again, the answer is yes! Dishes made of stoneware clay are 100% dishwasher safe. This means that, even if you’re having an elegant dinner party with lots of stoneware dinnerware, you can count on an easy cleanup at the end of the night!
Additionally, it’s important to note that stoneware is both refrigerator and freezer safe, too. Weaker materials could crack or absorb excess moisture if left in low temperatures. Fortunately, stoneware is extremely durable and capable of handling a variety of environments and temperatures.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, stoneware dinnerware offers so much more than your average plates and bowls. Stoneware is a strong, durable, and beautiful material that can brighten up any kitchen or dining area. It strikes the perfect balance between rustic minimalism and refined elegance.
However, stoneware is not just about looks. You can use it for a wide range of dining needs, with the ability to use it in your oven, microwave, fridge, or freezer. In short, stoneware is one of the most versatile and useful dinnerware materials on the market!
Are you interested in acquiring a beautiful stoneware dinnerware set? If so, be sure to check out our offerings at Stone Lain today!