Bone China is made from a mixture of bone ash and highly refined clay and is typically fired at over 2200° F. It is pure white or cream and translucent. Bone china is the most durable of the ceramic types that are discussed here.
Porcelain is made from highly refined white clay and can be fired at over 2300° F. It is often translucent and non-porous. Porcelain tends to be thinner and lighter than stoneware with a more delicate appearance.
Stoneware is a hard, durable ceramic made of light colored clay typically fired at over 2200° F. It is opaque and porous. Stoneware dinnerware tends to be thicker and heavier than porcelain or china. It can be glazed in a wide variety of colors and finishes (matte, satin, and shiny) for diverse designs.
Earthenware is made from a mixture of clay and sand and is usually fired at temperatures near 2100° F. Earthenware is opaque and porous and tends to be less resistant to chipping than stoneware. Earthenware is an ideal medium for hand-painted and embossed designs. The lower firing temperatures allow for more intense color than would be possible with other types of ceramics. Ironstone is a heavier, stronger type of earthenware.