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  • Writer's pictureAlex

Ever wondered? Fine Bone vs. New Bone China

Updated: 4 days ago

Whilst searching for nice mugs to put in the shop, I came across a term I'd never seen before: "New Bone-China" -- not indicating the newness of the bone china(!)

I found out that New Bone-China differs from Fine Bone somewhat: similar raw materials but different composition, manufacturing and physical properties. Here's a summary:

A fine-china mug. Image credit: Alexander Sungold

What is Fine Bone China?

FBC is made from bone ash, feldspar, kaolin, and quartz, which are fired together at high temperatures. It is made by calcining animal bones until they are reduced to a fine powder which is then mixed with the other ingredients.

FBC has been produced in England since the 18th century. It is known for its delicate appearance, ability to retain heat, and resistance to scratching.

What is New Bone China?

NBC was developed in the mid-20th century and is a mixture of bone ash, feldspar, kaolin, and other additives, such as calcium and alumina. Unlike FBC, which contains at least 30 percent bone ash, NBC contains a smaller percentage, typically around 20 percent.

NBC is usually easier and less expensive to produce in large quantities, which makes it a popular choice for affordable, mass-produced tableware.

It's a common misconception that NBC contains jade. The confusion may stem from some manufacturers' use of "jade" to describe the greenish-blue sheen of some items. However, the colour is achieved through the addition of pigments.

A collection of bone china cups, milk jug
It's all crockery to me, Jim.

Quick Comparisons

Appearance & Lustre: FBC and NBC are typically white and translucent. FBC is considered to be the more delicate of the two. Both can have a lustrous finish depending on the manufacturing process and glazes that are applied. FBC may appear more textured and matte.

Durability: Both are strong, but NBC is typically less likely to break when impacted, making it a more practical choice for everyday use.

Price: Fine bone-china is more expensive due to its history, perceived status, higher percentage of bone ash and "classic" appearance. However, prices can vary wildly depending on brand, design, and quality.

Uses: FBC is used for formal occasions, NBC is more commonly used for everyday dining. Both are used in the production of figurines and ornaments.

So there y'go.


Hi, I'm Alex. I tend to write short 'how-it's-made' type articles. I'm one of Granny's kids and I run Sungold's Emporium (you can find many of Granny's artworks there!)


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