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Glossary

This dinnerware and glassware glossary is provided largely by our friends at Tableware Today. To view their complete glossary, please visit their website.

 

  • Acid Polishing: Process where gray cuttings produced by abrasive wheel are smoothed and polished by acid immersion.
  • Backstamp: Name, stamp, or signature of the manufacturer on the underside of the ware.
  • Beading: Also called jewelling, features an enameled raised dot design.
  • Bisque or Biscuit: Clayware fired once for hardening, but not yet glazed. (See Noritake biscuitware in action in our video, The Standard of Perfection.)
  • Blown Glass: Technique of shaping glass by air pressure, with or without a mold.
  • Bone China: Contains up to 50% animal ash, mostly ox bone, which is burned and ground to a fine powder.
  • Bowl: The cup of the stemmed glass.
  • Casting: A process in which the slip is poured into a mold and set.
  • Ceramics: Generic term referring to all ware made of earth materials and processed by firing or baking.
  • China: Another generic term, usually referring to fine porcelain. Called china because it is the country credited with creating dinnerware.
  • Clay: Raw material formed when rock breaks down either due to the weather or chemical processes.
  • Coupe Shape: Plate lacking a shoulder, flat across the diameter, deliberately induced by sudden cooling.
  • Crackledware (Also known as a Reactive Glaze): Clayware surface marked by tiny cracks deliberately induced by sudden cooling.
  • Crystal: Abused term referring to clear, colorless glass.
  • Decal: A design-bearing sheet applied to ware, resulting in transfer decoration. Firing makes the decal permanent.
  • Embossing: Raised or molded decoration produced in the mold or formed separately and applied before firing.
  • Engraving: Decorative technique of cutting the surface with wheels or sharp pointed tools by hand.
  • Etching: Decorating eaten into the ware by acid.
  • Faceting: Decorative technique of cutting diamond-shaped or other patterns into surface.
  • Firing: Baking process where all ceramics are subject to hardening, strengthening, or fusing.
  • Foot: Base of the stem.
  • Full Lead: Glass with high lead content: 24 or 30%, usually.
  • Gilding: Using gold or platinum to decorate dinnerware.
  • Glaze: Glossy transparent or colored coating baked onto clayware to make it nonabsorbent and resistant to wear.
  • Jiggering: Jiggering machines are used to shape plates. (Jiggering can be seen in our video, The Standard of Perfection.)
  • Kiln: Oven in which ceramics are fired or baked.
  • Luster: Ceramic glaze coating, metallic in nature, which gives the finished piece an iridescent effect.
  • Matte Finish: Flat glaze finish without gloss.
  • Motif: Dominant feature in a design.
  • Open Stock: Purchase of individual pieces rather than place settings.
  • Porcelain: Hard, translucent clayware unusually consisting of 50% kaolin, 25% quartz, and 25% feldspar fired at high temperatures. Kaolin provides plasticity, durability, and consistency and influences the whiteness of the body; quartz provides stability; and feldspar provides vitrification.
  • Shoulder: Raised rim of a plate.
  • Silica: One of our most abundant materials and a vital ingredient in dinnerware. Basic component of glazes.
  • Slip: Mixture of clay and water used to produce the body and decoration.
  • Slip Coating: Layer of slip applied to a body for decorative effect.
  • Stoneware: Dense clay fired at 2400 degrees. Stoneware is generally glazes in subdued earthy tones giving a hand-crafted look. Porous and chip-resistant.
  • Tumbler: Any drinkware without a stem and foot.
  • Vitrification: During firing, silica is changed into glass and bonds all ingredients together. The proportion of a glossy bond increases and its porosity lowers. China is fully vitrified.