WHAT IS FINE BONE CHINA?
Fine bone china was originally a soft-paste porcelain containing a percentage of animal bone calcium. Our business no longer uses animal bone to form our fine bone china, we now use natural crystalline minerals originating from the earth to create our products. To qualify as fine bone china, as defined by British Standard, the clay must contain a minimum of 35% by weight of Tri-Calcium Orthophosphate. The addition of this calcium gives the material a translucent quality when held up to the light, which you can test with all The Caverswall China Company fine bone china pieces. Ensuring we never compromise on quality, our secret formula of fine bone china has one of the highest calcium percentages of any manufacturer, so that we can produce the best products possible.
Despite its delicate, transparent nature, fine bone china is also the strongest of the porcelain or china ceramics, rarely chipping or breaking. It is for this reason that fine bone china remains the most desired and luxurious type of porcelain, often being regarded as the ‘jewel of ceramic materials’.
The first examples of fine bone china were created in London in 1748 but the first commercially successful bone china was crafted by potters in Stoke-on-Trent in the 1790s, the same town where The Caverswall English China Company and its sister brand, the fellow royal warrant holder Halcyon Days, have their factories and are manufacturing today. Due to this knowledge and heritage, English fine bone china remains the most sought after china in the world. Discover more about our china below.
Each piece of our English fine bone china has been crafted, from clay to finished product, by hand in our Stoke-on-Trent factory. A small team of master craftsmen, potters and artisans use skills passed down for generations to craft ranges of fine bone china dinnerware and teaware that are entirely handmade.
From glazing the fine bone china teacups to gilding their matching saucers, each element is made with an attention to detail that no other fine bone china can boast. The level of skill and knowledge required to create the exquisite finished product is a wonder to see.
Our acclaimed artisans employ consummately mastered crafting techniques to create all of our fine bone china pieces. The very same techniques employed for centuries before them and, as long as we’ve got anything to do with it, the same ones that will continue to be used by generations and generations to come. We’ve broken down their meticulous methods into nine steps:
Stage 1: Casting
Liquid clay (slip) is poured into plaster moulds. The moulds are a negative of the product shape formed in clay and are used to cast hollow ware such as teacups, teapots and mugs.
Stage 2: Clay pieces
The clay is cut into pieces to make plates, platters and saucers.
Stage 3: Fettling
Once removed from the mould, the seams/rough edges are sponged or fettled off with a knife.
Stage 4: Biscuit Kiln Firing
The clay is fired at 1230 degrees. After this, the ware is known as biscuit due to its dry, textured surface.
Stage 5: Glazing
A liquid glaze is applied to the white ware. Flatware is sprayed for an immaculate finish and holloware is dipped into the liquid glaze before the second firing at 1130 degrees.
Stage 6: Decorating
Following the second firing, the finished and now glossy white ware is now ready for decoration. A lithograph is hand applied to the white ware before another firing process.
Stage 7: Decorated Firing
The white ware is fired again at 825 degrees.
Stage 8: Gilding
With a fine brush, each piece is hand gilded with gold, platinum or a coloured paint. After this, the product has its final firing at 775 degrees. Each fine bone china piece has four firings.
Stage 9: Quality Control
Once polished, the piece enters quality inspection before being securely, stylishly packaged.