Glossary of Terms for Tableware and Related Items from DeVine
To suggest an additional term, or change to a term below, please write: [email protected]


Accent Plate
Larger than a standard salad plate, generally 9" in diameter. Used for any suitable purpose such as sandwiches, salads, desserts, or hors d'oeuvres. Generally designed to be more decorative so that it creates contrast on the table with the rest of the placesetting/serving items. Generally sold as individual, open-stock units.

The name stamp or signature of a manufacturer, which usually appears on the underside of the ware. Can be stamped, decaled or incised into the piece.

In whiteware, the structural portion of the ceramic article, or the material or mixture from which it is made.

Bright Gold
Liquid gold paint that, when fired, appears bright and requires no polishing.

Buffet/Service Plate
Individual plate larger than a standard dinner plate (also known as "chop plate"). May be used when serving buffet-style for larger surface and volume, or as a decorative accent under the dinner plate. For proper etiquette, use on the table under the soup and appetizer course, then remove prior to placement of dinner plate.

Pertaining to products manufactured from inorganic, nonmetallic substances, which are subjected to a high temperature during manufacture or use.

Champagne Flute
A champagne flute is tall and thin to preserve the champagne bubbles. Hold the flute by its long stem, not the bowl, to keep the champagne cool.

A nonporous type of clayware made of special white clay and fired at exceptionally high temperatures.

  • Bone China - fine china dinnerware body with the addition of real or synthetic bone ash to add bright white coloring. While bone china is often considered more durable than fine china, modern manufacturing generally creates bodies of equal strength and durability in both bone and fine china.
  • Casual China - generally any dinnerware not made from a fine or bone china body. Often derived from earthenware or stoneware, casual china generally creates a less formal appearance to the table and is heavier with little to no translucency.
  • Fine China - a vitrified (see Vitreous) dinnerware body that has great translucency and strength - generally refers to dinnerware and giftware. Ivory fine china refers to the hue of the china, not the materials of which it is made.
  • 5 - piece Placesetting - includes dinner plate, salad/dessert plate, bread & butter plate, teacup, and saucer


Ivory china with alumina added (sometimes incorrectly referred to as stoneware). Patterns include Poppies on Blue™ and Blue Pinstripe™.

Raw material formed when rock breaks down either due to the weather or chemical processes.

Coupe Shape
A plate without a shoulder, flat across the diameter, and slightly rolled up at the rim.

A look reminiscent of antique china and porcelain in which the surface of the work is crisscrossed with tiny lines, a delicate tracery. This effect is achieved by applying a special glaze designed to "crackle" as it cools.

Crystal Stemware
Footed shapes similar to glass with higher lead content to increase brilliance. Characterized by increased clarity (ability to see through the piece) and a bell-like ring when tapped lightly on the edge. Generally includes the following standard shapes in a suite - wine glass, water goblet, champagne flute, and iced beverage glass.

  • Full-lead Crystal - glass with a lead content of 24% or higher.
  • Heavy Cut Crystal - crystal whose design is characterized by deep cuts or impressions.
  • Light Blown Crystal - crystal whose design is blown into a body that is essentially uniform with no cuts, etching or indentation.

A design-bearing sheet applied to ware for transfer of decoration; firing makes decal permanent.

Items designed to withstand regular cleaning in an electric dishwasher under recommended guidelines (see our Use & Care section)

Double Old Fashion/Double-on-the-Rocks
Barware pieces usually hold from 6 to 12 ounces and are most often used for straight pours or mixed cocktails.

Thick, opaque, porous-bodied dinnerware made from clays that cannot sustain as high a temperature as fine china. Earthenware is generally heavier, and its porous body cannot withstand temperature extremes such as going directly from the freezer to the oven. May be dishwasher-safe if fully glazed.

A decoration in relief or excised on the ware surface.

Decorating glazed pottery with metallic oxides ground to a fine powder and fired at low temperatures.

Cutting diamond-shaped or other patterns into product's surface.

An ornamental part of a sculpture, such as the handle on a lid or the screw atop a lampshade.

Heat-treatment in a kiln for the purpose of developing bond and other necessary physical and chemical properties.

Although commonly refers to table utensils such as knives, forks, and spoons, the term originally was used to describe any flat or near-flat piece of dinnerware, such as a plate or platter.

The base of a piece of ware, the area upon which it rests.

Also known as a satin finish, this refers to a textured, matte surface applied to crystal, glass or flatware to create contrast to the brightness of the overall body. This technique may be used to create specific design motifs or to encompass the entire body of the product.

Covered with a thin layer of precious metal, such as gold, silver or platinum.


  • Blown Glass - glass forced into shape by air pressure, either by hand our automatically, and with or without the use of a mold.
  • Carved Glass - sand-blasted areas of glass that take on a soft gray hue (see gray cutting)
  • Cased Glass - glassware whose surface layer has a different composition from that of the main body.
  • Cut Glass - surface decoration on glass, formed by cuttings created with an abrasive wheel.
  • Iridescent Glass - glassware with a special coating which, when struck by light, reflects the colors of the rainbow.
  • Milk Glass - white opaque glass, most common in reproduction of early decorative pieces.
  • Pattern Glass - pressed glassware originally produced in America from 1890 to 1940.
  • Potash Glass - glass containing potassium carbonate, when a certain thickness is desired for cutting.
  • Pressed Glass - glassware formed in a mold, the actual pressing being done either mechanically or by hand. Both shape and design may be molded simultaneously in this method.
  • Stained Glass - glass sprayed with a colored stain which is fused to the surface via firing.


A ceramic coating matured to the glassy state on a formed ceramic article.

A goblet is slightly larger than a wine glass. When serving wine, be sure not to overfill the glass. The air above the wine's surface is where the bouquet, or aroma, will accumulate and concentrate.

Gray Cutting
Glass decoration applied by abrasive wheel that leaves it gray and opaque.

A mark indicating quality or excellence; in jewelry, a mark used to stamp gold and silver articles that meet established standards.

Hammered Finish
Refers to an uneven finish, typically on a metal such as silver.

Highball Glass
Typically holds 12 ounces and is used for all standard mixers, such as gin & tonic

Any clayware, glass or metal pieces such as cups, pitchers, bowls - generally serving items - as opposed to flatware.

Iced Beverage
An iced beverage glass is designed to hold just that - your favorite beverage on ice. These glasses are generally larger in size, to accommodate both ice cubes and the beverage.

The application of porcelain enamel, usually of a contrasting color, to the edge or rim of a china piece (also known as beading)

Oven used to fire or bake ceramics.

Limited Edition
A collectible whose production is limited by number or by a crafting deadline.

Fine porcelain dinnerware produced in the province of Limoges, France. Only dinnerware produced in this region can be termed Limoges porcelain.

An iridescent decorative surface appearance.

Matte Finish
Flat glaze finish without gloss.

The property of reflecting light diffusely and nonselectively.

Open Stock
The ability to purchase items as individual units rather than in a placesetting - for instance, one teacup vs. a teacup and saucer or 4-piece placesetting. Many items sold in "placesettings" are also sold open stock.

Design applied after firing and glazing resulting in more vivid colors than those beneath the glaze.

A soft luster on silver, caused by tiny scratches that come with frequent use.

Any formal configuration of merchandise sold as a package to serve one person - generally refers to dinnerware or flatware.

5-piece Placesetting - in dinnerware, generally refers to dinner plate, salad plate, bread & butter plate, teacup, and saucer. In flatware, generally refers to dinner fork, salad fork, dinner knife, soup spoon, and teaspoon. A five-piece placesetting is an individual service for one person.

Polished Cutting
Design technique cutting glass with an abrasive wheel, then polishing with acid or a buffing wheel.

A hard, translucent (see Translucency) clayware body that differs slightly from china in ingredients and manufacturing processes. The generally accepted definition of porcelain is that of a white, vitrified, translucent ceramic, fired to a temperature of at least 1280 centigrades. The body of most porcelain is made from a mixture of white clay (kaolin) and porcelain stone (dunzi, a feldspathic rock); the latter being ground to powder and mixed with the clay. The body and glaze are usually fired together in a reducing atmosphere at a temperature between 1200 and 1300 centigrades in a single firing, forming an integrated body/glaze layer.

The projection of figures or forms from a flat background (seebas relief)

An artist's mark, generally on hand-painted items, featuring a specially created icon and the artist's initials (note: pronounced like "remark")

Sand Blasting or Sand Etching
Forcing sand or grit through high pressure to etch a pattern, usually onto crystal or glass.

Satin Finish
On silver, a subtle surface luster produced by a revolving wire wheel.

Also known as a frosted finish, this refers to a textured, matte surface applied to crystal, glass or flatware to create contrast to the brightness of the overall body. This technique may be used to create specific design motifs or to encompass the entire body of the product.

Items used for serving food at the table vs. placesetting pieces from which individuals eat. Also known as Serving Accessories. Most common pieces include vegetable bowls, platters, gravy boats, sugar and creamer sets, and coffeepots or teapots. Additional items can include salt & pepper shakers, two-tiered servers, cake plates, butter dishes, divided servers, and trays.

Sham Bottom
On a tumbler, a heavy solid base designed to add weight and highlight glass clarity or color.

Raised rim of a plate.

An abundant mineral, and a main component of dinnerware and glazes.

A base metal of nickel, silver or brass coated with a layer of silver by electroplating; has a tendency to tarnish with regular use in an electric dishwasher.

Clay and water mixture used to produce china or porcelain body and decoration.

Stainless Steel
Silver flatware that contains a mixture of chromium and nickel to silver.

18/10 Stainless - stainless flatware that includes at least 18% chromium and 10% nickel for exceptional durability, shine, and stain resistance; generally considered the "best" quality stainless, easy to care for and dishwasher-safe.
Fine silver composed of at least 925 parts real silver to 75 parts copper (for strength and durability). All silver must be marked .925 to be sold as sterling. Attributes include beautiful shine and classic design. Is dishwasher-safe if not mixed with other metals.

A hard ware made of a single light clay and fired at a high temperature. It is non-porous, microwavable, dishwasher-safe, and very durable but does not have the translucency of china. Also referred to as earthenware.

A placesetting of crystal; generally includes a wine glass, water goblet, champagne flute, and iced beverage.

All utensils and decorative articles used on the table for meal service.

The quality by which light passes through an object. In quality fine china, your hand will be visible through the back of the plate when held up to a bright light. Translucency is a sign of vitrification (seeVitreous) and, consequently, signifies a high-quality piece of china with strength and durability.

Drinkware without a stem or foot.

Decoration applied directly to the bisque and then covered with a protective glaze coating making it resistant to wear.

A green crust or patina of copper sulfate or copper chloride formed on copper, brass, and bronze because of exposure to air or sea water over a long period.

Silver that has been gilded.

Literally, like glass, meaning the ceramic body is nonporous (won't absorb water). All fine china is vitrified because its ingredients include silica, which literally turns to glass when fired at high temperatures, giving it strength. Most stoneware, Chinastone®, porcelain, and bone china is vitrified. Vitrified products are usually dishwasher- and microwave-safe, though it also depends on the decoration. Vitrified china is also much more chip-resistant and stronger.

Ware having a white or ivory body when fired, prior to being decorated.

Wine Glass
Some people prefer wine glasses for each varietal; others use separate patterns for red and white wine. Wine Glasses are more appropriate for white wine, and our balloon wine glasses or large wine/water goblets are more appropriate for red.