How much is bone china worth?

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Mearto Specialist:


Delia has nearly 30 years of experience at regional and international auction houses in the United States, and is also currently the editor of an art and antiques trade publication that tracks market trends, auctions and antiques shows. Delia is a generalist in glass, ceramics, silver and other metals, fine art, textiles, antiquities, wines and spirits, stamps and currency, collectibles and dolls and toys. Additionally, she is a specialist in 15th to 21st Century furniture from around the world. Her extensive professional network of appraisers, curators, dealers and collectors has proven to be an invaluable resource in her work for Mearto.

Have you recently inherited or purchased bone china and want to know its value? Mearto provides quick and affordable online appraisals of bone china. All you have to do is click on the “Start Appraisal” button above and follow the steps to send us information about and images of your bone china. One of our qualified and experienced specialists will review and get back to you with a fair market and insurance value, typically within 48 hours. Have questions about the valuation provided, or would you like some advice about selling your bone china? We are here to help! Our platform allows you to chat back and forth with a specialist to ensure that all of your questions are answered.

What is the history of bone china?

Bone China was invented in East London in 1794. It is recognized as the highest-grade porcelain in the world. Bone china is composed of bone ash, feldspathic material, and kaolin. In nature, calcium oxide does not come from many sources, so people choose animal bone powder as the source of calcium oxide. Bone china can be verified when 25% bone powder is added into raw material. However, Bone China with 45% to 51% bone powder content is the best texture, and bovine bone is the first choice. Bone china is the most solid porcelain with high mechanical, physical strength and shatter resistance, known for its high whiteness and transparency. Its tensile strength makes it thinner than other types of porcelain.

Bone China has long been the exclusive porcelain of the British royal family and nobility. Bone China is the only high-grade porcelain that is recognized in the world. It is equally useful and beautiful, so it is known as the king of porcelain and remains a symbol of wealth and status. Bone china is produced only in Britain, China, Japan, Germany, Russia, and Thailand because of its complicated technology, exquisite materials, and narrow firing range.

How can I determine the grade and value of my bone china?

Bone china is often warm milk white with a delicate texture. Generally speaking, porcelain containing 25% bone powder of herbivores (such as cattle and sheep) can be called bone china. However, according to international standards, good-quality bone china should contain more than 40% bone powder, while high-grade bone china will contain more than 45% bone powder.

Some additional factors to take into consideration include:

  • Weight: In general, porcelain is heavier, while bone china is much lighter.
  • Permeability: Due to the characteristics of the raw materials, bone china is usually made thinner and more permeable, which can be distinguished by observing the transmission of light through the china object.
  • Acoustics: When you gently strike two porcelain objects together, the sound of the collision is usually a "ding" single tone; while two objects of bone china make a clear "dang" sound, typically followed by a soft echo.
  • Price: The price of Bone China is much higher than that of ordinary porcelain due to strict requirements on raw materials and production technology. Therefore, cheap "bone china" may have a bone powder content of less than 25%, or may just be ordinary white porcelain.

What are some of the most famous makers of bone china?

  • Royal Doulton: Founded in England in 1815, Royal Doulton is currently the world's largest manufacturer and distributor of excellent ceramic dining and gift products. It was praised by Queen Victoria as "the most beautiful porcelain maker in the world." Royal Doulton Bone China has a special visual cleanliness. It adds 50% of the 3-year-old bull bone meal in the high-temperature firing process, so it is exquisite. The Laozhen rose series is Princess Diana's favorite and one of the best-selling bone china sets of all time. Moreover, the quality of Royal Doulton's bone china is guaranteed. According to the company, four bone china cups can carry the weight of a motorcycle.
  • Wedgwood: First incorporated in 1895 as Josiah Wedgwood and Sons Ltd, is a fine china, porcelain, and luxury accessories manufacturer that was founded on 1 May 1759 by the English potter and entrepreneur Josiah Wedgwood. Because it is royal porcelain, Wedgwood's works are mostly arc-shaped, round, and delicate, with gold or silver metal edges to outline the objects. The sides are painted with thick colors, or decorated with light and elegant small flowers or fruit patterns.
  • Royal Copenhagen: Officially the Royal Porcelain Factory, is a Danish manufacturer of porcelain products, founded in Copenhagen in 1775 under the protection of Danish Dowager Queen Juliane Marie. The products combine traditional Nordic handicraft with Oriental porcelain painting style. Due to the accurate painting of natural plants, elegant color, and superb techniques, the classic "Danish flowers" have also become a national treasure in Denmark.

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