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French Porcelain Dinnerware

A Buyer’s Guide

Looking for French Porcelain dinnerware for yourself or someone you love?
We've put together this buyer’s guide to French Porcelain Dinnerware which quickly walks you through why French Porcelain Dinnerware is an excellent choice, and what brands you should review when researching your purchase. At the bottom of this page, we've even included a very brief history of French porcelain (for a bit of conversation at the table).

Why Choose French Porcelain Dinnerware?

French Porcelain dinnerware is made from kaolin (a refined white clay), which is nonporous and usually translucent. The porcelain is fired at more than 2300 degrees Fahrenheit, and then coated with a clear glaze that helps bring attention to its brilliant white color and makes the porcelain resistant to scratching and chipping. With its delicate appearance, lighter weight and thinner dimension, French Porcelain Dinnerware is most commonly associated with highly decorated patterns for special occasions. Actually, though, it is quite strong, and patterns without metallic trim are ideal for everyday use.

French Porcelain Dinnerware

When I Buy French Porcelain Dinnerware, What Brands Should I Be Considering?

While there are many brands that produce Porcelain Dinnerware in France, here are the brands we suggest deserve your attention due to their enduring, beautiful designs, and superb craftsmanship.

Bernardaud

Bernardaud

Bernardaud is a premier Limoges china manufacturer. French porcelain was discovered in 1768 by a woman near Limoges who used the soft, white clay she found to bleach her household linens. Experts would identify this substance as kaolin, the crucial ingredient that is responsible for the superior qualities of fine porcelain. The search for this ingredient had lasted four centuries since Marco Polo’s discovery of Chinese porcelain, and its discovery in France marked the birth of industrial and cultural significance of Limoges china.

In Limoges in 1863, two individuals opened a factory as a result of the increase in consumer use of porcelain dinnerware. An apprentice, Leonard Bernardaud, stood out among the other workers. Twenty years later, he would be promoted to head of sales and later named partner.

Léonard Bernardaud acquired the company in 1900 and renamed it. He increased production capacity and opened up new markets, notably the United States. Leonard was succeeded by his sons who kept the company viable during the Great Depression and World War II by collaborating with artists to expand the range of collections. In 1949, they introduced the first kiln in France that operated 24 hours a day which ensured constant firing temperatures that yielded sturdier pieces in greater quantity with fewer defects. As a result, industrial scale production was achieved without compromise to the high standards of craftsmanship for which Bernardaud china is known.

Bernardaud dinnerware is renowned for its distinctive designs produced for both consumer and hospitality markets. In addition, the company is unique in their ability to create other porcelain products – artists limited edition collections, jewelry, lighting and furniture.

Bernardaud French Porcelain Dinnerware:

J. Seignolles

J. Seignolles

J. Seignolles was acquired from La Fabrique in 1962 by Henri Seignolles and partners. La Fabrique was one of the first porcelain factories on the edge of the Brigueuil Forest, founded in 1825 by Francoise Baignol, a true innovator. He was the first to pioneer gas firing techniques in Limoges, which created a revolution in the making of porcelain.

When the company was acquired and renamed J. Seignolles, significant investments were made to totally overhaul the factory. The addition of a new high firing tunnel kiln in 1976 caused the factory to be relocated to a new site in Limoges where it remains today. J. Seignolles became the first Limoges factory to execute long-lasting decorations unaltered by time and guaranteed to be dishwasher-safe.

J. Seignolles continues to uphold artisanal skills by producing porcelain manufactured and decorated exclusively in Limoges. The company offers a range of patterns made of extra white fine china paste, and they strive to combine time-honored elaborate inlay ornamentation with a more contemporary collection.

In 2008, the factory was awarded the "Enterprise du Patrimoine Vivant" (Living Heritage Company) by the French State. This label recognizes its excellence in Limoges production, and honors the skilled artisans that have crafted its products over the centuries by hand painting, inlaying, sanding, burnishing and designing fine china. J. Seignolles has an outstanding reputation and can be found in fine restaurants and famous dining tables around the world.

Products are warehoused in France and typically take 8-10 weeks to deliver.

J. Seignolles French Porcelain Dinnerware:

Philippe Deshoulieres

Philippe Deshoulieres

Philippe Deshoulieres, founded in 1826, is a leading Limoges porcelain manufacturer, recognized throughout the world. Their painters and decorators have knowledge handed down through generations, inspired by both classic and contemporary trends in interior design and fashion.

The Deshoulieres group employs 300 people in 3 modern factories, which combine the use of raw materials with high tech methods. Fired at very high temperatures, the Limoges porcelain ensures high resistance to thermal and mechanical shocks, and is very hygienic as it is non-porous, so it neither chips nor cracks.

Philippe Deshoulieres is constantly challenging itself towards more sustainable development, and to use less resources while offering uncompromised quality. Their porcelain is produced from minerals free from chemical additives, and fired in kilns specially created to reduce gas consumption. The Group takes part in the VEE association, Watch Environment Enterprise, which makes monthly internal checks and reports on methods to improve environmental protection.

Take a look at their highly decorated patterns, which are beautiful when mixed with white dinnerware or with patterns decorated with a simple metallic border. The possibilities are endless to create a lovely, unique table service.

Philippe Deshoulieres French Porcelain Dinnerware:

Royal Limoges

Royal Limoges

Royal Limoges is the oldest existing porcelain factory in Limoges today, established in 1797. A two century old tradition together with the most advanced technology enables them to remain one of the few family owned companies remaining in the region. Since the beginning, the most well known individuals in the manufacture of Limoges porcelain have taken part in their history: Alluaud, Clement, Dufraissex, Abbot and Lanternier.

Royal Limoges has been based at Faubourg des Casseaux (today named rue Donzelot) since 1816, close to the Vienne river which was used to transport wood for its kilns. The raw materials came from their kaolin quarries and the clay prepared in their own mills.

Today, Royal Limoges continues making its own clay with patterns exclusively designed by style specialists or their customer's designers. For many years they have had a highly sophisticated plant located at Le Dorat, which adds to the technique and skills of their traditional work.

With an ongoing concern for quality, creativity and productivity, Royal Limoges markets a prestigious collection of porcelain made and decorated in Limoges. Their products are sold throughout the world in both hospitality and private dining venues.

Royal Limoges French Porcelain Dinnerware:

A Brief History of French Porcelain

Limoges is the premier manufacturing region of hard-paste porcelain in France. Although the region was renowned as the European center of vitreous enamel production since the 12th century, in the late 18th century it became the center for porcelain manufacturing due to the discovery of local supplies of kaolin, the principal clay component. Prior to that discovery, porcelain was imported from China and the French initially produced Chinese and Japanese inspired designs. The first factory was placed under the patronage of Louis XVI’s brother, and then was eventually purchased by the King. After the French Revolution, privately owned factories were established, many of which remain today.

Questions? Comments? Please Contact Us

Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments you may have about French Porcelain Dinnerware or this guide. We will be happy to assist you.

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