What’s The Difference Between Ceramic Pottery And Porcelain?

How Are Porcelain And Ceramic Pottery Different?

Ceramic pottery is made of natural clay, water, and organic components, whereas porcelain is comprised of clay, kaolin, silica, quartz, feldspar, and other materials. The components are the distinction between ceramic pottery and porcelain. Ceramic pottery and porcelain distinctions can be grouped into categories: Translucency, Density, Smoothness, Porosity, Texture, and Durability.

Ceramic pottery is a type of artwork constructed from ceramic materials such as clay. It can take the form of tableware, dinnerware, tiles, figurines, or sculptures. Ceramic pottery is a type of sculpting or clay art, and one of the visual arts.

Many folks, including myself, make the error of classifying ceramics, porcelain, china, and stoneware as “ceramics” or “porcelain,” as if they are interchangeable. But as I have just mentioned, there are differences. Also it’s important to make note of both porcelain ceramic cannot be melted down in recycling waste facilities.

Differences Between Pottery And Porcelain Explained

1. Translucency

Ceramic pottery and earthenware clay are not translucent, whereas porcelain is. Porcelain is transparent and allows light to penetrate through it. Porcelain materials are used by some potters to create transparent dinnerware, tableware, and sculptures. Kaolin is a type of primary clay that is well known for its transparent properties. Porcelain is translucent due to the presence of the Kaolin component. Porcelain’s kaolin enables a certain amount of light to travel through it. This opacity lends itself to taking on natural-looking charismatics and great artistic appeal.

2. Density

Porcelain is known to be denser than pottery clay. Porcelain has a more densely packed composition than typical pottery earthenware clay. Porcelain is tighter and more compact than traditional pottery clay due to the kaolin component. Kaolin can account for up to 70% of the weight of some porcelain. The higher the concentration of kaolin in the clay, the denser it is.

3. Smoothness

Porcelain is slicker than ceramic pottery. Porcelain’s compacted composition of kaolin and bone ash not only makes it denser but also makes it smoother. Chinaware is constructed of porcelain and is considered being the smoothest ceramic. Even without a glaze, the outside surface of porcelain pieces possesses the finest finishing.

4. Porosity

Porousness is greater in ceramic pottery than in porcelain. If you’ve ever worked with clay pottery, you’ve probably noticed how well it absorbs water. Because pottery absorbs more water than porcelain, it requires additional drying and firing time. Did you know porcelain, unlike ceramic, does not absorb water because of its compressed composition? Porcelain has a water absorption rate of 0.5 percent or less, which is lower than ceramic pottery.

5. Texture

Porcelain is smoother and finer than ceramic pottery. When compared to ceramic pottery clay or earthenware clays, porcelain contains fine granules that allow it to absorb less water. Because pottery clay has a rough texture, they suggest it be sieved before use. Porcelain does not need to be sieved or filtered because it already has a fine texture. Porcelain contains fewer impurities than ceramic pottery clay.

6. Durability

Porcelain is harder than traditional pottery clay, making it more durable than earthenware. The density and porosity of the substance make porcelain more durable than clay pottery. The truth is that ceramic allows more water to filter into it, which reduces its durability in the long run. As previously said, porcelain has a water absorption rate of 0.5 percent or less, which is low compared to clay pottery. Furthermore, ceramic pottery has more impurities than porcelain and very little kaolin. When compared to ceramic pots, this immediately makes porcelain a more durable material.

What distinguishes Terracotta from Clay? Terracotta is a molded and baked clay, whereas clay is a raw material. Terracotta objects are frequently made of any type of biological clay, but earthenware clay has the hue that has been synonymous with the name. The porous and permeable surface of terracotta objects is produced by low-temperature burning.

What is Raku Firing Technique? – Raku firing is a type of low-temperature firing. Volatile parts of compounds and molecules in the clay/glaze break away during a Raku firing, and the free oxygen clings to the remaining material. Oxides are formed as a result of this. This is referred to as oxidation. The oxidation modifies the glaze’s color as well as the texture of your clay. The changes might be rather profound at times.

How To Determine Whether An Item Is Porcelain Or Ceramic Pottery

Ceramic pottery and porcelain can be mistaken for one another due to their similar appearances. While translucence helps distinguish porcelain from ceramic pottery in some cases, it might be difficult to discern whether an item is a porcelain or ceramic pottery in others. A few very easy tests can be performed to establish what it’s made of. I start off with the first way, although not very effective but simple.

1. Cost

This is not a suitable method for distinguishing porcelain, but I still list it here because it is worth consideration. Most porcelain products are approximately 60% more expensive than ceramic pottery items. If what you have in question is expensive, then it’s most likely porcelain.

2. Weight

Examining the weight of an item is another approach to determine whether it is pottery or porcelain. The weight and feel of a piece might show whether it is ceramic pottery or porcelain. Porcelain objects are lightweight and have a smooth appearance because of the extremely few imperfections in porcelain. Clay is used to making ceramic ceramics. Clay contains impurities such as sand, debris, and minerals, which cause the finished product to be slightly less smooth and heavier. If you run your fingertips over the item’s surface and it feels sleek and smooth, you’re dealing with porcelain. You’re undoubtedly dealing with a ceramic pottery item if it seems a little rough or less smooth.

3. Glaze Examination

Another technique to tell if an item is a porcelain or ceramic is to look at the color behind the glaze. Porcelain items are mainly natural white or tan, and this color is usually consistent across the entire item, including the exterior surface, interior body, and bottom. Meanwhile, ceramic products come in a variety of hues like grey. And the exterior surface of ceramic is not necessarily the same color as the rest of it because of the glazing process.

4. Sound

A common method of recognizing porcelain artifacts, particularly chinaware, is to tap the item with your nails or use your metal ring. Porcelain has a melodious sound to it, and it rings out when tapped. Ceramic pottery, as opposed to porcelain, has a dull thud sound.

Summary Of Differences

Ceramic pottery items have thicker sides, sturdiness, and the ability to retain heat longer. Porcelain dishes are is smooth and translucent. Although they are expensive, porcelain kitchenware cannot retain as much heat as ceramic pottery.

Ceramic Firing Techniques – Firing is a technique for creating ceramics that can withstand a lot of pressure. The firing takes place in a room with plenty of oxygen. There are two main ways for firing ceramics. The two ways are kilns and open firing. Firing is a critical stage in the ceramic process. It’s when clay changes from clay to functional pottery.

Did you know hanging ceramic plates on the wall is back in fashion again? Read my article called Tips On How To Hang Tour Plates. Build a plate wall the easy way.

Ceramic pottery is made of natural clay, water, and organic components. Porcelain is comprised of clay, kaolin, silica, quartz, feldspar, and other materials. These components are the distinction between ceramic pottery and porcelain.


Barber, E. A. (1901). The Pottery and Porcelain of the United States: An Historical Review of American Ceramic Art from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. GP Putnam’s sons. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=np0EAAAAYAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR11&dq=Difference+Between+Ceramic+Pottery+And+Porcelain&ots=7Yj0CGFXUE&sig=36aN2kdR5Fqg_9–CeIPhUuzlLE#v=onepage&q=Difference%20Between%20Ceramic%20Pottery%20And%20Porcelain&f=false

Prime, W. C. (1879). Pottery and Porcelain of all Times and Nations. Harper & Brothers. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=mhYWAAAAYAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA17&dq=Difference+Between+Ceramic+Pottery+And+Porcelain&ots=QJ9siirA9m&sig=FUGMDfRVJ7PGJw8_Zhigb1pSXeg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20Between%20Ceramic%20Pottery%20And%20Porcelain&f=false

Marryat, J. (1868). A History of pottery and porcelain, mediaeval and modern. J. Murray. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=KxhLAQAAMAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=Difference+Between+Ceramic+Pottery+And+Porcelain&ots=_9vokdkPOR&sig=TGuIC5vJPT66KRJUasa3QKp9ARY#v=onepage&q=Difference%20Between%20Ceramic%20Pottery%20And%20Porcelain&f=false

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments