There are several materials that are referred to as clay. Each type is what makes the ceramics unique.
Earthenware is one of many terms for a clay that matures at lower temperatures. On a scale of zero (being not fired) to ten (melted), terracotta or earthenware is about a four while translucent porcelain is around eight.
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Stoneware is one of the three types of traditional ceramic or pottery.
Stoneware is made from a particular type of clay that is fired at high temperatures, generally between 2,012 and 2,372 degrees Fahrenheit. It was first produced in China, during the Shang Dynasty (circa 1,400 BC).
Stoneware, named after its dense, stone-like quality after firing, is tougher and more durable than earthenware. And unlike earthenware, stoneware is waterproof. Earthenware can be coated with a vitreous (glass-like) liquid and re-fired and made waterproof.
The qualities of stoneware traditionally made it useful for dishes used for food, for drinking vessels, and for storage. Today it is often used for cookware, bakeware and serving dishes.
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Porcelain is maybe one of the more traditional clay types and is often linked with old pottery brands like Royal Copenhagen, but porcelain is becoming more and more popular again. New young artists are taking the materials to new levels, adding textures and incredible glazes playing around with it.
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