What is the difference between stoneware dishes and earthenware dishes?

Stoneware is fired at very high temperatures so that it becomes non-porous, almost like glass. The heat literally melts down the microscopic holes until it's impervious. Earthenware is fired at lower temperatures and is porous. It can also be easily scratched and damaged, whereas stoneware resists scratches very, very well.

Stoneware is for all practical purposes

man-made stone. Just with other types

of pottery or china, clay has been formed

into a desired shaped and fired in a kiln to

make it hard and glass-like in its imperviousness

to liquids.

Earthenware, for example, is not

impervious and will absorb liquids. Porcelain

china is said to be a variety of stoneware

although always whiter in appearance.

In its natural state stoneware will appear gray

or brown, but typically glazes will be applied

before firing to make the stoneware any color

the manufacturer and consumer desires.

For this reason, on its surface, stoneware can

be difficult to tell apart from porcelain china.

Some consumers like natural, earth tones that

go well with any color of food and any home d├ęcor.

There are also many bright solid colors and bright

patterns available, including ornately hand-painted

designs that rival the finest of china.