Opalware Vs. Ceramic: Pros, Cons, & Major Differences

Are you considering purchasing new dinnerware but are not sure if opalware or ceramic is better for your home? Well, you've come to the right place. We've done research and put together a guide to provide you with the benefits and drawbacks of each material so you can make an informed decision.

Opalware is made from highly tempered glass, a stronger, more break-resistant material than standard glass. Ceramic dishes are made from fired clay and tend to be heavier than opalware. They are durable but less so than opalware.

Which option is right for your home? Is there more you should know before making a choice? Keep reading to learn about the differences between opalware and ceramic.

What Is The Difference Between Opalware And Ceramic?

The biggest difference between them is the material that they are made from. Opalware is made by tempering glass multiple times to create a durable, sturdy product. Ceramic is clay that has been fired at high temperatures and glazed.

Both products are popular as dinnerware and for other kitchen uses, but they are very different. Opalware tends to be thinner and lighter than ceramic, with a more elegant appearance. Ceramic is thicker, heavier, and holds heat longer than opalware. It also tends to be bulkier in style.

What Are The Pros Of Opalware?

Beautiful dinnerware on wooden counter in light kitchen

Opalware is an excellent choice for everyday use because it's easy to clean, light, and doesn't take up a lot of space. This material is generally considered break-, chip-, and crack-resistant due to the tempering it receives in production. It's very tough but not completely unbreakable.

Opalware is available in many colors, styles, patterns, and prints, so you'll be sure to find a set that fits your personality. Opalware is considered one of the safest dinnerware materials because it is free of the chemicals and toxins that other sets may contain.

This material is also microwave- and dishwasher-safe, making it a convenient choice for busy kitchens.

What Are The Cons Of Opalware?

Opalware can break if dropped on a hard surface. Because opalware is so thin, it doesn't retain heat well, which can be a problem while prepping and plating food.

Larah 35-Piece Opal Glass Dinnerware Set

This opalware dining set includes enough for six place settings. It's also available in a variety of different styles and colors.

Click here to see this dinnerware set on Amazon.

What Are The Pros Of Ceramic Dinnerware?

Set of new white dishes on wooden table

Ceramic dinnerware retains heat well to make food prep easier. It keeps food and drinks hot longer. It's easy to clean unless parts of it are left unfinished. Check the bottom to make sure the entire piece is glazed. Otherwise, it could stain.

Ceramic is also a very safe material that doesn't contain toxic ingredients, which makes it a healthy option. Ceramic is typically microwave- and dishwasher-safe as long as it doesn't have metal accents like a gold stripe.

It's usually available in a ton of colors and patterns, so you'll be sure to find something that you love.

What Are The Cons Of Ceramic Dinnerware?

Ceramic dishes are more fragile than opalware. They can chip and crack easily. When you're handling ceramic dishes, their weight can cause strain and discomfort, especially if you're washing the dishes by hand. Because ceramic dishes tend to be bulkier than glass, they take up more space in storage too.

Gibson Home 12-Piece Stoneware Dinnerware Set

This ceramic stoneware set contains enough pieces for four plate settings. It's available in 12 different colors, and you can order different serving sizes.

Check out this dinnerware set on Amazon.

Is Opalware Melamine?

No. Opalware is made from opal glass, while melamine is made from plastic materials. Opalware is considered a safer option since plastic can easily leech into food when heated. Melamine also breaks more easily and is more susceptible to damage from thermal shock.

What Is The Difference Between Ceramic, Stoneware, And Porcelain?

Set of rustic dinnerware on light brick background

Ceramic, stoneware, and porcelain are all made from clay but are typically refined to different levels of quality. Ceramic is the least refined version. Stoneware is mid-grade, while porcelain is highly refined. The more refined the material is, the more durable it will be.

Does Opalware Contain Bone Ash?

Does opalware contain bone ash, Opalware Vs. Ceramic: Pros, Cons, & Major Differences

This may vary by set, but most opalware does not contain bone ash, making it suitable for vegetarian users. Make sure you check the details to be sure. Many sets indicate their cruelty-free manufacturing process that omits the use of animal products.

Larah 35-Piece Opalware Dinnerware Set

This opalware dining set is free from bone ash to create a vegan and cruelty-free material. It's available in a variety of patterns and in smaller sets too.

Check out this dinnerware set on Amazon.

Does Ceramic Contain Bone Ash?

Does ceramic contain bone ash, Opalware Vs. Ceramic: Pros, Cons, & Major Differences


It is possible to find ceramic dinnerware sets that are vegan and cruelty-free. Many companies do use bone ash in the firing process and in the paint for ceramic dinnerware. There are alternatives to bone ash, though, so check with the manufacturer to be sure before you make a purchase.

Is Corelle Glass The Same As Opalware?

No. Corelle makes their products with vitrelle glass. The glass is created through a lamination method in which three pieces of glass are fused together to seal in the coloration.

Opalware is made from a single piece of glass that is tempered multiple times to create a strong product. Both are excellent options, but opalware tends to be more durable in the long run.

Corelle 12-Piece Dinnerware Set

This set contains four place settings made from vitrelle glass, a safe and popular dinnerware option. The set is microwave- and dishwasher-safe and easy to clean.

Check out this dinnerware set on Amazon.

What Is The Healthiest Dinnerware Material?

The healthiest material to choose for your dinnerware is stainless steel. Glass and ceramic are close contenders, but stainless steel is the least likely to contain dangerous chemicals and offers the best durability and break resistance.

While glass and ceramic can shatter if they receive impact, stainless steel will just dent, removing the danger of sharp shards of ceramic or glass in your kitchen.

Royal Sapphire Stainless Steel Dinnerware Set

This 24-piece set is a great choice for anyone who wants to avoid breakable materials. Although this set can't be used in the microwave, it is sure to outlast more fragile dinnerware options.

Click here to see this dinnerware set on Amazon.

Is Opalware The Same As Bone China?

Empty grey plates on a table with fork and knife

No. Opalware is made from glass, while bone china is made from a mixture of clay, stone, and bone ash to create a material similar to porcelain.

Opalware does not contain any type of clay material—just glass. Today, not all bone china is made with bone ash, which is an important distinction when considering its perceived value.

What Dinnerware Is Safe?

Opalware, ceramic, and many other materials have been deemed safe to eat from. When choosing a dinnerware set, it's important to consider the color and the materials used to create the designs and coloration found on many glass and ceramic dinnerware sets.

Many companies use cadmium and lead to create warm hues like red, which is then encased in another layer to prevent food contact.

These dangerous chemicals may leech out into your food when exposed to heat or through chips and scratches. To be safe, you should choose white sets or sets with cool colors like blue or green.

In Conclusion

Now that you know the differences between opalware and ceramic, you should be ready to choose the option that's best for you. Make sure you purchase an extra place setting in case pieces break, and the style gets discontinued. Have fun searching for your new dinnerware set, and enjoy your next meal.

You may also be interested in these related posts:

To learn more about stoneware and products made in the USA, read our article "What Stoneware Dinnerware Is Made In The USA? [11 Options To Choose From]"

If you want to learn about other dinnerware material options and how they hold up, read our article "What’s The Best Dinnerware For Both Microwave & Dishwasher?"

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