Has anyone had great luck with a particular brand? My main concerns are the plates not getting cracked and scratched easily (as, for example, Ikea ones do within weeks) and being lightweight. Any suggestions? Thank you all very much in advance!
Denby. It's expensive but I've had mine for years.
Depends on how much you want to spend but English porcelain such as Port Meirion/Spode/Pimpernell/etc are all good bets. I've inherited mine and it's lasted 3 generations so far.
I like Fiestaware. It scratches eventually, esp the lightest and darkest colors but it's pretty inexpensive and looks like a flight of butterflies whenever I open my cupboard. I like the accessories and small dishes. Macy's has sales a couple of times a year on Fiesta Ware and you can also get pieces of vintage Fiesta on Etsy.
My mom brought a set of casual dinnerware from Mikasa in the 80s. She still has all except the two pieces I dropped as a kid. The pieces are really heavy but have lasted without chips or scratches.
I got Royal Doultpn 40 years ago & very little has chipped or broken. I also have some from my Dad's family, about 100years ago. All Royal Doultan porcelain - light & strong.
Porcelain and stoneware are the hardiest, but anything will break if dropped! Instead of going out and buying a new set, why don't you try assembling an eclectic 'set' from thrift shops, second hand stores and estate sales. You would be surpeised at the high-quality dinnerware you can find at these places. I bought six pieces of Gien two weeks ago for $2.50. retail price for that find would be over $100. Your table can still look fantastic, but at a fraction of the cost.
Porcelain is durable and lighter weight than stoneware. I think reputable department and cookware stores will have a refund policy if the dishes chip or scratch unreasonably. Replacements.com is a good web site to check if you buy a set at a yard sale and are curious as to whether you can buy additional pieces and the average cost.
In case you buy porcelain... very decorated porcelain, and porcelain with gold or silver bands, should not be run through the dishwasher often (so, not great as a choice for your "every day" dishes). Older patterns may not be microwave-safe.
We use Tivoli White by Studio Nova and have for years. Despite rather hard, regular use, not a single piece has chipped or cracked. I've found that white dishes like this that appear scratched (with spidery grey lines) can be buffed with a dab of Bon Ami on a damp cloth. Works like a charm! It also worked for my old Arzberg white (alas, no longer available . . . such lovely dishes. ;o)
Arzberg is available on replacements.com (and probably ebay?). If you don't see what you want on Replacements, you can register, free, for a search/wanted list.
I don't work for Replacements. :-) But I did replace a lot of my mother's broken/missing wedding china through them. It was a while ago, but the customer service was very good.
We used to have very nice mom/pop place that would buy overruns of dinnerware...resturant stuff, and fesita ware.
Very cheep stuff...you could spend 30 bucks and get lots of little plates and stuff. Those are still used as 'daily drivers' in our home.
Check your city and see if such a place exists in your town/city. Load up on daily use stuff and save your display stuff for parties and display.
Also the old corningwear is great for holding up. Plan white..not fancy. I have a 4 piece set of plates from the early 70's...still going strong.
Yes, those Corningware dishes are pretty much indestructible and very lightweight. I have seen them in many vacation rentals over the years and I'm always glad to know the chances of breaking a dish is zero.
I have seen them available at Corningware discount outlets.
@Sam FishsEddy.com is a great store in NYC that started by selling restaurant and hotel overruns. They got successful and now also carry some of their own lines. Their "Colorware" is similar to Fiestaware and they have a couple lines of plain "restaurant white."
I love Corningware! Still use my grandmother's white casserole dishes with the little blue corn flowers on them. Very handy and can often pick them up at yard sales.
Pillivuyt is beautiful and very sturdy.
I soooo agree with Maedl. Nothing beats good quality porcelain. I used to scout antique stores and buy individual plates and bowls. You can find gorgeous pieces at very low prices and end up with an eclectic table. I had a blue set, and a pink set, a gold set and a floral set (made of six or eight different plates) all for much much less than one would pay at regular retail. If that's not your cup of tea, Villeroy & Boch offers fine quality china and stoneware, but it can be pricey.
You can try HF Coors. All their stuff is made in USA and commercial quality -- very durable and lasts forever!
Whatever you do, don't buy black! Chips and cracks happen, but on black they're especially noticeable.
Sur La Table's open stock house brand white tableware has been my choice for years. It's very durable and always looks good. And it goes on sale at least a couple times a year - sign up for their email list and you'll get the heads up : )
Mikasa makes durable tableware (in various designs) that is chip and shatter-resistant (it was demo-ed for us, very impressive). My sister bought a whole set about 15 years and still not a chipped or faded plate in the bunch.