You've found it! A great source for answers to questions you've always had about tableware terms but were afraid to ask. Also listed are definitions for reference notes that appear on our e-mail and US mail product listings. Over 260 terms below listed in alphabetical order!
S - W
Salad Plate – 7"-8½" plate that can be used for salads or desserts. Click here to learn more about china piece types.
Sand-Etching – technique by which sand or grit is used with high pressure to etch a pattern or decoration into a blank piece of crystal.
Sandwich Glass – early pressed glass made in Sandwich, MA, and is highly collectible. Also refers to current reproductions of this same type glass. An is example of sandwich glass is Tiara Crystal’s Sandwich-Amber.
Satin Finish – a revolving wheel of wire makes tiny surface scores creating a matte or non-mirrored look on silver. Replacements can apply a satin finish to many silver pieces. To learn more about our restoration services, click here.
Scallop – half circles that form a fancy ruffled border around the edge of a piece. An example of a scalloped pattern is Noritake’s Royal Orchard.
Scraffito – casting a piece with a top layer of colored slip, then cutting a design in that layer so the original body color shows.
Scratches – visible marks that have blemished the surface of the piece. Replacements may sell these pieces at a discount, and clearly marks their status on product listings. Replacements does not sell chipped or cracked pieces.
Screen Printing – decoration in which stencil-like screens are used to apply colors or designs.
Seam – a rise on a piece of glass caused by the minute crack between the two parts of a mold. Seam is the same as mold mark.
Seconds - manufactured pieces that have minor flaws.
Semi-Porcelain - describes various grades and types of earthenware, especially white, hard-glazed earthenware.
Semi-scallop – non-continuous series of half-circles forming a ruffled appearance on the edge of item (more numerous and not as full as the scalloped edge).
Serrated - formation on the edge of knives to facilitate cutting, resembling the toothed edge of a saw.
Service Plate (a.k.a. Charger Plate) – purely decorative piece used to raise dinner plate and add decorative effect to the place setting; it is generally 12-13 inches in diameter. Mostly used as a foundation, not for serving or eating. Click here to learn more about china piece types.
Sham Bottom - heavy, solid base on tumblers glasses that add weight and highlight clarity or color.
Shape - in the context of dinnerware, shape is the description of the contour of a piece, and is designated by manufacturer. Shape name can also be a pattern name, but only when there is no additional decoration on the piece.
Sherbet-Tall – crystal piece that has a saucer-like bowl and long stem; and is used for dessert or champagne. Replacements offers an array of crystal piece types. Click here to learn more about crystal pieces types.
Sherbet-Low - a shorter version of the sherbet. Click here to learn more about crystal pieces types.
Shoulder – raised rim of a plate.
Silverplate – a base metal consisting of nickel, silver, or copper and coated with a layer of pure silver by electroplating.
Slip – mixture of clay and water used to prepare the body of a ceramic piece for firing.
Slip Coating - a layer of slip applied to pieces for decorative effect.
Smooth – edge makes a solid circle. No indentations or scallops of any kind. An example of a smooth edge pattern is Pfaltzgraff’s Village.
Snack Cup – a special sized cup that fits in a special indentation on a snack plate. To learn more about china piece types, click here.
Snack Plate Set – an individual snack plate that included indentation in which a snack cup fits (snack cups may or may not be the same size as any other cup in the pattern). To learn more about china piece types, click here.
Soda Lime Glass – same as lime glass, but less brilliant than lead glass.
Soldering – attaching bases, handles, fittings, or bowl bodies by fusing the metallic surfaces together with a soldering iron.
Soufflé Dish – 2-3 quart round, porcelain baker used for making light, puffy dishes made from egg whites.
Stained Glass – glass that has been sprayed with a colored stain and fired to fuse to the surface.
Stainless – very durable combination of alloys designed for everyday use. 18/8 stainless steel is a combination of 18% chromium (for strength), 8% nickel (for luster), and 74% carbon steel. 18/10 is a combination of 18% chromium, 10% nickel, and 72% carbon steel.
Sterling Silver – often incorrectly referred to as solid silver, sterling silver is 925 parts pure silver, with 75 parts of added metal, usually copper, to give strength and stiffness; the standard set by the US Government in the Stamping Act of 1906. Any article stamped "sterling" is assured a certain quality level per the Stamping act.
Stoneware – hard clay fired at higher temperatures than earthenware. Characteristics: porous and chip resistant.
Swirl – a whirling, coiling design following a spiral motion.
Tarnish – oxidation process (formation of rust) that appears on sterling and silverplate. This occurs when material used in making the silver reacts to oxygen in the air. Tarnish may appear as dark coloration on flatware or hollowware. Items should be polished using cleaning products that help alleviate tarnish. Tarnish can be removed through polishing. If you are interested in Replacements professional polishing and restoration services, then click here.
Iced Tea – crystal piece with elongated bowl and shorter stem. Click here to learn more about crystal pieces types.
Temper – process used to increase the strength of glass. To achieve this, manufacturers re-heat glass after it is formed, and rapidly cool it.
Texture Glaze – colored glaze in which dripping, running, or other controlled disturbance creates a textured or rough surface effect. An example of texture glass is Rosenthal’s Split pattern.
Toby Jug - real or fictional characters that are formed into the shape of a mug (or jug). A true Toby has the sculpted form of a full seated or standing figure. The close cousin to the Toby jug is the Character jug, which features only the head and shoulders of a character. These are considered collectible, and produced by Royal Doulton. Replacements offers an array of Royal Doulton collectibles, including toby jugs. Click here to view our Royal Doulton collectibles page.
Transferware – a process adopted by Josiah Wedgwood I, the term refers to any ceramic embodiment that is decorated from copper engravings; the design is transferred via specific tissue paper. The pottery is then glazed and fired in a kiln. For more, see Flow Blue.
Tree and Well - a tree-like trough in a platter that is designed to collect drippings. The drippings flow down the branches of the tree and collect in the well.
Tremble Cup - a cup and saucer set designed to prevent the cup from sliding off the saucer (saucer has a very deep well or middle indentation).
Trim - gold, platinum, or colored band set around the edge of a piece as decoration.
Tripoli – a form of hand polishing which removes the coarse marks of sand polishing.
Troy Weight – unit of weight measurement employed by silversmiths; one pound equals 14.58 troy ounces; one ounce is .91 troy oz.
Tunis Dish – a fruit/dessert dish.
Underglaze – decoration applied directly to the clay bisque, then covered with glaze, making it resistant to wear.
Verge – The verge is the outer margin or structural border of a plate. The demarcation between the outer rim of a plate and its center is often called the verge line.
Vermeil - gilded silver.
Vitrification – during firing, silica is changed into glass and bonds ingredients together. When the level of glassy bonds increase, the porosity lowers, and china is considered fully vitrified.
Waste Bowl – a bowl, usually in hollowware, used to dispose of such items as tea bags.
Well – In reference to a cup and saucer, it is the indentation in the center of the saucer.