Tableware Terms
(page 3)

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!

F - I

Faceting - technique for cutting decorative diamond or other symmetric shapes or patterns into the surface of crystal. One example of faceting is Christian Dior's Gaudron Gold.

Faience - earthenware from France, Germany, or Spain; usually tin-enameled and bearing colorful decoration.

Feather Edge - decoration on edge of handle with chased, slanting lines; an engraved decorative design. An example of the feather edge design is WMF Flatware's Serena pattern.

Feldspar - a mineral used in the formula of certain types of china clays.

Firing - a process using heat to harden, strengthen, or fuse ceramics and related materials.

Five O'clock Spoon - slightly smaller than a teaspoon, the Five O'clock spoon is used for pre-dinner coffees or teas. Click here to learn more about sterling, silverplate, and stainless piece types.

Flashed Glass - clear glass covered with a thin layer of color which may be cut through to produce various decorative effects; the results are similar to cased glass in that several layers may be applied with each of a different color, texture or design. Colony Crystal produced a series of flashed pieces, the most popular of which is the Whitehall-Ruby pattern.

Flat Cups - cups that have a flat base, without a pedestal, and cannot be grasped easily from the bottom side of the cup (OPPOSITE OF FOOTED). Click here to learn more about china piece types.

Flatware - in the United States, flatware refers to sterling, silverplate, stainless, and pewter utensils used for eating or serving food. In other countries, including the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, flatware refers to dinnerware pieces such a plates and saucers.

Flawed - containing a blemish or defect, examples include cracks or chips. Note - Replacements does not sell cracked or chipped pieces.

Flint Glass - glass made of potash and an unspecified amount of lead oxide. Glass was produced in the US and Great Britain via this process. The formula was changed, and lead began to be used instead due to its ability to add more clarity, sheen, and weight.

Flow Blue - a process whereby blue ink is used in a design process known as transfer printing. The process forces ink to bleed through the piece when a volatilizing agent, like ammonia, is added. Click here to see flow blue pieces at

Fluted - having or marked by long vertical grooves, or pleated and crimped indentation similar to "pie crust edge" design. One of many patterns with a fluted design is Mikasa's Italian Countryside.

Fondue - pot used for warming chocolate or cheese for dipping. Can come as a set, fondue, stand, burner, and/or fondue spears (long handled fork to hold item to be dipped).

Foot – (in crystal) the base of the stem.

Foot Rim - a slightly projected ring on the convex side of a plate; the foot rim raises the plate in the kiln during firing.

Footed Cups - tea cup design whereby there is a small pedestal on the bottom of the piece that flares out, making the cup easy to grasp from the bottom. Opposite of "flat cup". Click here to see various cup styles.

Frosted Glass - a semi-opaque glass with a gray-textured surface. Sandblasting, acid bath or silk screening produces the effect; effect can also be produced via the heat application of powdered glass to the surface of the decorated piece. In many cases, the stem will appear frosted, while the bowl remains clear. An example of this decorating style can be found in Sasaki’s Wings pattern.

Fruit Saucers - also known as fruit/dessert bowl or sauce dish; about 5 ½" in diameter and suitable for desserts, fruits, puddings, etc.

Full Lead - term used to denote glassware that contains high lead oxide content, approximately 24 to 30 percent.

Gadroon Edge - a molded border design in dinnerware, which resembles braided rope.

German Silver - low-grade silver composed chiefly of nickel, copper, and a small amount of pure silver.

Glaze - a liquid coating that is baked onto clay in a hot kiln to make it nonabsorbent and wear-resistant.

Glossy (Bright Finish) - highly polished, mirror-like finish produced by the use of jeweler's rouge on a polishing wheel, also known as mirror finish.

Glost Firing - initial firing right after glazing.

Goblet - (crystal) a piece with a large bowl and a long stem, and typically used for water (larger) and wine (slightly smaller). Click here to learn more about crystal piece types.

Goblet-Low - a shorter stemmed version of the goblet, not made in many patterns.

Gold Trim - high-quality liquid gold applied on or about the edges of china, crystal, or silver pieces.

Gold Electroplate - process whereby piece to be plated is typically a base metal coated with gold or silver by using electrolysis. Note - electroplate is easily worn away with harsh abrasives. Many companies produce patterns that are gold electroplated. An example of electroplated flatware is Oneida’s Golden Affection.

Gold Wash - faint gold electroplating on sterling.

Gray cutting - a glass decoration applied with an abrasive wheel. This process leaves the glass gray or opaque. Further processing is necessary if the design calls for polished cutting.

Grill Plate - a plate that has a small partition through the center, with one of those halves divided again making three divided portions (Divided into 2 quarters and 1 half). In some patterns, this is the primary dinner plate. This is the case with Moriyama’s Blue Willow.

Hammered - a decorative finish in which the texture of the piece is achieved with numerous, even hits with a hammer. Many silver and stainless patterns are produced by this method including Gorham’s Baluster pattern.

Hand-cut - a process for decorating glass whereby artisans use an abrasive wheel to cut patterns on the surface.

Hexagon - shape in which there are six sides and angles.

Hollowware - a general description for metal items in the form of hollow vessels (examples include teapots, coffeepots, bowls, pitchers, bonbons, and trays and waiters). Can be made from sterling silver, silverplate, stainless, pewter, etc. Word may also be spelled "holloware". Click here to see an extensive list of hollowware pieces.

Hollowware Pewter - consists of 80% tin and 20% lead and used for making teapots, coffeepots and liquid measures.

Identification - process whereby unknown patterns are identified using attributes in conjunction with literature, backstamp information, number, and/or specific manufacturer markings. Click here to learn more about Replacement’s identification process.

Imperfections - As noted on Replacements, Ltd. pattern listing forms - slightly imperfect pieces are graded and sold separately, and at a lower price, versus our standard "excellent condition" pieces. **NOTE** Levels of imperfection are relative to each pattern and take into account grading factors, age, and availability of the china, crystal, or flatware pattern. Replacements, Ltd. does not sell items that are chipped or cracked. Tiered classification system used by Replacements to describe imperfections as follows -

  • Slight imperfections – (25%) pieces may show signs of slight wear or use.
  • Noticeable imperfections – (50%) pieces will show visible use or wear – including surface scratches, minor trim wear, and color wear.
  • Considerable imperfections – (75%) pieces will show substantial use or wear - including surface scratches, minor trim wear, and color wear.

Imperialware - the name given to a range of Spode earthenware patterns dating back to the early 1800's. The patterns characteristically have an ivory or soft-blue slip with a clear glaze. Spode’s most popular Imperialware line is the Blue Room Collection.

Inactive Pattern - as opposed to discontinued china, inactive china patterns are defined as patterns that are not currently being produced by the manufacturer due to low demand; however, the molds, decals, etc. are available to be used if increased demand dictates that more be produced.

Indention - may refer to the indented circle in a saucer where the cup, bouillon cup, or cream soup bowl rests to minimize movement on the saucer.

Inlaid - decorating process created through etching, incising, or engraving a design on the surface and filling with another material.

Insulators - small ivory, ebony, or onyx spacers placed within the handles of teapots or coffee pots to prevent heat generated by hot beverages from traveling through the handle.

Iridescent Glass - glassware with special coating of metal oxides which produces a shimmering, multicolor effect. One example of iridescent glass is Fostoria’s Shell Pearl.

Ironstone - lightweight earthenware developed in England. Originally contained powdered iron slag and fired briefly at low temperatures.

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