Unique Dinnerware Sets & Collections That Even Phoebe Buffay Would Love

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I can’t think of many things more subjective than unique dinnerware sets. So, according to Google dictionary, unique means being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else. Some synonyms are: distinctive, individual, special, quirky, single, one and only, rare, in a class by itself, unusual, peculiar, strange, novel. I believe that to live up to such expectations, unique dinnerware has to be more than square plates, contemporary design, or beautiful patterns. I’m sorry Buzzfeed, but there is nothing unique in a set of black plates. It’s modern dinnerware, but not unique. To me, unique feel almost like that episode of Friends when Phoebe has a meltdown because Rachel bought all that Pottery Barn furniture. It has to have a story, something special, or at least start one.

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Top Row Left: Vintage Royal Copenaghen, Weston Table | Middle: Rowe Pottery | Right: Mutambo Pottery, 54Kibo
Botton Row Left: CeramicForest | Middle: Pickard by @nonesuchltd | Right: Fatyly, 54Kibo

I’ve been using, researching, and writing about dinnerware for a while. Therefore I have a vast content heap on china. Enough to give me the confidence to add my 2 cents on what dinnerware will be unlike anything else or at least very much in a class by itself at your table. So here is my ongoing list of what I consider to be unique dinnerware sets and collections! Spoiler alert: be ready for some storytelling, some tripping, and a lot of unbelievably marvelous dinnerware.


Special Dinnerware Inspired By Cultural Heritage


Where we came from, our roots, our family story, our people’s cultural legacy, our past. We are all one of a kind and have something unique that defines our journey. Some people, however, have the gift to transform that into art. Lucky us, that some of these people use ceramics to tell their story or honor their people. So we can make their journey part of ours and share their stories as we share our stories and a meal with the ones we love. These unique dinnerware sets and collections bring to our table peculiar designs created by unusual humans.

Where to shop for special dinnerware inspired by cultural heritage online

CeramicaForest

Alena is a Russian woman who spent 7 years traveling across woodlands all over the World. And now she gifts us with her art by imprinting her wood memories in beautiful handmade ceramic dinnerware. She has pieces in pink, black, white, bowls, plates, and beyond words unique dinnerware sets like the one in the picture below. I’ve never seen anything remotely like this.

unique dinnerware set rustic handmade woodland made in russia

8 -piece unique dinnerware set – $345
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unique dinnerware rustic handmade woodland made in russia

Handmade stoneware plate with herbs imprints – $75
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NGUKA Limoges Porcelain Dinnerware Collection, by Fatyly

Faty Ly discovered her passion for ceramics in Burkina Faso. After studying in the prestigious Central Saint Martins of London, she lives in Senegal, where she creates art to honor the African culture. This spectacular dinnerware collection, the NGUKA, is designed as a tribute to Senegalese women. The pieces are handmade in Limoges, France the ultimate place for fine china. The fact that an African woman is proudly honoring her cultural heritage and her roots makes this dinnerware very unique and relevant.

NGUKA Limoges Porcelain Plate Made in France – $325
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NGUKA Limoges Porcelain Soup Plate Made in France, set of 2 – $165
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Faty Ly’s work is available on 54Kibo.com, BIPOC-OWNED e-commerce specialized in bringing contemporary African design to the USA.


Mutapo Pottery Signature Zimbabwe Ceramic Tableware

Marjorie Wallace is considered one of the best ceramic artists in Africa. Since 1992 she works with Jairos Zangira, an expert in Mutapo Pottery, the traditional ceramic from Zimbabwe. Marjorie creates designs inspired by traditional basket weaving and African prints, bringing to life her youth memories in Africa. The pieces are handmade, glazed, and decorated in Zimbabwe using unique traditional techniques. The result is unique high-quality pieces that will bring some of the best African art to the table.

Hwange Porcelain Serving Plate – $300
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Harare Porcelain Dinner Plate, Set of 4 – $315
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Wallace’s Mutapo Pottery dinnerware is available on 54Kibo.com, BIPOC-OWNED e-commerce specialized in bringing contemporary African design to the USA.


Handmade Customizable Dinnerware


By definition, anything monogrammed or personalized sits under the unique hat, right? Add the handmade to the equation and you get something even more organic and unique. And there are a few chinas that can be customized and handmade. But my inner Phoebe Buffay is slightly more demanding than that. So, what makes some dinnerware collections so special?

Special brands to shop for handmade customizable dinnerware online

Rowe Pottery

Rowe Pottery handcrafts ceramic dinnerware in small batches from a pottery design studio in Cambridge, Wisconsin. Less than a handful of dedicated skilled artisans are responsible for the design, creation, and decoration of each piece. These artists gift us with beautiful high-quality rustic dinnerware made in the USA that goes from all-white to colorful and decorated. Speaking of which, nowadays Lore is the only artisan responsible for hand painting each one of the pieces. She is been doing that since 1995 and I love this video of her explaining the creative process. Knowing the human who made something you’re going to use in your house is poetic and special.

On top of that, what is even more unique about Rowe Pottery are the customized ceramic pieces. For wedding gifts, invitations, family reunions, mother’s day, housewarming, pick me up, anniversary…I can’t think of a reason not to have one of these. And by the way, customized pieces are Lore’s favorites, so, there you go!

dinnerware made in the usa unique dinnerware rowe pottery
dinnerware made in the usa unique dinnerware  rowe pottery
dinnerware made in the usa unique dinnerware rowe pottery

There are all customized pieces, made by customers requests. Here is their contact info to get their customized or some of their amazing ready-to-order ceramic. They have

sales@rowepottery.com | (800) 356-7687 | https://www.rowepottery.com/

☾ Related: Rustic Dinnerware and Drinkware To Set Unique Earthy Tabletops

Signature Collection by Pickard

Pickard is a 4th generation family business from Antioch, Illinois and their manufacturing process is what makes their fine china dinnerware distinctive. In a time of fast everything and profit over people, they make things right. Pickard uses the same craftsmanship techniques from when they started in 1893. And what a special process! Every piece of fine china passes through 21 steps during manufacturing. Then, each piece goes through full quality control, which is made 3 times only by employees with over 18 years of experience in the factory. So, no mass production and no “time is money” shenanigans. It’s pure respect made to stay in the family for generations. Oh, and they use only 24K gold, pure platinum, and brilliant cobalt for the patterns.

From an ethical perspective, that would do to consider any Pickard’s dinnerware unique nowadays. But the fact that you can monogram it with your initials, or even have it entirely customized for you, makes this dinnerware sets one of a kind. Oh, and they have many beautiful made-to-order dinnerware collections, crafted under the same processes.

unique dinnerware set fine china monogrammable

Signature Collection by Pickard
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To order the monogrammed Signature Collection or the customized dinnerware you must fill a form at Pickard’s website or call the sales team (1-847-395-3800). You can choose from different 2 colors of porcelain, 6 colors of bands in precious metal (the light blue is my favorite), 24K gold or platinum monogram, different lettering, and so on. And they have over 30 dinnerware and serve ware pieces to choose from. If you don’t need all of that, you can get the 5-piece Monogrammed Signature set in white porcelain and gold band directly from Bed Bath and Beyond.

☾ Related: Authentic Dinnerware Made in the USA That You Can Buy Online

Vintage Dinnerware


Vintage dinnerware is, by definition, rare and one of its kind. They are not being produced anymore, those patterns are exclusive, the manufacturing process is probably outdated. And if you’re very lucky, it has a story behind it. The search, the questions, the thrill when you run into that rare set. You can find them in flea markets, garage sales, or reliable online stores.

Amazing stores to shop for Vintage Dinnerware online

One Kings Lane

One Kings Lane works with top-notch vintage dealers like New England Mercantile, Cannery Row Home, and others. Every dinnerware set they sell has a complete tear sheet. You’ll have info on the era, material, where the pieces were made, how to take care of it, and, of course, how many pieces and the condition of use. Also, they give you information about the professional background of the dealer. It’s almost like a Parisian flea market, but without the dust.

1940s California Pottery Dinner Service vintage dinnerware unique set

1940s California Pottery Dinner Service – $675
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And you thought that pink dinnerware was a Millennial trend, right?

unique dinnerware set vintage made in usa

Amber Glass Dining Set, 24-Pcs – $265
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P.S. These sets here are available as I write the post. It’s overkilling to say that they are unique dinnerware sets that can be gone at any time. This Amber set makes me think of my grandma and I don’t even like open shelves but I feel like I should have one just for them.


Antique Royal Copenhagen, at Weston Table

Weston Table curates extraoerdinary home goods. They only feature top notch brands and manufacturers that also tell a story. And they have an entire section dedicated to antique and vintage kitchenware. It’s beautiful. However, what I consider to be the most unique from their inventory is their antiques from Royal Copenhagen.

So, Royal Copenhagen is a traditional Danish brand with over 200 years of experience. And they have an iconic hand-painted dinnerware collection, the Royal Copenhagen Blue Fluted, that was launched in 1775. No, that’s not a typo. I really mean 1775, in the XVIII century. Turns out that Weston Table curated a collection of vintage and antique Blue Fluted that was produced between 1850 and 1970 before the company moved the factory to an updated facility. You’ll find the full-lace pattern and a lot of retired pieces, everything in limited stocks. They have detailed information on manufactures’ period and care. It’s poetry in the shape of fine china.

1950s Royal Copenhagen Blue Fluted Full Lace Coffee Pot unique dinnerware

1950s Royal Copenhagen Blue Fluted Full Lace Coffee Pot – $650
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1920s Royal Copenhagen Blue Fluted Full Lace Basket Weave Plates, 6-piece unique dinnerware sets

1920s Royal Copenhagen Blue Fluted Full Lace Basket Weave Plates, 6-piece – $2675
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What I consider Unique Dinnerware


Yes, apart from Google’s definition, this is my interpretation of what unique means. So, it’s not a rule or anything. You may disagree with me completely and we’re good! Also, it doesn’t mean better or superior. It’s just unique.

Distinctive dinnerware has to have something special about the way it’s made. As useful as it may be, mass-produced is the opposite of individual, no matter how beautiful or expensive it is. Peculiar china should start a conversation and give you a story to tell about it. There is nothing unique in “I got it from a Target sale”. It’s great, but it’s not quirky like “these plates are handmade in small batches in Cambridge, Winsconsin and they are handpainted by a lady called Lore. She’s been doing it for 20 years”. And finally, it’s not about the price. It’s about storytelling.

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Unique Dinnerware Sets & Collections That Even Phoebe Buffay Would Love