The term "ironstone" was coined by Charles Mason and the English Staffordshire ceramics industry in 1813. A mixture of porcelain and earthenware, the new material resembled Chinese porcelain but was much more durable. A big breakthrough, right? Ironstone could sustain daily use without chipping and breaking, as many pure porcelain pieces would. As a result, the product quickly became a popular staple in kitchenware, and still is a favorite today.
Ironstone produces a beautiful patina over time. Have you noticed? This might be due to the actual iron blend within the material (as it oxidizes, it can change the appearance of the finish), and the extended use of the durable material will produce signs of wear. I believe that it is this patina that draws collectors to it. It's used and beautiful. Functional. Don't you love it? I know that Martha is a big fan.
I don't have much ironstone in the shop right now... but, I have this gorgeous English gravy boat listed (as long as I don't get weak and keep it for myself).
Do you know the adorable Eddie Ross? Former Martha stylist? He loves ironstone too.
And, remember the Hamptons dining room from Somethings Gotta Give? Yup, ironstone.