Earthenware can take very brightly colored glazes like cobalt blue and canary yellow. Due to its low firing temperature it tends to be the least durable of dinnerware types. It is porous and cannot be placed in an oven except under very low temperatures and should only be placed in the microwave on low settings or it will become very hot. Putting earthenware in the dishwasher will certainly shorten its life.
A characteristic of earthenware that many people like and just as many dislike is the phenominon called crazing. Tiny hairline cracks appear after long use beneath the glaze. This does not affect the dinnerware, poses no health risk and can add a certain level of character to a piece.

High-fired earthenware is also referred to as English China. It is of high quality and has a softened look to it. The quality varies quite a bit between countries of manufacture. It can be used in the dishwasher and be used in a warming oven. It can go into the microwave but only at low temperatures because the clay will get hot. Though it is fired at higher temperature than standard earthenware, it is not completely non-porous.

Another interesting characteristic of earthenware is crazing. Whether low-fired or high-fired, tiny hairline cracks begin to appear in the clay beneath the glaze. Crazing usually does not affect the dinnerware and can sometimes add charm to a piece. It is perfectly normal for earthenware.