Meet the makers: our bone china artisans in the Philippines

Meet the makers: our bone china artisans in the Philippines

by Jennifer Sampson 24.10.2022

The beauty of bone china ceramics

Bone china is the strongest of the porcelain or fine china ceramics, having very high physical strength and chip resistance it is known for its high levels of whiteness and translucency. Its high strength allows it to be produced in thinner cross-sections than types of porcelain with the ability to execute fine details and amazing shapes. The bone ash is what facilitates this strength and colour — that's why our most beloved artisan makers who create our designs with an expert hand are so special. And this is why we love to show off the natural beauty of this material each season with designs that celebrate its quality and unsurpassed beauty.

How do we design our bone china products? 

Our bona china pieces are handmade in 20 laborious steps by craftsmen moulding a unique, high quality clay mixture. English clay and actual ground cow bone give pieces an unmatched translucency. Many pieces are tried in traditional ovens, hand painted and glazed for a perfect matte finish. The pieces are, in the majority, designed by us in house in Sydney and then sculpted by hand to produce a mould which the item is then cast from, poured, fired and then finished. 

Our first products were made from — you guessed it — bone china! 

If you’re a long-time customer of Jones & Co, perhaps you remember our Have You Met Miss Jones range of bone china telephone lamps, cockatoos, white mice, sneakers, robots and owls (oh, so many owls!)? When I first launched Jones & Co in 2006, my first call was to a family-run factory in the Philippines. The reason? My parents had worked with them in the 1970s and ‘80s and I knew they were the best at what they do. Over the last 16 years, some of those original designs are still in our range (hello, Paper bags) proving the long-lasting appeal of this unique material. Matte bone china is high quality and strong; and its ability to be cast with incredibly fine detail makes it the queen of ceramic mediums. Every year we launch some refreshed classics along with some crisp new designs we know you will adore. 

The evolution of our designs

The head mould maker we have worked with since 2006 is Lito, a very conservative Filipino man who takes immense pride in his detailed hand-crafting skills. Over the last 15 years, he has moulded every single design we have asked him to make with aplomb. From sneakers to crinkly paper bags to intricate feathers, Lito has made those moulds to our exact specifications. But then we had the idea to launch our “nude” ceramics and we asked him to start making still life body parts! All the boobs and bums. Oh boy. Poor Lito! With every collection we push the boundaries again. In 2022 it was all about delicate boxes topped with fine-figured dogs, parrots that are also candlesticks and fruit sliced into boxes. 

Meet the artisans who make our bone china ceramics

We design each and every one of our products here in Australia at Jones & Co HQ. But when it comes to manufacturing these original ceramic designs, we head to our trusted artisans in our partner factories in the Philippines.

Our very first bone china factory in the Philippines is a family-run factory in Manila that holds a special place in our heart. In fact, this factory was our very first supplier — and they make all our favourite bone china items. 

When our founder, Jennifer Jones (aka JJ) first launched her business in 2006, her first call was to this one trusted supplier. The reason? Her parents John and Millie Jones had run a successful export business in the Philippines in the 1970s and ‘80s. And one of their most trusted partners was a family-run factory, helmed by the humble patriarch Jun. Since then, pretty much everything you could think of in bone china has been designed by us, and made by Jun and his team of artisans in Manila.

The team laughs at us with our designs that push the boundaries of their skill. Some designs even make them blush with embarrassment (hello, Boobs planter!) But we love them all the more for it. And we hope our customers love the stories behind these products just as much as we like living them.