The word "porcelain" is synonymous with the finest dinnerware that money can buy. That's because the material can be formed into the strongest, thinnest, and most elegant dinnerware available. The difference between porcelain and ceramic starts with its clay body. Porcelain differs from other types of ceramic with its inclusion of kaolin, a smooth, fine-grained clay that gets its name from a village in China where the practice of making porcelain developed. The combination of kaolin and inclusions such as alumina make porcelain strong enough that it can be formed in pieces so thin as to be transparent. It's that combination of delicacy and strength, along with its typically bright white color, that make porcelain ubiquitous on white tablecloths.