What We Like
Ornamental but practical
Part of a larger product line
Microwave and dishwasher safe
What We Don't Like
Shows fork marks easily
Dishware that is both ornamental and intended for everyday use can be tricky to find. Is it fancy enough to make a statement on a holiday table but not too over-the-top for oatmeal? Sure, keeping a special china set may be a dream for some, but if you don’t have the space or budget—or you just don’t entertain all that much—it’s not really a necessity. Lenox’s French Perle blurs the boundaries between special occasion and everyday dinnerware, offering a set that can be dressed up or down given the occasion. Of course, the value of dinnerware rests on more than just its good looks. To see how Lenox’s offering stood up to multiple meals and runs through the dishwasher, we bought one to test at home. Read on for our findings.
Appearance: Details ... so many details
Lenox French Perle 4-Piece Place Settings include a dinner plate, accent plate, generously-sized bowl (which Lenox calls a “pasta bowl”), and a mug. Each piece is made from hefty ceramic stoneware and the whole set is dripping with ornate swirls, scrolls, and a strung bead motif. With the exception of the mug, each piece also has a scalloped edge that’s been tea-stained by hand for a hint of color.
Now that we’ve written all that down, it sounds like there’s a lot going on. While the design isn’t exactly subtle, it isn’t garish, either, thanks to an all-white design. Of course, aesthetics are a subjective thing, so half of our house loved the set while the other half weren’t big fans. Those who liked it enjoyed the simultaneously bohemian and French country cottage feel, while those opposed thought it looked frilly, heavy-handed, and skewed more toward “dated” than “vintage.” Given our experience, we’d suggest you make sure everyone in your household is on board with the design before you commit to the set.
Given our experience, we’d suggest you make sure everyone in your household is on board with the design before you commit to the set.
Durability: Prone to cutlery marks
When we sat down for our first meal with the Lenox set, we performed a very unscientific fork scrape test—in which we vigorously scratched at the bottom and side of each dish with a salad fork—to see how the plates fared against less-gentle diners. Ultimately, we found that the dinnerware (particularly the bowl) showed signs of fork marks, though they were subtle. Of course, we were scratching harder than an average diner would during normal use, but our test confirmed that at some point down the road, a mark or two would appear on the set. Regardless, this wasn’t a deal breaker for us, as we thought the marks just added to the set’s vintage charm. If you’re not a fan, Lenox recommends using a non-abrasive cleanser (like Soft Scrub) and a cloth to remove the metal marks entirely. All in all, moderate handling and a little maintenance should keep the set’s finish intact.
Cleaning: A breeze
Lenox notes that the dishes are microwave and dishwasher safe—both essential qualities if these are to be used as one’s everyday set. We ran everything through the dishwasher (three times over) and heated food in the microwave just to see. We’re happy to report that no blemishes appeared and nothing cracked, so they get a pass from us.
We ran everything through the dishwasher (three times over) and heated food in the microwave, and we’re happy to report that no blemishes appeared and nothing cracked.
Price: Versatility doubles the value
Though a single four-piece Lenox French Perle set sells for $86 MSRP, the setting—which can be dressed up or kept casual—really does double your value. It also maximizes precious cabinet space—crucial in a small kitchen like ours. Plus, at more than 125 years old, it’s safe to say that Lenox has an idea of what goes into making quality, long-lasting tableware. The company is so sure of their product, in fact, that they offer lifetime replacements for broken or damaged pieces at 50 percent off the retail price (as long as you register your set).
Lenox French Perle 4-Piece Place Setting vs. Pfaltzgraff Filigree 16-Piece Dinnerware Set
Lenox’s French Perle set is a solid investment given its quality, but the dinnerware is just too polarizing for your household, a good compromise may be the Filigree 16-Piece Dinnerware set from Pfaltzgraff. The dishes still have decorative embossing, but the motif is toned considerably down from the scrolls and ornate beading of the Lenox set.
Check out our guide to the best dinnerware sets you can buy today.
We love it and if you can get behind the design, you will too.
At first glance, we weren’t so sure we liked the set’s dense details, but it grew on us immensely. If you’re looking for dinnerware that can be fun, fancy, casual, functional, or some combination of all the above depending on your table setting, then we definitely recommend the French Perle line.
- Product Name French Perle 4-Piece Place Setting
- Product Brand Lenox
- SKU 868103
- Price $86
- Weight 6.25 lbs.
- Color White, ice blue, pistachio, violet
- Includes One 10.75-inch dinner plate, one 9-inch accent plate, one 12-ounce mug, one 6.5-inch pasta bowl
- Warranty Lifetime breakage replacement program