As luck would have it, when I did find the dishes they had been put on clearance, so they weren't nearly as expensive as they could've been. But in another way, they were rather expensive after all since I quickly found out that stoneware is not a good choice for someone who uses the microwave as much as I do. The dishes themselves absorb too much heat, and the contents of the dish don't heat as evenly as they should. You end up burning your fingers on a plate that's still holding cold food.
The other thing that annoyed me was the gray marks that using silverware left on the white plates. I'm sure I could scour them off, but really, who has time for that? So I just live with it, figuring it's not that big a deal since in early November we switch over to the Christmas dishes, usually for DD's birthday.
This year, I didn't want to switch back to the stoneware, so we're still using our Christmas dishes. It's the end of April! I don't mind keeping them out until DS2's birthday in February, because while they do have a Christmas-y thing going, they're mostly wintery. But now we're well past Easter, and we're about to hit triple-digit temperatures here next week -- and we're still using the winter dishes. That's ridiculous, I thought. So I bought new dishes today.
We'll see how it goes. These are porcelain and have a nice heft, not too heavy, not too delicate. I will be mortified if it turns out that these have just as bad flaws as the stoneware, but I don't think they will.
I splurged and got new glasses, too. I had picked up an inexpensive set around the same time I bought the stoneware, but they quickly became cloudy from being scored in the dishwasher. I don't understand that, since we have a water softener, so that's not supposed to happen at all, and it happened within seeming weeks of us using the glasses. They're hideous now, so out they go, and we'll try again with these:
They were so cheap! But they feel so good in your hand, not too flimsy, not too heavy, and the top rims are not sharp at all. I do hope they survive in the dishwasher. Our Christmas glasses, cobalt blue with white reindeer and snowflakes on them, haven't shown a bit of scoring yet, after several half-years of daily use. Where did I get them, all those years ago? Crate and Barrel, of course.