A luster is a metallic based decoration that has been used on ceramics since the 9th century. Lusters are metallic salts that are applied over already-fired glazes and then the ware is re-fired to cone 022 to cone 018. The lower firing temperature allows the luster to bond with the existing glaze. The result is an extremely thin layer of metal on the surface of the glaze. The fired luster is very fragile and easily scratched.They are characterized by their iridescent sheen and varying color shades of soft metallic-like hues. Lusters come in several forms, including liquids for brushing and pastes for screen printing.


Lusters release toxic fumes when applied and also when fired. Whenever they are being used, you need to use the correct type of respirator and work in a very well ventilated room.


The Luster/china painting market is almost entirely comprised of hobby ceramic artists. It is an easy and economical way to produce colorful intricate ceramic work with little more then a working knowledge of simple firing techniques.


Positive results with lusters can be achieved in any of our kiln systems. It depends on the scope of the work and the level of the artists output, but in our experience the Liberty-Belle or the smaller Easy-Fire Kilns are great for this application.

Recommended Kilns

The L&L Flagship Kiln: Six popular Easy-Fire models. Multi-Zone control. Sectional. Easy maintenance. Sizes from 2.5 to 10.2 cubic feet. Most models and voltages are Cone 10.