The Twiggy Long Earrings in a subdued blue (right).
We’ve all had that one beautiful piece of furniture or ceramics that we’ve loved for many years and one day wake up to notice how much it has faded and is just not what it used to be. What can take years to collect can only take a few months to fade. Whilst it is common for coloured items to fade over time, it is not always the case with every material. Porcelain is one of the most durable and long-lasting types of ceramics. There is a definite reason why top quality porcelain is such a highly prized material.
Porcelain is made through a rigorous firing process that binds all the ingredients of the clay together. Before firing the colour is painted on, however the colour you see in the end result is not what it looks like before it is put in the kiln. The colours chemically react with the heat and change to its final colour. It is for this reason that the pigments won’t fade when exposed to the elements. This creates a material that through the extreme heat it has been expose to, is very tightly compressed and thus extremely hard, the other added bonus is that the fired porcelain is non-porous.
Haute Allure Exclusive Model Figurine (ltd edn) before firing, the white lace on the piece is actually coloured green but the colour changes during its time in the kiln.
Surfaces with low porosity retain colour better as the lack of the microscopic holes allow the material to absorb and seal the colour in rather than it gradually being eroded over time. High-quality coloured porcelain is able to withstand the UV rays from the sun because of this reason and because of the strong bonds created during the firing process provides a steadfast base for the colour. This is particularly important for the Lladró brand as part of what makes them so unique is their wide range of pastel pieces which are notorious for not fading in the sun, as such, are highly sort after. This why many brands opt to simply add the pastel colour with paint after the firing is done, this however results in a product that can be easily tarnished, difficult of clean and easily affected by the elements.
Mandarin Ducks Limited Edition (left).
Take the Mandarin Ducks by Lladró, many of the colours achieved by the brand are some of the most difficult to develop. The vibrancy and variations of the pigments are extremely hard to perfect in one piece many of the colours in this piece are also some of the quickest to fade. Purples, deep blues, greens and in particular, reds often leech out the fastest or are affected by UV rays. However, because of the high quality of the porcelain and its non-porosity, the colour holds and will last.
So many people favour porcelain because of the longevity that it has. The last thing you would want after finally acquiring a sought after piece is for it to lose what made it so eye catching or vibrant in the first place. This is particularly what singles out Lladró porcelain, because of the delicacy and durability of their colours.