There’s nothing else like real gold.
When you see gold or platinum on porcelain pieces, it is fundamentally the precious metals it reminds you of. Although most people think it’s gold leafing applied onto finished porcelain, gold and platinum lustre is a delicate traditional technique used to apply and embed gold and platinum onto a porcelain piece, so it is set into the piece, rather than just placing it on top of the porcelain.
Metallic lustre is essentially an overglaze. It is applied to an otherwise complete piece that is completely fired and is a completely separate process. Precious metal such as gold, platinum and silver have a lower melting point and this technique is used with a lower firing temperature point, just enough to set the lustre, and not high enough for it to melt off and be displaced from where it was applied on. The gold lustre used in Lladró pieces are 24k gold lustres, whilst the platinum lustres include a platinum alloy with small quantities of silver. The higher grade of gold lustre is why Lladró’s pieces shine much more like real gold, there’s a higher percentage of gold in the lustre, which is also much more difficult to set in the kiln.
The results are just phenomenal, with the vibrancy and multiple textures, gold and platinum lustre adds something extra to porcelain, and captures the light tremendously well.
THE TECHNICALITIES OF METALLIC LUSTRE APPLICATION
Lladró's A Regal Steed Horse Figurine matt white finish contrasts elegantly with the gold lustre treatment. Also discover our comprehensive guide to Lladró’s porcelain chandeliers.
Lustres are formulations that include precious metals such as gold, platinum and silver. As these are technically metal, it is mixed with compounds that enable for it to be liquid upon application. This liquid has to be in the right texture and viscosity so it is liquid enough to be applied evenly. The formulation tends to thicken up with time and has to be checked every time it is used to ensure an even application. If the formula is thick and blotchy, this will cause blistering or flaking of the gold lustre in the kiln. There might also be colour variations due to the uneven coating.
Compared to other ceramics such as earthenware and stoneware, setting gold and platinum lustre on porcelain has to be set at a higher temperature. Lladró uses a proprietary high temperature single firing method that enables them to create the quality of pieces that other brands are unable to. Click here to read more.
CARE INSTRUCTIONS FOR GOLD AND PLATINUM LUSTRE
All pieces with gold lustre has to be taken care of in a different way to other porcelains.
Lladró's Day Dreaming at Sea Mermaid Figurine with Silver Lustre.
For dusting and cleaning, use a soft clean cloth or a makeup brush with soft bristles, never any rough or abrasive material that might scratch the surface.
With platinum lustre, your piece will turn darker over time as the formula also contains a small proportion of silver. When this happens, simply dampen a soft cloth with a little alcohol and softly rub the surface of the piece.
Even for tablewares with gold lustre, these porcelain pieces are now not dishwasher safe and microwave safe. If it is placed in the dishwasher or microwave, the lustre will either peel or come completely off.
- Click here to learn how to clean and care for your Lladro pieces.
- Minimalist guide to cleaning white porcelain