What is gold lustre?
January 08, 2020
At MacKenzie-Childs, we embellish with elegance, and that’s why you’ll find that so many of our products have one-of-a-kind touches that range from our classic hand-painted Courtly Checks to flirty beaded fringes and tassels.
One of our favorite finishes is hand-painted gold lustre. It’s on many of our products, including our porcelain and glassware, and it’s how we decorate many of our Aurora Artisanal ceramics, which are made right here in Aurora, New York.
In fact, gold lustre is one of our signature style statements and first appeared on our ceramic pieces decades ago, says Carolyn Becker, our product manager for ceramics. And, yes, it is real 22K gold, and it is spelled lustre (re) and not luster (er).
The process of applying gold lustre on ceramics is a bit of an abracadabra moment because when it’s painted on—just prior to the final firing—the lustre looks like ordinary red paint. It turns gold after being fired at a peak temperature of 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit for an average of about eight hours. The red color comes from red dye, which, along with fragrant oils, is added to the 22K gold. The red dye makes it easier to see the lustre during the application process.
Painting gold lustre requires an experienced, steady hand. Judy Quill, who has been with MacKenzie-Childs since 2008, has been painting gold lustre for five years.
Judy says gold lustre tends to be thinner than regular paint, because of the added oils, so it’s important to get the right amount on her brush: too much and the gold lustre could run; too little and it can look inconsistent. To accomplish a good application, Judy paints every piece on a turntable that she can slowly turn with her left hand while holding a paintbrush in her right hand.
It’s also important to remember that items with gold lustre, as well as those with transfers or special embellishments, need a little extra attention to keep them looking good for years to come.
Carolyn recommends that you always hand-wash items with gold lustre with a sponge or soft cloth in a mild detergent that does not have a citrus base and warm (not hot) water. Also, avoid placing citrus such as lemon wedges directly on gold lustre, including on a glass with a gold lustre rim. Finally, don’t use items with gold lustre in a freezer, microwave or oven.
Following these simple guidelines can ensure that your gold lustre will continue to add a golden touch for years to come, helping to turn your everyday celebrations into something extraordinary.