The Magic of Lustred Glass | Wearing Glass

The Magic of Lustred Glass | Wearing Glass

Discover the world of lustred glass, from its historic roots with Tiffany to the modern techniques of applying and firing glass lustres, and explore my latest work.

A lovely customer emailed me yesterday about my Bluebottle Earrings and before I knew it I was writing a long message back rambling enthusiastically about the history and chemistry of lustred glass. I ramped the email back, and decided to write this post instead.

So let's start with a history lesson. Lustred glass, also known as iridescent glass, has been around for quite some time. However it was the legendary Louis Tiffany (stained glass artist and designer) who revolutionised glassmaking with his unique techniques.

Tiffany's lustred glass is often refered to as Favril Glass and was a gamechanger. He added metallic oxides to the glass while it was still molten, creating a shimmering rainbow-like finish. 


Now, let's get a bit geeky and talk chemistry! The key to capturing that amazing irridescence is in the metallic oxides added to the glass. When tin, silver or copper are applied to the surface of the glass, they form a thin layer that diffracts the light and creates an incredible sheen. But it's not just about the metals, the type of glass and firing process can affect how the oxides react. It's a delicate balance making every piece I make different.


Now, are you ready to get hands-on? Here's a basic rundown of how to apply glass lustre. First you need to clean your glass thoroughly to ensure the lustre adheres properly, choose your lustre.

If you're using a powdered lustre, mix it with a bit of flower oil to create a thin paste before applying it to the glass. Dip a soft brush into the solution and apply a thin, even coat to the surface of the glass.

Be patient and take your time, it's important to apply the lustre smoothy. Once you're happy with the application, let it dry for at least 24 hours.


No comes the exciting part - firing the glass! Carefully place your lustred glass in a kiln and fire it to between 550°C and 600°C (1022°F and 1112°F). The exact temperature and duration depend on the type of glass and lustre you’re using, so always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.

During firing, the metallic oxides will fuse to the glass surface, creating that gorgeous iridescent finish. After the firing cycle is complete, let the kiln cool down gradually before removing your piece.


Speaking of beautiful pieces, have you seen my latest creations? I’ve been experimenting with different lustres and firing techniques, and I’m so excited to share the results with you.

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