Beginner’s Guide to Lusterware China: Lusting for Lustreware

In my local antique mall I have noticed a lot of pink lustreware come up for sale.  Now, I haven’t bought any (yet), but it inspired me to go look up information about lustreware.

Wedgwood lustreware display, source
Cup and Saucer from President Teddy Roosevelt’s estate source

Lustreware (or Lusterware) is a pottery with a metallic glaze that gives the special effect of iridescence.  The final glaze lustre is usually composed of different metallic ingredients.  Lustre pottery is nothing new… it’s been around since the 13th century.

pink tea pot, source
large antique set, c 1820 source
It started to become commercially available around 1790.  This was when the pottery companies in Staffordshire, England (so Spode and Wedgwood) figured out how to apply gold into the glaze that then turned pink.  The gold iridescent pink pottery grew very popular. 
pink lustre tea caddy, c 1810 source

There are four principle colors of lustreware: silver/platinum, copper/brown, gold, and pink/purple.

beautiful pitcher, c 1814 source

The most desirable pieces are from the peered of 1790-1800 with the soft rose-pink glaze.

antique jardiniere, c 1820 source

I think the reason I’ve been seeing a lot for sale is because is was popular into the 1940’s… and well, frankly, the estate sales these days feature items from the 1940s-1960s.  

antique teacup, ebay 

Not everything was plates and teapots.  Here is a hen-on-a-nest!! It has both pink/purple and copper color waves of lustre!

antique lustreware Staffordshire hen-on-nest, source

Now what to do with your collection?  You could put your lustreware plates on the wall..

pretty lustreware plates, source

Martha Stewart did… back in 1995! It’s been fashionable though, since the 1790s, so she can’t get all the credit.


How pretty is this pink table set with antique lustreware??

a table set with lustreware from Martha Stewart

I love the pink plates on the wall, but this wedding cake is also lustreware inspired.

Lustreware inspired pink wedding cake, source

1. Lustre Ware
2. Collecting Pink Lustreware 
3. Picture sources are as listed

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  1. May 11, 2015 / 2:30 pm

    I really enjoyed learning more about the history of lustreware. It's all so very pretty and elegant! I think like the pink and gold best. I love plates hanging on a wall, so that would be most likely how I would use them. Thanks for linking up to the Share Your Style party this week too!

    • May 11, 2015 / 5:05 pm

      I would use them on the wall too… except I need to purchase some plates!!

  2. May 12, 2015 / 12:03 am

    Very informative post, thank you for sharing…..the Wedgwood is gorgeous!

    • May 12, 2015 / 1:23 am

      I agree, isn't it pretty?

  3. Anonymous
    May 12, 2015 / 12:45 am

    Excellent post! I just purchased a teapot on eBay, I think it is the start of a new collection!

    • May 12, 2015 / 1:24 am

      Well now you have to get some more pieces to go with the teapot!

  4. May 13, 2015 / 2:08 am

    I dearly love lusterware…it's hard to find around here, but I used to bring a lot back from our annual UK visits. Great post!

    • May 18, 2015 / 12:46 am

      It seems all my favorite China comes from the UK… Guess I need to go back on a shopping trip!

  5. May 13, 2015 / 5:35 am

    Lovely lusterware post!! I've always been drawn to it, love the pink and gold and the pieces that are hand painted and some have sponging. My collection is small, mostly cups, saucers, plates and a gravy boat. I did a post on it a few years ago. You don't see much of it any more. Don't think the younger generations are interested in it.

    • May 18, 2015 / 12:44 am

      Well I am part of the younger generation and *I* like it… But I don't think it will pick up in popularity until pottery barn or someone starts having baby pink in their decorating!

  6. May 13, 2015 / 2:40 pm

    A beautiful and informative post! The Wedgwood china is so gorgeous. I have always wondered what was "it" that gave them that luster. Designer Bunny Williams show some of her pieces displayed in her home, An Affair with a House. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing, Rié

    • May 18, 2015 / 12:45 am

      I had always wondered what gave it the lustre, too!

    • May 18, 2015 / 12:45 am

      I agree, I think it'd be neat to fill a whole wall of it!

  7. May 17, 2015 / 3:38 pm

    I'm a big fan too. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop.xo

    • May 18, 2015 / 12:45 am

      Thanks for stopping by!

  8. May 20, 2015 / 12:08 am

    That is a great post on Lusterware! It is so pretty! Thank you for joining Home Sweet Home!

    • May 20, 2015 / 2:33 pm

      Thank you! It took some time to put it together!

  9. May 20, 2015 / 6:27 pm

    Gorgeous! Thank you for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things! Hope to see you back tomorrow!

    • May 21, 2015 / 10:10 pm

      Thanks for stopping by!

  10. May 21, 2015 / 8:17 pm

    My girlfriend collects Pink Glass – but I've never seen Pink Lusterware – it's just gorgeous !!!
    Pinning a few of them !

    • May 21, 2015 / 10:10 pm

      I hadn't seen any until recently… just saw some more today in an antique mall!