I’m a total magpie. Anything that sparkles, twinkles, has an iridescent glow or rainbow sheen is fair game for feathering my nest; in fact, it’s just a wonder I haven’t accidentally bashed my beak on an over-clean window.
At home, mirrors glint on walls and tabletops, colored glass sits on window sills, and one of my favorite types of porcelain is lusterware.
See that opalescent sheen, like a child’s soap bubbles? This is lusterware. That rainbow gleam is caused by metallic oxides which are added to pottery glaze after the porcelain is baked and enameled.
Like so many of today’s collectable vintage items, lusterware was considered commonplace back in the day. It was inexpensive, functional and sold in stores like five-and-dimes. Much of the lusterware you see today was made in Japan after World War II. But some turn-of-the-20th-century lusterware was made in Czechoslovakia and Germany. And because many of the pieces are marked, that makes collecting from a particular region or time period a lot easier.
Yet lusterware of different styles, time periods and brands works well together. Here you’ll see my German lusterware canisters.
These are representatives of three different sets made by two different companies: White & Block and Mepoco. Yet because they’re in the same basic colors, they give the feel of a matched set.
Best of all, vintage lusterware turns up at thrift stores. I came by this tureen and ladle, as well as assorted luster bowls and tea cups at different thrift stores over the years.
Sometimes, I’ll find an orphaned saucer while I’m thrifting and I’ll just set it aside. Since lusterware looks good with any number of other lusterware pieces, it usually isn’t long before I find a saucerless cup looking for an appropriate match…
Yes, basically, it’s my own dating service for lonely porcelain.
Collectively, lusterware can make the kind of cheerful table setting that I’ve used for dinners and even a tea.
So if you’re looking to put a little shine in your dining and retro in your room, lusterware can easily give polish to your own occasion.