Lustre Under the Microscope

While studying polished rock samples with a reflected light microscope at university, I thought it would be much more interesting to see what lustre glazes looked like instead. Turns out they are pretty stunning.

The lustre effect is created by the formation of metallic nanoparticles just under the surface of the glaze. These particles are so small that they diffract the light to form a range of iridescent colours. While the magnification of the microscope I used to take these photos isn't high enough to see the individual particles, you can still see the development of localised clusters of metal particles within the glaze.