Iridescence/Opalescence

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Surfaces that seem to change color when viewed from different angles. Mesopotamian artisans in the 9th century learned how to create iridescent pottery (“lusterwear”) using metal glazes, and this technique was frequently used in Islamic art over the following centuries. The finish became especially popular among Art Nouveau artists working at the turn of the 20th century—such as Louis Comfort Tiffany, Lajos Mack, and Lucien Levy Dhurmer—who were drawn to the optical nature of lustrous glasses and ceramic glazes. While modern designers largely abandoned the finish for a more austere aesthetic, recently fashion designer Alexander McQueen and artist Tomas Saraceno have exploited its futuristic qualities and otherworldly appearance.

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