© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. During the last thirty years, microstructural and technological studies on ceramic glazes have been essentially carried out through the use of Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) combined with energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX). On the contrary, optical microscopy (OM) has been considered of limited use in solving the very complex and fine-scale microstructures associated with ceramic glazes. As the crystallites formed inside glazes are sub- and micrometric, a common misconception is that it is not possible to study them by OM. This is probably one of the reasons why there are no available articles and textbooks and even no visual resources for describing and characterizing the micro-crystallites formed in glaze matrices. A thin section petrography (TSP) for ceramic glaze microstructures does not exist yet, neither as a field of study nor conceptually. In the present contribution, we intend to show new developments in the field of ceramic glaze petrography, highlighting the potential of OM in the microstructural studies of ceramic glazes using petrographic thin sections. The outcomes not only stress the pivotal role of thin section petrography for the study of glaze microstructures but also show that this step should not be bypassed to achieve reliable readings of the glaze microstructures and sound interpretations of the technological procedures. We suggest the adoption by the scientific community of an alternative vision on glaze microstructures to turn thin section petrography for glaze microstructures into a new specialized petrographic discipline. Such an approach, if intensively developed, has the potential to reduce the time and costs of scientific investigations in this specific domain. In fact, it can provide key reference data for the identification of the crystallites in ceramic glazes, avoiding the repetition of exhaustive protocols of expensive integrated analyses.
- Glaze microstructures
- Thin section petrography