Vitreous enamel is a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850 °C (1380 and 1560 °F). The powder melts, flows, and then hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating on metal. Vitreous enamel has many excellent properties: it is smooth, hard, chemically resistant, durable, scratch resistant, long-lasting colour fastness, easy-to-clean, and cannot burn. Enamel is glass, not paint, so it does not fade with UV light. Its disadvantages are its tendency to crack or chip when the substrate is stressed or bent. Colour in enamel is obtained by the addition of various minerals, often metal oxides cobalt, praseodymium, iron, or neodymium.
These enamel jugs were highly popular in South Africa in the earlier part of the 20th Century, adorning many a household for every-day use. An early 20th Century Enamel pitcher can set one back anywhere between £10 to over £30 (R100.00 to over R300.00) nowadays.