Kudos to Akio Ikesue and Yan Lin Aung for their recent article in Nature Photonics. Ikesue (bias confession: he is an ACerS member) and Yan report on recent developments in the field. From their summary:
The opaque and translucent cement and clay often used in tableware are not appropriate for optical applications because of the high content of optical scattering sources, that is, defects. Recently, scientists have shown that by eliminating the defects, a new, refined ceramic material — polycrystalline ceramic — can be produced. This advanced ceramic material offers practical laser generation and is anticipated to be a highly attractive alternative to conventional glass and single-crystal laser technologies in the future. Here we review the history of the development of ceramic lasers, the principle of laser generation based on this material, some typical results achieved with ceramic lasers so far, and discuss the potential future outlook for the field.
Clearly, they think the potential is pretty bright, so the story is a good read.