Luminescent Ag15 clusters confined in bovine serum albumin (BSA) have been prepared by a simple wet chemical route. The luminescence, exhibiting a maximum at 685 nm, is observable to the naked eye. The chemical composition of these clusters was analyzed using matrix assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI MS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and energy dispersive analysis of X-rays (EDAX). Intact Ag15@BSA is observed by MALDI MS. Multiple charge states of the cluster are observed confirming the mass assignment. The clusters showed a quantum yield of 10.71% in water and the luminescence was stable in a pH range of 1-12. Stability of the clusters was enhanced by the addition of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP). The clusters showed luminescence in the solid state as well. Evolution of clusters with variation in the amount of reducing agent added shows that the cluster formation goes through an intermediate state of bound silver, formed instantaneously after the addition of Ag+, which transforms to the cluster. High yield synthesis and exciting photophysical properties make our new material interesting for various applications such as biolabeling and imaging. © 2011 The Royal Society of Chemistry.