Enamel

Enameling

Enameling is a traditional craft that dates back to Ancient Egypt and Rome. The bright and vibrant colors that can be created in enamel decorate such well-known art as the Fabergé eggs. Cloisonne is a type of enameling where thin wire is used to separate each of the colors used.

Enamel is a mixture of silica, potash and soda. By fusing these different components at high temperature and then pulverizing them, one obtains a colourless powder or "flux", which is closer to crystal than to glass.

One colours this powder by adding metallic oxides. The resulting mixture is applied to a metal base, or trivet. Gold, silver, bronze, copper or steel may be used as bases for an enameled piece.

The art of the enameller consists of fixing the powder enamel to its metal base with a series of short firings, at approximately 800°C .

Several techniques are used for the creation of art's objects or jewellery enamel: Painted enamel, Grisaille or Chequering, Champlevé , Cloisonné , Basse-taille and Plique a jour.

The sites listed here exemplify some of the best enamel work being done today and as an added bonus, all the website owners have included their favorite enameling tips .

The Enameling Process

One artisan shares her technique for enameling using powdered enamels and a small kiln. Her tutorial offers great advice on the entire process including finishing the edges and soldering the jump rings when making jewelry.

Enameling Tip
To transform your enameled pieces from rudimentary to professional, be sure to remove the oxidization from along the edges of your piece. I like using a a Dremel masonry grinding bit in my Flexshaft to grind the edges clean. I also use water to prevent bits of debris from flying around my workroom and to protect my health.