Enamels – Enameling
What is enamel, enamelling?
High temperature melting of different components such as silica produces colorless enamels known as “flux”. Its nature is similar to crystal. The enamel may be opaque, opalescent or transparent.
The coloring of the flux is obtained by addition of metal oxides. These enamels are then milled to obtain powders. They are deposited on a metal support. It can be copper, steel, silver, gold and more rarely bronze.
The art of enameling is to fix the enamels on its metal support by short successive cooking in a kiln. The temperature vary from 780 degrees to 900 degrees depending on the powders or techniques used.
Enamel gold jewellery
Enamelled sterling silver jewellery
Necklaces / Pendants
There are several enameling techniques:
Plain Enamelling: Dry powders are sieved to cover all the metal surface, or we can use a spatula with moist enamel, before baking.
Cloisonné: A small wire of metal is placed on a metal plate, shaped according to a drawing, to separate the colors. The enamel powders fill the cavities. They are applied by thin layers and fired at each stage.
Champlevé: The metal is dug in its thickness and then filled with enamel powders, applied by thin layers and fired at each stage.
Basse taille : The metal is ingraved before applying the different layers of transparent enamel powders, by different methods such as hand-engraving, by acid, or by machine-engraving called “guilloché”.
Painting on enamel: The metal plate is covered with enamel. The drawing is made using colored vitrifiable paints fixed by firing in a kiln. Special transparent enamel is usually applied above, to protect the paint.
Grisaille: The subject is modeled with extremely fine white enamel powder and applied with a needle on a dark enamel background. It is laid in successive layers to reinforce the bright places of a drawing.
Plique à jour: The transparent enamel is applied in metal cavities, remaining suspended after cooking, making the effect of stained glass.
Restoration of enamelled jewelery and objects (Before – After)
Cécile Chancerel is a member of the SPEF (Professional Union of French Enamellers).