When it comes to creating and designing jewelry pieces, there are a lot of materials to choose from. One of the most precious materials used by jewelry makers are the enamel. It is one of the most intricate and sophisticated design that you could decorate in a jewelry item. This material had always been relevant when it comes to stylistic and technical aspects of jewelry. Many of the individuals may actually use this jewelry without realizing what it is. You should be able to recognize this material in order for us to give further appreciation on its beauty. To help you out, here are some of its facts that you should be able to know more about.
An enamel is an opaque or semi-transparent glassy substance. It is applied to metallic and/or other hard surfaces for decoration or protective coating. This material can be created in a variety of colors. However, the hardest to work on is the red palette. When working with the metal gold, it is very unpredictable as to what color would be the result once it is fired in the kiln. The reason behind this is because the gold metal produces a quartz which is supposed to give the red color, however, this material often behaves unpredictably when fired in the kiln.
There are 4 fundamental techniques of enamel. Such techniques are cloisonne, champleve, painted, and the hardest of them all is called plique-a-jour.
- The cloisonne technique is very time consuming. This technique forms the contours of the ornament and form cells which are then filled with enamels’ powder. Beforehand, thin metal strips have to be soldered onto the edge before applying to the enamel which makes the process consume a lot of time.
- The champleve technique, on the other hand, is a very ancient process. This technique was based on cutting grooves on the surface of the metal of ample thickness, it will then be filled with enamels, and fired.
- The technique of painted enamels is applied through a flat metal surface usually used together with a brush.
- Lastly, plique-a-jour is a complicated technique which is done through stretching enamels across a very thin frame. Doing this technique involves relying on the thickness of the layer of enamels. If this process is wrongly done, it could lead to breaking the material.
If you wish your enamel jewelry to prolong its life, make sure to be careful not to drop it on hard surfaces. There is a high possibility that the material would instantly break away. However, if such thing happens, you are still able to ask for help to restore the jewelry. Similar to other jewelry items, this kind of jewelry needs constant care. So, make sure to clean it regularly and handle it carefully. On the other hand, the most reliable produced jewelry of this material is made through natural materials which includes quartz with added natural dies (e.g. gold).
One of the most important thing that you have to keep in mind if you want to work with enamels is that you have to be able to get a feel of them. You have to be able to learn things like which type of layer would give your desired effect, the right amount of temperature to fire it with, the appropriate time to pull it out of the kiln, etc. When it comes to work, the most challenging part is to from a simple craftsman to a professional flair; and this goes with any kind of work as well.
Enamels are actually very flexible materials. You can use it for jewelry or you can use it as element for interior design. Enamel has a very wide range of used in the whole wide world. Its price depends on the brand of the product, the craftsman’s quality, and of course the kind of material used. There actually two types of enamels – hot and cold. The cold enamels are cheaper compared to the hot ones.