What is Enamel Jewelry? | Jewelry Guide
All of us have heard the word “Enamel” at some point in our lives, mostly related to dentistry. Well, that is not all enameling is about. Enameling is considered to be one of the oldest techniques used to color in jewelry without having to use gemstones. Being an ancient form of jewelry finishing, it hasn’t lost its touch even in this modern era. Additionally, enamel jewelry is considered to be one of the most delicate forms of jewelry, as it is handmade by the enamel artists themselves.
What Is Enamel Jewelry Made of?
Evidence of enameling can be found all the way back to the ancient Persians, back then it was known as “Meenakari”. Enameling is the amalgamation of glass, which is in powder form, on the metal surface. The texture of this powder is much like that of the baby powder. The powdered glass is melted at a reasonably high temperature (1,380-1,560°F) and it is applied to the desired piece of jewelry to give it a vibrant color. There is no way of knowing what color the enamel will produce before its fusion on the metal. The powder does come in different colors but does not give away the vivid color of the enamel.
Enamel jewelry can also be made with colder enamel, which is a technique where the powdered glass is melted at a relatively low temperature. This technique is mostly used for mass production and is cheaper, and also less durable as compared to the jewelry produced using high temperatures.
How Do You Care for Enamel Jewelry?
Just like any other jewelry, enamel jewelry also needs to be cared for and cleaned regularly. Caring for enamel jewelry is much easier than you’d expect.
To clean enamel jewelry:
- Dip the pieces in warm soapy water.
- Leave it in for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Take a soft cloth and rub off the dirt that is visible.
- Give it a rinse again and let it air dry.
Be sure not to drop your enamel jewelry on hard surfaces as it may cause the enamel to break. If the jewelry is damaged, it is advised to take it to a jeweler or an enamel artist who is specialized in this technique. However, keep in mind that the damage to enamel jewelry is mostly irreparable. Using high temperature for fusing new enamel on the older layer may damage it further. There’s also a chance that the new enamel won’t match the original. This is yet another reason that enamel jewelry is considered to be so precious.
What Is the Difference Between Enamel and Cloisonné?
There are a few types of enameling, such as Champlevé, Basse-Taille, Plique à Jour, and Cloisonné. The basic technique is enameling, in which the powdered glass is put through high temperatures in order to melt it and then it’s poured onto the metal. Cloisonné, on the other hand, is one of the original enameling techniques, also known as the cell technique. How does Cloisonne work? First of all, thin gold or silver wires are used to form the outline of a design. This outline forms a cell, which is then filled with the enamel obtained through the melting process, filling them with rich glowing colors. This form of decorative technique is used in both jewelry and other adornments. The cloisonné technique was perfected in China and is seen in a lot of their traditional objects and pottery.
What Are the Benefits of Buying Enamel Jewelry?
The first and foremost benefit of buying enamel jewelry is that it comes with a lot of options to choose from. There are tons of colors and beautiful designs available out there. You can get the jewelry that matches your outfit and you can frequently change the styles. Another important reason to buy this type of jewelry is the uniqueness of each design since it is handmade. There is a very high possibility that the enamel jewelry you got your hands on is a piece that is one of a kind.
Enamel jewelry is cheaper depending on the craftsmanship and the brand you choose. The mass-produced enamel jewelry is cheaper as compared to the jewelry made by an individual artist. Enamel jewelry can last for years if handled and stored properly. Another benefit of buying enamel jewelry is that it is very easy to clean and has high scratch resistance. Additionally, instead of going with the traditional jewelry designs with stones, you can always opt for a unique design that may be the reason for you to become the talk of the party.