Your jewelry box may have exquisite gold and silver jewelry, but the collection you take pride in is lacking if a gorgeous piece of enamel jewelry is missing. A piece of sheer handcrafted art bursting with vibrant colors can add life to any outfit or occasion. Whether it’s an enamel pendant or an earring, the brilliant charm is enough to make your heart flutter.
This article will explore the world of enamel jewelry, its history, different types, design techniques, popular pieces, and more.
So, let’s dive in and discover the allure of enamel jewelry. This delightful blog piece has everything you need to know about enamel jewelry.
What is enamel?
Enamel, a glass-like coating, is created by melting powdered glass onto metal in a fiery furnace (temp over 1500 degrees). The outcome is a tough, shiny surface that is clear, solid, or even slightly see-through, which would not be possible with metals alone.
Enamel flaunts a vivid spectrum of colors used to create beautiful vases, bowls, caskets, and jewelry. Even everyday household items like pots, pans, cooktops, appliances, and other surfaces use enamel for a durable and glossy finish.
What is enameling in jewelry?
Enamel in jewelry? It’s like painting on precious metals! Gold, silver, copper—they all become magical canvases. Applying enamel demands precision and expertise. It requires a high level of artistry and skill to create a masterpiece. The kind of enameling technique a craftsman uses determines its quality and value.
Enamel jewelry is the fusion of fine art and jewelry design, seamlessly blending the worlds of painting, chemistry, and metallurgy. If you are wondering what is enamel jewelry called? It has more than one name, most probably because of its antiquity. If you hear about terms such as painted glass, porcelain enamel, or vitreous enamel, remember they are all referring to enamel jewelry.
The history of enamel jewelry
Enameling is used as a decoration technique in jewelry. But what is enameling? Glass of specific composition is fused over the underlying metal. It’s an ancient art with a rich history spanning different cultures and periods. Enameled jewelry has been found in excavations dating back to the 11th and 13th century BC in the Meditteranean region.
Mycenaean goldsmiths inlaid enamels into gold rings, dating back to the 13th century BC, marking the earliest known instances of enamel in gold jewelry. Cut back to recent times; it made a big splash on the Western fashion scene during the Art Nouveau movement from 1890 to 1910.
Enamel jewelry techniques- an interesting overview
The fascinating thing about enamel jewelry is that different cultures produced their unique technique. These can be called variations because the underlying principle remains the same. With time, we have a treasure trove of tried and tested methods that lend various heart-tugging jewelry pieces. Let’s look at them.
It should be noted that the French experimented a lot with enamel design, and therefore many enameling techniques bear quintessential French names. This famous technique, bearing a poetic name, means “letting in daylight.”
It has been in use since the early 20th century. Here, transparent enamel is usually melted and pressed multiple times onto a metal filigree to produce a stained glass look. The labor of love creates a glowing light effect in this delicate piece.
2. Champlevé enamel
It’s a no-brainer that this gain is a French technique used since the 12th century and makes use of a metal base with carvings and etchings to form channels or small compartments which can hold the enamel. The metal boundaries separate the different enamel colors. This technique often results in bold and vibrant jewelry pieces.
basse-taille (13th century) is a somewhat similar technique which involves etching at varying depths, skilfully playing with the transparency to create a three-dimensional effect.
3. Cloisonné enamel
A technique dating back to the 13th century BCE, flattened wires are laid over a metal stage, creating intricate designs. The gaps between the wireframe are filled with enamel fondant (a blend of glass compounds and metal oxides) fired to perfection. The design outlines are done with gold or silver, complementing the enamel to bring breathtakingly beautiful pieces to life.
4. Ronde bosse
During the Gothic and Renaissance eras, a challenging three-dimensional enamel technique of the 15th century was primarily used on small golden sculptures and decorative pieces with rounded or irregular shapes.
Guilloché enamel involves engraving a pattern onto metal and then applying translucent enamel, giving a beautiful liquid silk effect. The firing process gives a distinct character to every guilloché enamel bracelet, earring, necklace, and ring, making each piece unique in its own right. Sadly, it’s a dying art today.
Pertabghar (19th century, which emerged around 1870) is an Indian enamel method in which a generous amount of heated green paste is applied over a meticulously crafted golden surface or background. The Irish practiced this during the 6th to 8th century, and it was known as marquetry enamel.
It is a traditional form of jewelry making, which uses a variety of colorful enamel put into grooves and engravings of ornaments. It originated from the Indian subcontinent and was inspired by the Iranian craftsman.
Metals such as brass, copper, silver, and gold offer diverse options for creating exquisite meenakari designs. In India, Rajasthan and Gujarat are synonymous with Mīnākārī artifacts and jewelry.
Why should you get enamel jewelry?
Enamel jewelry has a rich history and has evolved to meet fashion sensibilities. The intricate artistry and vibrant color combination are prime reasons why it is wooing people who love it for its fresh appeal. A piece of vintage accessory, bringing the best of modernity and fashion, is an excellent addition to your wardrobe.
As a collectible, it often passes from one generation to another. Don’t be surprised if someday an enameled scarab brooch pops up from your family heirloom. The mindboggling shades and affordability are significant factors for its soaring popularity.
Enamel silver jewelry can set the tone for any occasion, from weddings to even offices. Enamel silver necklace has always been in demand due to their look and style statement. If you are in Dubai, there’s more to the glitter than the gold souks! Fine silver jewelry is a must-have. Before you do so, we recommend you glance through this insightful article on the charm of fine silver jewelry as a perfect gift from your Dubai trip.
Angelina Chen, senior VP, Chrsitie’s jewelry department opines -“In jewelry today, enameling enables designers to highlight vibrant colors of deep intensity and a saturation that lives perfectly on social media.”
Popular Enamel Jewelry Pieces
A piece of elegance and charm woven as a wearable accessory, let’s look at the popular jewelry pieces delighting jewelry owners and fashionistas.
1. Enamel Rings
Enamel rings are a popular choice for those looking to add a colorful accent to their hands. Whether it’s a single enamel band or a statement cocktail ring, enamel rings can be found in a range of designs, from delicate and dainty to bold and eye-catching.
2. Enamel Earrings
Enamel earrings are a great way to frame your face with a splash of color. Whether you prefer studs, hoops, or dangle earrings, enamel options are available in an array of shapes, sizes, and colors, allowing you to express your unique style.
3. Enamel Pendants
Unleash your personal style with enamel pendants, as these exquisite adornments effortlessly combine vibrant hues with timeless charm, adding a touch of artistic flair to any ensemble. Elevate your jewelry collection with these eye-catching pieces that capture the essence of individuality and creativity.
4. Enamel Bracelets
Enamel bracelets can be worn individually or stacked for a bolder look. From enamel bangles to charm bracelets adorned with enamel accents, these pieces add a playful and colorful touch to any wrist.
Things to consider when buying enamel jewelry
When selecting enamel jewelry, there are a few considerations to keep in mind to ensure you find the perfect piece for your style:
1. Quality of enamel jewelry
Look for well-crafted enamel jewelry made with high-quality materials and attention to detail. Sometimes resin is used instead of glass which produces low-quality jewelry. Ensure the pieces you pick have the enamel in good condition, free of chips or cracks.
2. Metal used in enamel jewelry
Gold is resistant to tarnishing and serves as excellent enamel jewelry. Fine silver enamel jewelry is also a good option because of the grayish tone silver lends. You can also opt for less expensive enamel jewelry with bronze, brass, and copper, as they tightly keep the enamel in place. Other metal alloys and plated jewelry may last only a short time. Pick wisely.
3. Enamel color
Choose enamel colors that complement your skin tone and personal preferences.
4. Occasion of wearing enamel jewelry
Think about whether you want a piece for everyday wear or for special occasions. And the seller is the best guide to produce an array of choices to suit your needs.
5. The budget of buying enamel jewelry
Set a budget and explore options within your price range without compromising on quality. Usually gold and silver enamel jewelry have higher price range compared to other metals as base. Also, antique pieces and a brand name would definitely take the price higher.
6. Choosing enamel jewelry seller
Make sure you buy your enamel jewelry from a reputed seller. It ensures that they have a fire-torched good product, which guarantees longevity. Also, a seller of genuine products would be able to answer most queries related to the product and its making.
Caring for Enamel Jewelry
To keep your enamel jewelry looking its best, it’s essential to follow proper care and maintenance practices:
1. Storage of enamel jewelry
Store enamel jewelry in a soft pouch or individual compartments to prevent scratching.
2. Enamel jewelry handling
Avoid exposing enamel jewelry to harsh chemicals, extreme temperatures, and excessive force. Also, chlorine in swimming pools is known to cause damage and discolouration.
3. Cleaning procedure of enamel jewelry
Use a soft cloth or a mild soap solution to gently clean the enamel surface. Avoid abrasive cleaners or rough materials that can damage the enamel.
4. Maintenance of enamel jewelry
Regularly inspect your enamel jewelry for any signs of damage or loose components. If needed, seek professional repair to maintain its integrity. It’s a highly skilled area and poor workmanship can cause permanent damage.
Hop in for a true enamel jewelry delight
Enamel jewelry offers a captivating blend of artistry, craftsmanship, and color. Whether you opt for traditional designs or contemporary styles, enamel jewelry adds a pop of color and personality to any style statement.
Highstreet Jewelry has brought fashion into the everyday lives of people in Dubai and the world over with its wide range of silver jewelry collections. We have some of the finest stock of enamel jewelry for different style statements and moods. Go ahead and embrace the vibrant world of enamel jewelry at Highstreet Jewelry and let your style shine through.
Is enamel jewelry suitable for everyday wear?
Enamel jewelry can be worn daily, but it’s important to handle it with care and follow proper maintenance practices to preserve its beauty and durability. And it’s also safe.
Is enamel jewelry expensive?
Jewelry comes in different shades and base material choices. Given the large number of options available, it is affordable. Factors like design intricacy, technique, and the base metal used in the background significantly determine price due to the skilled labor involved.
How long does enamel jewelry last?
Usually, if appropriately cared for and maintained, enamel jewelry is durable and can last for several years, even decades. Low-quality enamel or resin will wear away. Also, longevity depends on how often you are using it and the nature of the activities you are involved in.
Is enamel jewelry waterproof?
Though enamel is a hard substance, it can get discolored and lose its beauty on exposure to minerals in the water. Swimming in pools while wearing a piece of enamel jewelry is also not advised because chlorine is reactive to the enamel.
Does enamel jewelry fade?
Only low-quality enamel jewelry and jewelry that uses resin instead of enamel will likely fade. The longer the enamel has been under fire during its making process, the more durable it is. Make sure you ask the seller about the process involved.