Jewelry enamel techniques, a closer look
The craft of enameling is centuries old and is probably due to the insertion of small pieces of glass into a gold object. The step of inserting glass and melting it down is not that great. The first cloisonné pieces are found in the fifth century BC and the technique was widely applied in the Byzantine empire. In cloisonne the colors are kept separate by an upright flat wire. The spaces are filled with different color email powder. Every color is in his own cell. After heating the object is polished to get a nice, smooth email.
Little travel clock in "Japanese Style" signed BAUGRAND, enamel Antoine Tard; Cloisonné enamel on gold; France, circa 1870.
Email peint originated in the sixteenth century. Basically it is a miniature picture painted in email paints. During the eighteenth century the painted email technique developed to great height. In order to make it even more difficult, the painted scene could be applied upon a guilloche background.An 18th century miniature women's watch with a Fête galante scene, signed Romilly Paris, circa 1760.
Guilloché is a mechanical engraved line decoration mainly used for fine pocket watches. When translucent enamel is applied to this background the engraved lines shine through in dark and light shades, creating a soft, silky appearance. 18 karat rosé-golden men pocket watch, cobalt blue enamelled on a yellow gold surface and parellunette, approx 1795.
Plique-à-jour, like cloisonné, consists of cells, but without a background. The light shines through the email, resembling a miniature version of stained glass. The Art Nouveau goldsmiths brought the technique to great height, which resulted in a natural appearance of their jewellery.A necklace of gold plated silver with a flower and leaf motif, executed in plique-à-jour. Set with sapphires and Mississippi pearls, the so called "dog teeth'.France c. 1915.
Email en ronde bosse, literally enamel on an object in the round, in this case a small figure. Several layers of different colours are applied, every colour needing its own firing. The technique was very popular in the Renaissance in France and Spain. A pavé diamond set horse with a jockey worked in enamel en ronde bosse on 18k gold.iBirmingham JL: T = 1943-44