The art of artistic enamel has more than two thousand years.
The oldest known products using enamel are metal objects with soldered plates of blue glass, made between 1425 and 1300 BC, which were found in Mycenae (Greece). Since the VI century BC, the Greeks have been systematically melting enamel on gold jewelry. Iran (Persia), India and China have made significant contributions to the technology. The classical history of art examines the development of artistic enameling in connection with the formation of the culture of Central European countries.
The standard samples that had a decisive influence on the jewelry art of medieval Europe are considered to be cloisonne Byzantine enamels in gold, created before the XII century. The main technological principle of enameling is the firing of metal and colored vitreous mass (enamel), in which there is a strong connection, adhesion of materials with each other at high temperature. Traditional methods of artistic enameling are cloisonne enamels, notched enamels, enamels on embossed relief, stained glass enamel, painted enamel, miniature on enamel, enamel on guilloche background.
Jewelry with enamel came to us from a deep history. These technologies were possessed by the ancient Egyptians and Romans, who created the most magnificent objects of their culture and the rarest jewelry accessories in beauty.
In ancient Russia, the technique of working with enamel was known as early as the tenth century.However, our ancestors called it “finifty”, which means “brilliant” in Greek. In addition to jewelry and household utensils, this coating was often used to decorate churches, palaces and houses of wealthy people, as well as to create icons.
And in the last century, the Art Nouveau style was born, which greatly affected the growth of popularity of this technology. Plus, the development of chemistry made it possible to significantly expand the color palette of enamel, which allowed jewelers to create jewelry unsurpassed in its beauty.
Despite a significant and convincing history, artistic enameling is still in the process of development, and the quality of work is determined primarily by the practical experience of the enameler, as the complex problems of enamel composition, firing and adhesion of metal to enamel, as well as many other technical issues continue to improve.
Artists working with traditional jewelry enamels today also actively use hot technical enamels, which allows them to expand the artistic expressiveness of modern images and forms. The works of Russian enamel artists have been appreciated not only at domestic professional art exhibitions, but also at major international forums: in the ancient enamel center of Europe – Limoges (France), in La Coruna (Spain), Covington (USA) and other cities and countries of the world.
Hot enamel: its types and technology and nuances of manufacture
The technology of applying hot enamel to jewelry is much more complicated than cold:
The raw material for the creation of enamel is vitreous plates, which the master grinds to obtain a powder and mixes with water, making a paste.
Opaque enamel has received a "nickname" – "blind coating".
Then the decoration is sent to the oven for solidification. The temperature is selected depending on what alloy the decoration is made of and what composition of enamel is used.
After firing, the product is ground and re-sent to the furnace to obtain a perfectly beautiful and smooth enamel surface.
Applying enamel to jewelry is a technologically very complex procedure and depends on how intricate the pattern is to be done on the jewelry. The masters say that the jeweler can bake the product up to 100 times, and the main thing at the same time is to accurately withstand the technological procedure, otherwise the product can be easily spoiled.
There are several varieties of hot enamel: • cloisonne. In this case, the paste is poured into cells or so-called ribbons between the partitions in the decoration, which are soldered to the product in advance. Experts say that this technique of creating beauty came to us from Byzantium; • excavated. The enamel is poured into the recesses of the decoration, which are drilled and cut into the product according to the shape of the pattern. In this technique, the main thing is to correctly and accurately create recesses on a tiny accessory.
Painted with colored enamel
There is also an interesting technology for painting dishes and household items with colored cold enamel. Of course, no partitions and recesses are used here. The material is applied in layers with a special tool and the product is fired in stages until the artist finishes the sketch planned by the designer.
And the technology of seeded cold enamel is also very interesting, when the painting of the drawing is done on a stencil with powders of different colors. In the modern world, extremely beautiful paintings made by this method have gained popularity, which today successfully decorate ceremonial halls and expensive restaurants.
Products decorated with guilloche technology with enamel coating have been very popular since the time of Faberge. Guilloche is an ornament made in the form of a dense grid of wavy lines that intertwine with each other in a special way, creating a pattern. Guilloche patterns give the surface of the products a special beauty, which, shimmering in the rays of light, looks very expensive and exquisite. Faberge, a world-famous company, has developed over 200 variants of guilloche and in the XIX century used more than 150 shades of colors. Faberge's famous Easter eggs still amaze the curious with the play of colors and the perfection of details.
An interesting fact is that the guilloche technology is so complex that it is still used as one of the types of protection of some banknotes
Differences between hot and cold enamel
Hot enamel is more durable and the price for it is higher than for cold. In cold enameling, there is another technique - finish. After applying it, it spreads out in multicolored patterns, like gasoline on water. It turns out a kind of colored streaks.
Hot pouring is more even because it is durable. There are irregularities on the cold enamel, since it is not polished. Still hot glaze glitters brightly.
Cold mixes also have advantages. They are distinguished by simplicity, unpretentiousness, plasticity. No special tools are required to make such jewelry. Cold enameling is suitable for any alloys.
Enamel on gold and silver
Stunning collections of gold and silver jewelry with enamel make the hearts of the most sophisticated connoisseurs of beauty tremble. Among the huge selection of earrings, rings, bracelets, the harmony of juicy shades, faceted gems pleases the eye. Classics in the form of black and white are also on trend today.
Silver pendants, pendants with enamel look just a masterpiece. Coated rings produce massive and refined. They are sometimes encrusted with stones. Original sets with enamel will be a decoration for girls of any age and status. Smooth, even wedding rings with a Greek pattern on them look great.