Search This Blog


Thursday, July 29, 2010


Another one of my latest passions in jewelry is centered on enamel. This rather complicated art dates way back, before Art Nouveau, where it was very popular, even before Victorian times. In fact, it was used in ancient Greek and Roman times.

How is it done? Here's what a little online research yielded:

Special glass powders are melted then attached to metals, although different applications and repeated firings produce unique styles and designs.
The process of making enamel jewelry has been handed down through generations and jewelry designers of our present times are still hooked on doing them. The evolution of this intricate art of glass painting was evident through history and fashion changes and now made possible through the use of modern technologies. The three most popular enamel jewelry techniques are cloisonné, guilloché and plique-à-jour.

That last mentioned technique, plique-à-jour, was used extensively by Art Nouveau designers. It is a very delicate method in which the enamelling has no backing, only sides. The designer, Cellini, used this method and his pieces are today, highly collectible. The resulting effect is that of stained glass and truly lovely. 

My first contact with enamelled jewelry was cloisonne. I fell in love with it in my early 20's when cloisonne earrings were very much in vogue. I no longer have these pieces, but I still have a sweet cloisonne bangle I've yet to list in my shop at RUBY LANE.  But what I do have right now, are the  absolutely stunning pieces shown in this blog. 

The delightful 2" tall brooch shown at the top was made in France (stamped on back) from 14k gold. The beads are a combination of genuine jade and cultured pearls in superb condition. But the eye-catching part of the pin is that enamelled cameo of a young woman. You must slip over to our SHOP to see all the photos of this one. You can enlarge them there and study the glorious details of the artwork that has gone into this cameo: the red-orange scarf and her bright green dress are luminescent with carefully hand-painted enamelling. And look at the fantastic detail on her face! This is art that you don't hang on a wall: you wear it! It's magnificent! 

Now, check out this incredible ring! I have never seen anything like this one. Uttterly beautiful and utterly unique, this is artwork in a ring. Again, it's made from 14k gold and apart from the enamelling, it has rubies and sapphires to add even more value. But honestly, you've just got to go over to our SHOP to get a really good look at this one. When I look at it through a loop, the amount of work that has gone into painting on the tiny flowers and leaves is mind-blowing. And it's so beautifully done.  Red, green and deep blue enamel, finished to a high gloss sheen, and wow, another fantastic work of art that you wear. 

Enamelled jewelry may not be for everyone: it will appeal to those with eclectic tastes who look for something truly different, something worth collecting, something that is a conversation piece. This ring and brooch above are all of those. I think they're out of this world. What do you think?

No comments: