By: Emily Laput
Simply put, enameling is an art form where glass is fused onto some kind of metal surface. Enameling is often associated with home decor, like being used for sinks and cookware, but enameling for jewelry transforms plain materials into objects of beauty.
This is achieved by liquid glass being fused with metal at temperatures up to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit! In our new jewelry line from Nicole Barr, the jewelry is enameled by hand and fired multiple times - typically five times - before the finishing touches are added, such as stones and being polished.
Nicole Barr uses the Plique a Jour enameling process to create their exclusive and lustrous pieces. The Plique a Jour method allows the pieces to resemble stained glass. This is achieved by suspending the liquid enamel between sheets of gold and silver, then firing it at high temperatures. The result is a shimmering and translucent enamel.
There are many other enameling methods used throughout the jewelry design industry, but another method that Nicole Barr uses is called Basse Taille, or “low-cut.” In this technique, an intricate design is first engraved into the silver or gold piece - adding dimension and texture to the enamel - and the patterns are accentuated after the enamel is fired. The piece is given a brilliance of tone.
While enameling may sound simple, it is a complex art form that requires years of experience in order to master the various techniques. A steady hand, eye for design, patience, and creativity are necessary.
Marks of Design is so excited to be introducing enameling to our community because it’s a classic art form that is eye-catching and stunning to admire and wear.