Enamelling for jewellery

May 21, 2008

Found this great site which provides a nifty guide to enamelling for jewellery.

Some useful information on enamelling can also to be found on the Jewelry Lovers blog.

some enamelling techniques:

  • Basse-Taille (Low Cut): Enamel (usually transparent) is fired onto a textured metal. Light reflected on the textured surfaces can create an interesting effect.
  • Champlevé (Raised Plane): Enamel is fired into depressed areas of metal to form a level surface. Engraving or acid can be used to remove the metal afterwards.
  • Cabochonné: Layering of translucent enamels to produce an imitation of a cabochon.
  • Cloisonné: Fine (Cloisonné) wires are used to create cells which are filled with enamel.
  • Grisaille: A build up of coats of white enamel forming interesting grey/white tones.
  • On Glaze/Overglaze Colours: Oil- or water-based finely ground enamels that can be applied and fired onto a pre-enamelled surface.
  • Plique à jour: A ‘stained glass’ effect where cells are constructed (like cloisonné) but the back is uncovered so that light can shine through.
  • Sgraffito: a design is scratched into unfired enamel to expose metal or an enamel coat underneath.


Many awesome examples of enamelling can be found in art nouveau jewellery where vivid colours were used to depict nature in all its splendour. While a whole range of enamelling techniques were used, perhaps the most important technique was plique à jour – often used to create delicate insect wings and leaves. For some fine examples of enamelling in art nouveau jewellery refer to the work of Rene Lalique, Georges Fouquet, Louis Aucoc, and Etienne Tourette.

Rene Lalique - Corsage Ornament 1897-98

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