The Handmade History of Enamel Jewelry


Enamel Jewelry has been playing a part in the world of luxury fashion since ancient times. This style of jewelry design involves smelting powdered glass to a metal so that it forms a smooth coating over the surface. Known as enameling, this process has been used by many cultures to decorate fine art and create breathtaking jewelry.

Ancient Persians first used the process in Meenakari, which is the art of coloring the surface of metals by smelting fantastic colors in elaborate designs. The traditional Meenakari process included many steps and involved a series of specialists. These included a designer, a goldsmith, an engraver, an enamellist, a polisher, a stone setter and a stringer.[1]

Meenakari Fine Jewelry - Earrings and Necklace

The ancient Egyptians applied enamels to pottery and jewelry, as did the Greeks and Celts in addition to other metal objects. Due to its ability to bond tightly with enamel, gold has always been the preferred metal of choice. Eventually, the art form spread to the Georgians and Chinese where they added their own unique styles and special touches to the process.[2]

By the Roman period, it had become popular to decorate glass vessels. To do so, jewelry designers and goldsmiths would either smelt powdered colored glass or fuse colorless glass powder with pigments such as metallic oxide.[3] Then they would paint their designs by hand (which allowed artists to get very intricate with details) before firing the jewelry to smelt and bond the ceramic.

Decorative Luxury Eggs Use Same Enamel as Fine jewelry

Enamel jewelry played an important role in the medieval period, just as it did in China during the Ming Dynasty. Later, the style would experience a cultural resurgence in the 20th century by artists such as Alexei Maximov, Leonid Efros and Bernard Hesling. Eventually the Art Nouveau and fine jewelers took an interest in the bright, jewel-like colors as well. Artists such as Peter Carl Fabergé (known best for his luxury Easter eggs) and George Stubbs used enameling to create intricate details in their miniature art works.

Handmade luxury diamond necklace with white and black Italian enamelToday the fine jewelry designers at ZYDO still create luxurious enamel pieces by hand, following the ideals of traditional Italian craftsmanship. Our collection, Enamel, features an 18kt white gold necklace showcasing 0.85cts of sparkling round diamonds with black and white hand painted enamel.

Italian diamond ring with blue and purple enamel on white gold

The handmade, Italian jewelry collection also includes a few wonderful multicolored rings. For example, this fun, 18kt, white gold ring features 0.31cts of dazzling diamonds with energetic blue and violet hand-painted enamel.

Handmade Italian Diamond Ring with Pink and Purple Ceramic

 

Do you love these designs, but prefer fine jewelry that will match a warmer skin tone? Check out this vibrant, 18kt rose gold ring featuring 0.33cts of dazzling diamonds with exciting blue, pink and purple hand-painted enamel. The gold band will complement your natural skin tone, while the bright colors and fun design will add a touch of fun and uplifting energy to your favorite summer outfits.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

P.S. If you love learning about the latest styles and how they became cultural phenomenon, be sure to follow @ZYDOitaly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meenakari

[2] Andrews, A.I. Porcelain Enamels, The Garrard Press: Champaign, IL, 1961 p. 1.

[3] Gudenrath, W., Enameled Glass Vessels, 1425 BCE – 1800: The decorating Process. Journal of Glass Studies, 2006. 48


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