Enamored by Enamel


This article in forbes.com by Beth Bernstein mentions three of the techniques we use in creating Nicole Barr Jewelry:

"The trends toward jewelry that’s part of a painterly or artistic expression or the direction towards a feeling of renewal in jewelry continues. Independent designers revive the art of enamel as part of their approach to creating a story that revolves around pastel, vibrant or elegant colors or combinations that are either motif or gemstone driven. Creative applications of both vitreous glass (hard/hot) enamel and epoxy resin (soft/cold) enamel come into play in various collections. The difference is vitreous glass enamel can come to life in multiple forms, such as champlevé and plique-à-jour, guilloché, and other techniques. It goes through many processes and is much more challenging to work with and often more expensive due to the time, preparation and intricate goldsmithing that goes into a hard/hot enamel piece. These usually are brought to life in elegant, sophisticated or ultra-feminine designs

As far as epoxy resin goes, there is a wide range of color choices in this style of enamel which is created with a whimsical or playful approach to motifs or is used to enhance larger candy-colored gemstones. All types have become desirable to jewelry enthusiasts. Motifs run the gamut in both hard and soft enameling and reference antique jewelry or ‘60s pop art— but all are reworked with the distinctive aesthetic of the designer creating the pieces.

Here are some simple descriptions of different techniques of hard/hot enamel. Some of the designers play off the old-world enamel processes, creating a contemporary version of them.

Plique-à-jour is transparent or opalescent enamel, allowing light to shine through, creating a stained glass effect.

Guilloché is transparent enamel over an engraved surface, highlighting the beauty of the colors used and enhancing the underlying design.

Champlevé is the process of creating a recessed area filled with usually opaque enamel, creating the design or motif."
Photo:  Andy Lif's plique-a-jour enamel rings - HOUSE OF LIF

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