Back to Jewellery Blog

What is enamel?

Date Added: 18/05/2011
 Cloissone enamel Chinese antique  Hermes Enamel Bracelet  Miabelle Enamel Bangle

Enamel has been used for centuries by many cultures from ancient Egyptians, ancient Greeks, Celts, Georgians, and by the Chinese in pottery, stone, metal objects and also in jewellery making for its vivid decorative colours.

Enamel was at its most important in European art history in the Middle Ages, beginning with the Late Romans and then the Byzantines who began to use cloisonné enamel in imitation of cloisonné inlays of precious stones.

In more recent times, enamel has been a favoured choice for jewellery designers such as Peter Carl Fabergé for his enamel eggs, enameled copper boxes of Battersea enamellers, and now in jewellery by Hermes. Enameling was also a favourite technique of the Art Nouveau jewellers.

Enamel is a material made by fusing powdered glass to the surface of metal, glass or ceramics. It's fired in a kiln so the powder melts, flows, and then hardens to a smooth, durable coating. Depending on how long it is fired, enamel can be either transparent, opaque or translucent.

Enamel is smooth, hard, chemically resistant, durable, scratch resistant (5-6 on the Mohs scale), long-lasting color fastness, easy-to-clean, and cannot burn.

The colour in enamel is made by the adding different minerals, often metal oxides such as cobalt, praseodymium, iron, or neodymium.

Now Miabelle has one of the largest collections of enamel Jewellery in Australia.