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Home / Education / Blog / Popular Stories / Things You Need To Know About Enamel Jewellery

Things You Need To Know About Enamel Jewellery

Author: D&P | 2024-04-14

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Enamel, steeped in history and admired for its transformative powers, has carved out an impressive spot for itself within the luxe realm of fine fashion. This material, when layered onto ceramics or metals, creates a dazzling, luminous surface with serious staying power. From the ancient Egyptian cloisonné treasures to the Art Deco masterpieces of the 20th century, enamel as an artform has come a long way. 

Today, enamel jewellery takes on fresh, contemporary forms while retaining its timeless appeal. Discover the art behind this technique, its rich history, and why enamel pieces might just become your next obsession.


What Is Enamel? 

Enamel (or painted glass) is a decorative surface application created by marrying powdered, coloured glass and base metal in heated conditions. Illustrious with brilliant colours, this technique is often used as a finish for items such as vases, bowls, and of course, jewellery.

Enamel jewellery is versatile. It works with any style, from delicate to daring. In the past, it was all about mimicking gemstones — think less expensive, more vibrant colours. Today, enamel stands on its own. It offers unique looks and a massive range of modern hues. Pair it with different metals: silver, gold, even bronze — the possibilities stretch on.

History of Enamel 

Voyager Dancing Diamond Pendant in rose gold with diamonds and blue enamel from Diamond & Platinum Malaysia

Enamelling dates back over 3,500 years to ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece before spreading to China and Western Europe. In the Byzantine Empire, enamelling reached new heights with the use of gold and precious stones. Enamelwork flourished in Western Europe during the Middle Ages for religious artefacts. 

The Art Nouveau period, which spanned from the late 19th to early 20th century, was a revolutionary time for enamel jewellery. Pieces in this era often featured graceful, flowing lines and organic motifs inspired by nature, such as flowers, leaves, and insects. Enamel was the perfect material to bring these designs to life, as it allowed for a wide range of colours and could be applied in a variety of techniques, including cloisonné, champlevé, and plique à jour.

While rooted in the Art Nouveau period, contemporary enamel jewellery has evolved into a diverse and cutting-edge medium for artistic expression. From Bea Bongiasca's bold and pop-art inspired fluorescent rings and earrings, to Roxanne Assoulin's playful and nostalgic '90s-inspired beaded bracelets, enamel jewellery encouraged creativity and sheer innovation — qualities that continue to capture hearts all over.


Why Get Enamel Jewellery? 

So why should you get on board with enamel jewellery?  

Escape Enamel Diamond Bangle in 10k white gold with diamonds and orange enamel from Diamond & Platinum Malaysia

Unique Aesthetic Appeal 

Gemstones have their allure, but enamel unlocks another level of colour. Think dazzling colours: rich reds, vibrant blues, eye-popping pinks, even timeless neutrals like black and white. You get that pure, unfiltered hue in exactly the shape you want — something that gemstones can’t always provide. Combined with a beautiful glossiness that glimmers in the light, enamel allows for incredibly unique, expressive pieces.

Versatile Designs 

Enamel jewellery can be made into everything from brooches to bracelets, earrings to pendants. Enamel art is not just about flat surfaces but also inclusion of depth and texture in the designs. It provides endless style opportunities and can be shaped into animals, flowers, or abstract designs. Enamel works beautifully with any metal, from classic gold to trendy rose gold, even playing alongside traditional diamond jewellery for dazzling contrast.

Durable and Long-lasting 

True enamel is essentially glass fused onto metal. This creates a hard, glossy surface that's highly resistant to scratches, fading, and everyday wear. With minimal maintenance, your enamel jewellery can last for years.

Easy to Care For 

Unlike other precious pieces that require special storage and maintenance, enamel jewellery is quite care-free. Just clean it with a soft cloth and mild soap, and it's good as new. Just remember not to expose it to extreme heat or harsh chemicals.


Enamel Types And Techniques 

In jewellery, enamelling is an art form that demands great precision and ingenuity. Each piece of enamel jewellery is unique, where the outcome is often influenced by many factors such as the craftsman’s skill, thickness of the enamel, the heat in the kiln and how the colours react to one another.

Escape Enamel Diamond Pendant in 10k white gold with diamonds and colourful enamel from Diamond & Platinum Malaysia

Each technique and style offers a unique aesthetic and level of craftsmanship required to achieve it.

  • Plique à jour: Popular during the Art Nouveau era. This intricate style resembles stained glass. Enamel is applied within a framework of metal strips without a backing, allowing light to pass through, creating a stunning luminosity.
  • Champlevé. Originated in France, and is known for its textured and colourful appearance. Recesses or cells are carved into the metal surface, then filled with enamel for a beautiful inlay effect.
  • Cloisonné: One of the oldest techniques, featuring thin wires meticulously shaped and placed on metal to create compartments that are then filled with vibrant enamels.
  • Basel enamel: Named after Basel, Switzerland, where this technique was most popular during the Renaissance. Designs are carved and filled with coloured enamels, then fired and polished to create a smooth surface with a jewel-like finish.
  • Basse Taille: The combination of both patterned metalwork and translucent enamel. Designs are etched or engraved into the metal and then covered with a thin layer of enamel to let the underlying patterns shine through.
  • Painted Enamel: Artists literally hand-paint with powdered enamel onto the metal surface, creating detailed pictorial designs. Gives a high degree of flexibility and control over the final product.
  • Gravure-Plique: This technique is a combination of engraving and the plique a jour process. The metal is engraved first, then the cavities are filled with enamel and fired several times in a kiln to achieve a translucent, glass-like finish.
  • Limoges: Named after the region of France where it was developed, this method involves painting the enamel onto the metal in a process similar to creating an oil painting, but instead of using oil paints, powdered enamel is mixed with oil and applied with a brush.

How Do You Care For Your Enamel Jewellery? 

If needed, use a soft, damp cloth and mild soapy water to wipe away dirt or smudges. Dry immediately with a soft, lint-free cloth. Never use abrasive cleaners or polishing cloths. Keep your enamel away from perfumes, lotions, hairspray, cleaning products, and especially chlorine. 

Just like any other fine jewellery, enamel jewellery should be stored separately to prevent scratches, ideally in fabric-lined compartments or jewellery boxes. Seek professional jewellers for maintenance or repairs, especially for intricate designs or any enamel damage.


Incorporating Enamel into Your Jewellery Collection 

Enamel pieces easily integrate with your current favourites. Statement rings, elegant pendants, playful earrings — whatever your preference, this timeless and vibrant material adds a unique, expressive flourish.

Enamel jewellery is a wearable piece of art, steeped in history and bursting with personality. Crave something unique? Dive into Diamond & Platinum's collection of stunning enamel jewellery today. These aren't just accessories — but bold companions for your unique style journey.