Let me introduce you to an amazing Artist. “I am Gocha Gurgenidze it has been 15 years since I am working , I started off as hobby but later on it turned out as my profession. Material I work on is pure gold and silver , I do not show my work in galleries only personal orders , a lot of my work is kept in personal collection of patriarch , unfortunately I just started to take pictures of my work recently , obviously I sell them. Everything is handmade. Thanks for appreciating my work”
Wow, wow, wow!! That is what I call cloisonné!! a contact for Gocha firstname.lastname@example.org
Why do you need a hard flux? Your flux is laid down first on the metal of your choice. You want a hard flux which means it will not become fluid as quickly as you color layers of enamels that are applies later. This is specially important when using warm colors.
In this pendant of cloisonne, it will be a deep layering of colors. I need an enamel base flux that will hold up for many firings. Bovano 3# is a hardest firing leaded flux I have found for silver. This will protect my warm colors from mingling with the base metal and turning the enamels the color of mud. FYI this flux and many other brand fluxes art harder firing than all your colored enamels. So it is not mean for a top coat.
If you are looking for a top coat to, let’s say to catch up one cell filling with the rest of your cells, use the lightest color of the family of enameling you are using! Or if you are happy with the depth of color you have achieved but the cell is not filled to the top of your cloisonné wires use the very lightest color of that family.
I recommend Bovano’s #3 or Ninomiya’s 110 the two best enameling fluxes i have tested.
Setting Your Enamels
I like to begin the setting with a finished piece of enamel that has a good girdle all around the edge as in a faceted stone. I believe it cuts down on the cracking during setting. If the enamel comes down and meets the fine silver or copper base plate at a sharp edge it is likely to crack. Thin enamel and soft metal after many firings, and you start applying pressure, you can imagine how easy it is to crack.
This piece is domed and you do not see the underside of enamel.
Tuff Break is a rubber product I purchase from Fred Woell. You can find his contact info in Resources. I like to place it under my enamel jewels. It adds protection to the counter enamel as well as the top of the enamel jewel, by giving the enamel piece a cushion which helps me avoid cracking the piece during this process. When I roll down the very top edge of the fine silver bezel the enamel jewel drops just a hair as I push down on the jewel, allowing me to avoid pressure right on the enamel surface. It also takes care of that tinny sound of the enamel against the back metal once the piece is complete.
After placing the rubber backing and the enamel jewel in the setting, it is time to close the bezel. Choosing a sterling silver base in this case I am using fine silver bezel wire 2.5 mm high and 26 ga thick. As a matter of choice I do not like to sand the bezel thin at the top. Leaving this edge as is allows me to remove the jewel if I ever need to. And with this thick bezel there is plenty of metal to sand out any dings.
My favorite burnisher is a wooden clothespin. As you can see here it sits flat on the table and parallel to my bezel wall.
With a snug fit between the enamel jewel and the wall of the bezel all that is needed here is a little tightening.
Applying pressure parallel to the girdle,
Working my way all the way around with light pressure.
And lastly just turning down the very top edge of the bezel with the clothespin.
Hauser Miller is whom I like to order my Cloisonne wire from as well as my Cloisonne bezel wire, for setting the cloisonne jewel. Here is a link to their site,
Although I prefer to set my cloisonne jewelry with 2.5 mm high 22k gold bezel with a thickness of 26ga and this is not on their chart, but they will supply it for you. When I am working in silver I will use the same sizes of wire for my settings just in Fine Silver.
Lower on the page is their stock sizes of cloisonné wire this is 24k gold wire. The two marked with the * are stock, readily available. The .005 x.040 is the taller cloisonné wire and the .008. x .032 is the shorter in height cloison wire. I like to keep on hand 22ga 24k gold round wire as some times I need to pull it down, then roll it out, myself to create a very thin and short cloison wire as here on the back of these earrings.
The total thickness of the cloisonné earrings is 1.5 mm. with a 24 ga fine silver disc in the center there is not much room for my cloisonné wires, yet I have them on both sides of the fine silver disc. The wires might be 1/8 of a mm here.
On the front of the same earrings, you can see the wires are thicker and a bit higher. It is nice to be able to customize these wires to your need.
When Andre 3000 from OutKast order the Mandrill Cloisonne Pendant, he wanted thicker cloison wires in the jewel. Here I cut the wires from fine silver sheet to achieve the look he was after.
What is Cloisonne?
Cloisonne (pronounced cloy-zon-ay, French for ”partition”) is an ancient metalwork technique that makes use of small, precious metal filaments and colorful glass enamels to create brilliant artwork. The metal wires are bent into shapes to create small cells, (partitions) of designs, and many coats of finely ground glass enamel are fired into them until one unique piece of art is rendered. Cloisonne is most commonly used in jewelry making, though illustrations of the craft can be found in many facets of the art world, including the production of hand-made dishes, vases and abstract pottery.
Though the art form’s origins are most likely Middle Eastern, Chinese Cloisonne is the most renowned and permeated throughout the world. Cloisonne’s popularity spread quickly throughout Asia and Europe, and examples of the art can be seen in Byzantine
mosaics, inside Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, and in prized Russian Czarist jewelry.
The most notable quality in Cloisonne is the art master’s exceptional attention to detail in creating unique designs from the pure silver base and 24 karat gold filaments. Every design is handcrafted, which guarantees a matchless piece of art each time.
Custom designs are often painted on paper with watercolors prior to beginning the process in order to estimate the appearance of the final product.
After the original artwork is decided upon, the metal ribbon like strands of 24 karat gold wire are individually bent, twisted and oftentimes soldered together to produce a blueprint for where the colored enamels will later be painted.
This design is attached to a base of pure silver by firing it with a clear coat of glass enamel in a kiln.
After the silver pendant has cooled from its initial firing, the painting process begins. The metal filaments serve as the pattern for the colorful enamel glass, and the artisan paints only one coat at a time into the design.
||The pendant is fired again and again after each consecutive enamel coat.This is a painstakingly delicate practice, but the layering and firing of each coat of glass is critical in achieving a deep, vibrant color scheme for the design.As many as 25 layers of enamel can be added to a single piece of Cloisonne jewelry.After the partitions have been enameled and fired to the artist’s satisfaction,
The pendant is polished and placed in a custom-made, perfectly fit 18-karat gold setting. Each Cloisonne rendering takes multiple weeks of dedicated attention to complete, but the finished product is guaranteed to be worth the wait. Happy Enameling!
Many get frustrated as they try to balance the cloison wires on the base coat of flux as you place the piece in the kiln. There are several products you can order to help secure them. Most common is Klyre Fire, but if you need something a bit stronger try Tragacanth Gum. Tragacanth Gum is commonly use in securing granules in the technique of Granulation. it is a food additive and can be found here; www.lorannoils.com.
I have found it works best if added to water to create a milky consistency and let it sit over night before using. When in need to secure a wire or two dip the cloison wire in the tragacanth solution and place on the fired flux enamel jewel and set on the kiln for a few second as the heat will harden the solution.