Plique a Jour a US Master, Valeri Timofeev

There have been few masters of the art of plique à jour, most notably,             

Fernand Thesmar, Gustave Gaudernack, Rene Lalique, and P. Ovchinnikov

And today Mr. Timofeev exists in the grand tradition

of the dynamic enamelist whose convictions and workmanship respect,

but know no master.  He is completely independent from any influence

that would suggest a side track, a reliance upon tentative worth or

speculation.  His great resonance and command can only be faulted by

knowing too much and by being far too resourceful for the more modern habits.

Review his tradition techniques in this article from Glass on Metal and his website

Here are a few of his photographs showing the intricate technique.

Guild of Enamellers’ Bursary Award for 2010

The Guild of Enamellers is delighted to announce the winner of their annual Bursary Award – Bronagh Mullan who has recently graduated from Birmingham City University, School of Jewellery where her interest in enamelling was sparked when she attended a part-time course by a visiting tutor and practising enameller, Penny Davis. This motivated Bronagh to use enamel throughout her remaining jewellery projects at university, experimenting with opaque and transparent enamels.

The Selectors for the Award were particularly impressed by Bronagh’s rare gift for combining traditional enamelling techniques with modern technology such as laser marking and JewelCAD but all her jewellery is hand-finished. Using plique à jour she brings delicate colourful enamel detail to the more aggressive shapes in her work, harmonizing these two opposing styles to produce a balanced end product. Her passion for enamelling results in well executed detailed pieces in precious metal, incorporating enamel and stone setting in interesting positions.

Bronagh is currently working as a jewellery designer for a manufacturer in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. Meanwhile in her own time she continues to experiment with enamelling and hopes to exhibit in the New Year. The Guild of Enamellers is proud to support Bronagh’s ambition to further develop her skills.

info from

Plique a Jour with Platinum Backing

We had a workshop in Wildacers NC through the FSG, Fall 2009.

This is the project I demo in the workshop. We experimented in different backings and each artist chose which method they preferred. In this jewel I use pure platinum foil to support the enamels while firing. Hauser Miller will roll this for you to.002 ”

A draw back is the expense of the platinum, but it can be used multiple times and sent in for refining. The advantage of using this foil over other backings is the end result of clarity in the enamels.


Enamels and Nitric

In making plique a jour jewels, I prefer 18k gold as my choice of metal. But as you have seen other karats of gold can be use as well as, copper, sterling silver and fine silver. All of which except the pure metals, oxide when firing the enamels in place.

To deal with the oxidation you can deplete sterling silver by using sulfuric acid and nitric acid for gold. I use nitric acid to deplete the 18k gold in most cases before enameling. But once in a while it is necessary to do so after enameling in the technique of plique a jour. I have started a list of the enamels that are not affected by the acid. By the way if there is a B in front of the number it is Bovano.

If you are using enamels that do not take well with acids, deplete the gold first in nitric. I heat the nitric in a beaker just to a slight steam, and dip the heated jewel into it and the oxides dissolve quickly. I usually repeat this until the jewel can be heated in the kiln and produce no oxides.

It very very important to wear protection!! Nitric is dangerous. I work outside and wear acid gloves and goggles and a respirator. Also on the table is a fan blowing the fumes away from myself and the studio.

Colors in Nitric 


A105B         When dipped in nitric acid in a quick bath after enameling it dulls the shine and pits the surface.   When fired the dullness get worse.


B 518  This enamel was deteriorating, so I put a few drops of nitric acid in the 518, rinsed well and tested the firing of, with no effects except it harden the enamel.Which makes it a longer fire.


Ninomiya #N3,  does not work well when washed with Nirtic before enameling.

B 610             Great

N G 338       Great

NG 302       Great

B 209          Great

L 69

H 24

LT 74

LT 71

LT 70

H 55

N 73

N 72

N 71

One thing I figured out this week when using colors that are affected by the acid is to add a layer of Bovano’s # 3 over the color and all is fine.