Repairing Cloisonne Enamels
I received a jewel of cloisonné this week broken and wanted to share repairing cloisonne enamels.
The jewel was dropped and the enamel had completely separated from the fine silver base. Below in my first photo the enamel section is sitting on a new sheet of fine silver. I fired one layer of flux on the front and four layers of counter enamel on the back of this new base.
I filled the backside of the enamel piece with a very thin coat of flux as there were some uneven areas, hoping this would give it a solid bond to the new base when fired. Next, the piece was fired in a kiln at 1400 degrees. You can see in the photo the base silver is larger than the broken enamel piece. Once it was fired and the broken enamel piece fused to the base, I could clean the edges of the enamel piece that was discolored. It was too fragile to attempt this prior to attaching it to the base.
The holes you see in the enamel piece are where bubbles formed from the uneven underside and I used a diamond ball bur to bur through the enamel and open the bubbles. The right hole is not burred out completely. I wanted you to see what to expect as you are drilling. This is a small pinhole which will open into the whole bubble as you proceed. The left bubbles have been opened completely, which is necessary to allow the enamel to flow smoothly into the opening when repairing any enamel jewelry.
In the third photo, you can see how smoothly the enamel flowed into the openings. Even though the enamel is lower than the cloison wires, which you would expect, I have a choice to fill with matching color, or sand down the high spots.
One very important point is to fire the enamel piece you have used a diamond bur on before adding new enamel. If you add enamels to the burred area, then fire, you will have shadows in the finished enamel jewel.
All set and ready to go back to the owner!