The eye of the collector by Jean-luc Ferrand

CLOISONNE ENAMELS

Thursday 2 June 2016, by Barbara Cogollos

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The technique of cloisonne enamel is a manufacturing technique jewelry, vases and other ornaments in enamel, it involves identifying the outline of decorative patterns on a surface with thin strips of gold, copper or other metal to apply within the colored enamels. After curing the pieces obtained are carefully sanded to provide a sustained and enhanced by the polychrome metal strips hue. Another technique used mainly in Andalusia during the XIVth century involves replacing the metal strips by thin ropes soaked in wax and manganese powder, the latters burning to cooking, enamels remain perfectly defined but without the thin thickness of metal separating it.

Today it is still unknown its exact origin, some texts mention a technique that looks similar to the ancient Egyptians but first appearances proved cloisonné enamel back to the times of Byzantium and the emperor Constantine.

The technique was brought to Europe by the Crusaders who, after the looting of Byzantium, took with them fragments of the altar of St. Sophia. These enamel fragments marveled Westerners, particularly the Venetians who made then come craftsmen from Byzantium to learn the technique of cloisonne. The renowned cloisonne was so great that for a time this technique is used to mimic the cabochons of precious stones on the various objects of worship or ceremonial. The technique was rediscovered by the Dutch in the XVII century and remains unchanged since.

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