Great question! Would love to tell ya ;-)
Enameling is an ancient art of fusing powdered glass to metal by firing in a kiln or with a torch until it turns to a strong, smooth glass coating the metal. It dates back to the 13th century BC and became very popular during the Middle Ages. Artisans would use enamel to add colorful details to their jewelry and other ornate art pieces.
My favorite part of enamels- the colors shine as brightly today as they did when the jewel was first created! As you collect enamel jewelry, you are collecting treasures that will literally last for thousands of years!
By building up thin layers of transparent glass, you can achieve a beautiful depth of color. This process can take hours up hours, but the results are nothing short of magical! You have a one of a kind piece of thick glass art. The colors will never fade or change, and it's actually a lot sturdier than many gemstones! You can get lost looking a complex piece, seeing all the layers that artist used to build up dimension.
A couple things to keep in mind when purchasing enamel jewelry:
✦Be sure that it is vitreous enamel. You will see "enamel" pins, pendants, etc. but if they are mass produced, then it is not the glass enamel I'm talking about in this blog! It's just a hard plastic, usually on cheap, plated metals.
✦Resin has become a popular medium because of the easy, inexpensive, and colorful effect the artist can achieve, but resin is also NOT enamel! Resin is a form of unprocessed plastic. It can melt in heat and break easily, once again, not at all like vitreous enamel that is strong and unaffected by the elements!
If you fall in love with a piece of jewelry, be sure it's designed to last forever so you can take it with you along your journey. Steer clear of cheap alternatives so you won't be disappointed!