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The Art of Enamel Inlay in Silver

Jun 25, 2008
One of the next most common methods of Russian silver and enamel is the "Cloisonnes" method. The "Basse-Taille" process of Russian Silver with enamel is similar to the "Champleve" process on silver or gold. Transparent enamel is then applied to the depressions, which will reveal the design below the transparent enamel.

The unique and beautifully hand crafted arts of Russian silver with enamel is a perfected fine art started over two centuries ago. Although several countries also have a strong artistic talent in creating very exquisite art works of silver and enamel, Russian artists still are today the best at the art of silver inlays with boldly colorful enamels. The Russian artists over time have created several methods as to how the two materials of silver and enamel can be manipulated into true artistic beauty.

Although there are several methods of creating Russian silver with enamel, the method of "Champleve" is the most commonly used style. This is a form of inserting grooves of desired designs into the silver artwork so to be able to fill the grooves with durable and brightly colored enamels. The object is then fired at a very high heat of approximately 1000 degrees for a permanent hard enamel finish to raise from the designed grooved areas. The object is then filed down for any roughness and shined to enhance the final end result.

One of the next most common methods of Russian silver and enamel is the "Cloisonnes" method. This style of enamel application is done in sections by laying very thin silver wires upon the desired silver object and then applying the choices of enamel and again firing in the 1000 degree heat. The final touches are done by filing and shining of the end product. Along with silver, other chosen metals can be copper and gold for the main artistic base object.

The "Basse-Taille" process of Russian Silver with enamel is similar to the "Champleve" process on silver or gold. The metal object of choice is engraved or hammered to various depths according to the desired design. Transparent enamel is then applied to the depressions, which will reveal the design below the transparent enamel.

The method of "Plique-a-Jour" is a resemblance to the "Cloisonnes" style except for the partitions are touching each other instead of the metal base, which is removed after firing for the finalization. The shell remaining of the enamel after removal of the base gives the effect of stained glass. Due to no enamel base at the finalization of the art, the enamel is extremely fragile and historically there are very few early objects of art still around done by this method.

The method of encrusted enamel is spreading of a white enamel paste over the uneven surfaces of a sculptured design to heighten the effect of the art. The last type of enamel art is painted enamels resembling oil painting for the reason of there being no metal lines. With the metal slightly concave, both sides are cover with clear enamel and fired.
About the Author
Anita Satin Choudhary writes for Ivory and Art Gallery. Browse the gallery for unique collection of artifacts ranging from Russian Silver with Enamel to Mammoth ivory Netsukes and Mammoth ivory Tusks
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