You will find there is more than one way to create a beautiful enamel finish – in fact there are many.

This post describes- and shows some  images of – five of the most beautiful.

1. Cloisonné: This technique involves applying thin wires to form raised barriers which seperate the different areas of enamel, applied after the wires. It is widely practiced throughout Europe, the Middle East and east Asia. Limoge, in France, became famous for this its Cloisonne enameling. The Enamel Plaque of St Demetrios (right) is a good example of Cloisonne. Its lettering uses the champleve technique, described below.

2. Champleve: In this technique, the surface is carved out to form pits that are then filled with enamel before firing, leaving the metal exposed. It is named for the French word for “raised field”

3. Basse-taille: In this enamelling technique, the surface of the metal is decorated with a low relief design – often in silver or gold – , which can be seen through translucent and transparent enamels. Basse-taille is the French word for low-cut.


4. Sgraffito
: This technique involves placing an un-fired layer of enamel  over a fired layer of a contrasting color. The top layer is then partly removed to create the design. the Princess of Dreams mosaic panel (right ) of Moscow’s Metropole Hotel is a gorgeous example of this technique at its best.

5. Grisaille: This involves applying a translucent enamel over a dark background (often blue or black), and building up the design in a  in a monochrome gradient, similar to a relief. A well-known example of this is the Stations Of the Cross at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, below.

Hope you enjoyed these beautiful examples of enamelling techniques. We will feature more in the next post.