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Ceramic and such vs. Enamels

I have a ring project, some in sterling, some in 14KY, and some in
18KY, in which I must fill a void area with red or black coloring.
I wish the color to have a gloss finish, be opaque, and saturated in

In research I have come across three alternatives.

  1. Normal enameling.

  2. Ceramitation manufactured by Krohn and sold as Ceramit by some.

  3. The Colorit system which is cured by light (the same as used by
    my dentist if my observations of his tools are correct).

Can anyone give me the pros and cons of these? What is the
durability, toughness, and hardness? How about repair if needed? A
Colorit system can be had for about $1100.00 and the Ceramit is
much, much cheaper, with enamel falling in between. Which is the
best buy for the money, time, and learning involved? Are there
things I will need to acquire in the way of material, tools, or
skills that is not readily apparent from available catalogs or
publications? How thick can each be built up and what is the
optimum thickness for each?

I guess the bottom line, of course, is which is best for my time and

Thanks in advance
Mike DeBurgh

You need to think of durability when you decide which material to
use. Enamels are fused glass and therefore brittle and like glass,
can be abraded. The two plastic resin materials should be more
flexible but even less scratch proof. I say this without ever having
used either. What is the purpose of the rings? Are they to be worn
every day or or they for special occasion use. This should help you
determine which system to use.

Marilyn Smith

g’day Mike If your bottom line is time and money driven then you
would use vitreous enamels. As a not insignificant side-effect you
would also end up with work you could be proud of and that would
probably outlast you.

In the long run using real vitreous enamels (glasses) in
properly-designed pieces is more cost-effective than using coloured
plastic in your work. Why? Because plastics are plastics -
wonderful materials for many purposes - great for lunchwrap,
pan-linings, kids toys, toilet seats etc - but impermanent,
relatively short-lived materials and an insult to real jewellery.

Your customers would be back to you in anywhere from a week to a
couple of years for replacement or at the very least repolishing of
the plastic bits. That’s if they hadn’t fallen out altogether. Each
of the materials you mentioned will shrink over time, particularly
if you don’t get the curing cycles right.

I should declare my hand here - I’m a vitreous enameller, and am
probably biased to the point of being unbalanced :<D . At the same
time I use a variety of resin systems in the repair of enamelled
objects if it’s absolutely impossible to strip and revitreous
enamel them. I’ve used everything on the market and a number of
things off it over the years and I’d never use plastics for anything
other than repairs that couldn’t be done any other way.

Best Regards
Allan Heywood

Hi: If ya got the skill you can heat the metal from the underside and
flow the enamel, easier to do with gold. the temperature of black
is close to the melting point of sterling so a heat sink and a fast
retreat is necessary. get the spray and some black and start on
some scrap. get the feel and to get a complete fill screen your
enamel and use the small particles. overfill towards the middle and
it should settle well enough to fill the area. Ceramit can be used
and is easier to replace but is more prone to being scratched. have
not used the other. Have a good day. Ringman

I agree with Allan Heywood. Vitreous enamels are far superior to
plastics. enamels are extremely durable–do not shrink, and add
considerably to the value of the piece you are making. If you are
worried about scratches, recess them a bit and you will have no
problems. Enamels centuries old are still brilliant, and have
withstood the ravages of time. Alma Rands