Did cloisonne enamel pendant 24ga. domed fine silver approx. 2 1/2x 2
1/2 with fine silver wires. In one section, color used was
transparent very dark blue with silver foil under the blue. In the
other area I was questioning, opaque white with opalescent petal
(pink) was used over the white. In this area, right next to the
wires, there is a yellowish/gold tinge almost as though the wires were
leaching out something. It is not objectionable in this particular
piece but was just wondering what could be the cause. Of course, the
blue area is dark so that if this happened there as well it cannot be
seen. Thanks for your help. Miki
Did cloisonne enamel pendant 24ga. domed fine silver approx. 2 1/2x 2
HI! Yes, I know what happened. It will always happen when you fire
white and many other colors up against silver. It is a reaction to
the silver by the particular enamel itself. Next time finish the
piece completely, then apply the white and just barely
fire it in place. It will remain white only if fired very careful,
and will begin turning with consquential firings. Pat
Miki: You didn’t mention what type of enamel you are using, but let me
take a shot at this. I believe that the opalescent petal pink is your
culprit. Pink is a hard color to fire with silver and usually you
will get a yellow/gold tinge with most pinks right next to a silver
cloisonn� wire or on the outer edges of the piece. You can solve this
by experimentation as some pinks don’t have the tenancy to do this, or
you can use gold wire with pink and solve the problem. One enamel
class that I was in the instructor suggested if you want silver wires
to look gold put pink next to them!
Linda Crawford Designs
miki, silver wires react with the pink enamels to leave a yellow halo
effect. Are you using the lead free colors or the older lead bearing
Donna in WY
Pink reacts with the silver and when pink enamel touches silver it
turns yellow. If you want to make silver foil look gold, put pink tr.
enamel on it. Louise in SD. @lgillin1
My experience with white enamels is that they yellow where they are
applied to thinkly–usually on the edges. Another thing is that
pinks and reds tend to burn so any yellowing could possibly be caused
by that. Whenever I use pinks and reds, I apply them last and fire at
a slightly lower temperature.–Vicki Embrey
Miki, In my experience, the opals, and some whites will “toast up” a
little along a silver wire, keeping your firing times low, your
temperatures exact, and minimizing the total number of times the
white goes into the kiln will help to minimize this effect, but with
silver you will not eliminate the phenomenon, at least not with most
of the Japanese leaded whites. Blues fire beautifully on silver and
you should not have any problems with it. In general, in the leaded
enamels, blues and greens behave well on silver, while reds, pinks and
yellows have to be treated with care to get good results.
Good luck and happy enamelling!
Miki, the reason your enamel is turning yellow next to silver is that
silver and glass are very reactive with each other. What you are
seeing is a very thin layer of glass which has absorbed some of the
silver and has turned yellow. (Silver has historically been used to
stain glass yellow; this where the term “stained glass” originated.)
Yellows will appear when the chemistry of the glass provides a
reducing atmosphere for the silver. This is why some enamels will be
affected, and others won’t. It all depends on the chemistry of the
glass, including the metal which gives it its color.
If you are familiar with the artisan jeweler Julie Milhalisin, you
may have noticed how the glass in her work has acquired a yellow cast
where she has slumped it over the silver. Same principle.
Probably more than you wanted to know, and more theoretical than
practical, but who knows? There might be a quiz one of these days.
In this area, right next to the wires, there is a yellowish/gold tinge almost as though the wires were leaching out something.
Some pink and red hues in enamels are created with gold oxides. In
the presence of silver the gold precipitates to create a yellow. This
is well known to those of us who use Thompson’s unleaded transparent
Mika, I have had a similar problem. Opalescent enamel cannot be
directly fired onto fine silver without it changing colour, you have
to fire a flux or an opaque enamel on first. I assume you knew that
and that’s why you put on the white base.
I think the problem occurs where the opalescent enamel meets the
fine silver cloisonn� wire. You could wet pack a narrow strip of
transparent enamel along side the wire to create a barrier so the
opalescent enamel doesn’t touch it. I have tried silver flux on fine
silver but it also went yellow.
I think the problem occurs where the opalescent enamel meets the fine silver cloisonn� wire.
Ann, I just finished a cloisonne brooch and put white opalescent
enamel (1010) next to the fine silver wires and have no discoloration
at all (it was not on white but an orchid transparent). I use the
French Cristallerie St Paul. I also use their silver flux #3 which
fires beautifully clear on fine silver.
Louise Gillingham @lgillin1
I use the French Cristallerie St Paul. I also use their silver flux #3 which fires beautifully clear on fine silver.
Louise: What enamels are these? Am interested in finding out about
them and where they can be purchased. Thank you.
Louise, “fires beautifully clear on fine silver.”
Please, Please tell me more. What temperature do you fire the silver
flux? I’ve just looked through my catalogues and the only French
enamels listed are by Soyer. Their silver flux is high firing but I
can’t see an orchid transparent, so maybe another supplier. Do you
have a French address for Cristallerie St Paul? I used the Austrian
Schauer silver flux because I have their opalescent enamels, but it is
a low firing one, about 750 deg C . I did intend to buy a higher
firing flux to see if that solved the problem. I didn’t get to the
stage of applying the opalescent enamels, fell at the first hurdle !!
But I’m up and ready to try again. Something else that I thought may
have caused the yellowing was the age of the enamels. I bought my
kiln second hand and had lots of enamels thrown in the deal. These
could have been very old or even mislabelled. Thank you for your help
The Bovano Company of Cheshire, CT sells the Cristallerie products in
the USA. Call them at (800) 847- 3192 or (203) 272- 3208. If no one
answers the phone or if you have any problems, just keep calling,
someone will help you eventually!
Ninomiya enamels from Japan and Latham enamels from the UK also have
good pinks for silver. Allcraft sells latham at (212) 279- 7077 ( I
can’t remember the 800 number offhand.) Ninomiya is available through
Enamelworks (800)596- 3257 and the Enamel Emporium at (713) 558- 1634.
I think the advice the orchid members have posted is on this issue is
wonderful, although the reason for the yellowing has not been
explained thoroughly. I am looking through my notes for the answer,
but my papers are a mess right now and I am getting ready for my
finals at school. I vaguely remember someone telling me about gases
given off by silver in electric kilns that discolor whites and pinks.
The best advice for any enamel product is to test it as much as you
can and to take good notes. Best of luck to you and keep asking
Please, Please tell me more. What temperature do you fire the silver flux?
From your email address I’m surmising you live in England, Scotland
or Wales. The UK has many, I emphasize many, excellent enamalists
scattered all over. There is a gallery in the OXO building in London
perhaps located near Canary Wharves that shows exclusively enamels.
All of these people are great teachers. I’d recommend that you try and
get in contact with them rather than struggling on your own. I had
done that for about seven years, until I was able to go to some
Enamalist Society’s workshops. I learned more by hanging around expert
enamalists in six days than I had learned in six years.
If you have a chance join the above society or local guild do so it
will help greatly. And I hope this comment helps you too.
And if you were here in Victoria and you wished it so, I would take
those “old” enamels off you in a flash .
David in Victoria, BC
Please, Please tell me more. What temperature do you fire the silver flux? I've just looked through my catalogues and the only French enamels listed are by Soyer.
Just wanted to add that Ninomiya Enamels (Japanese enamels) are
wonderful enamels and they also have a clear enamel flux 2A that fires
at 1375 degrees, no yellowing, clear as water. In fact, I fire
all of their enamels at that temp. I like the idea of being able to
have enamels that are user friendly. Regarding the transparent orchid
you are looking for, they do carry violet from pale to medium, a red
purple and a blue purple. Not quite sure if those colors are similar
to what you are looking for in an orchid, but thought I would add this
just in case your are interested…
Enamelwork Supply 1022 N.E. 68th St., Seattle, WA 98115, carries
these enamels 206-525-9271. Coral Shaffer, is the owner who is
helpful, informative and knowledgeable. Call her and ask for a
As an aside… We have just planted our raised garden beds getting
ready for a new growing season. I had to hire my daughter to weed and
plant them because I am stilllll doing my taxes…rainy and damp in
Linda Crawford Designs
Hi Linda, Thanks for the tip about Ninomiya enamels. Do you know
whether or not they are compatible with Thompson Lead Bearing, or
Johnson Mathey lead bearing. I use both with no problems as they are
compatible. I would like to add more colors to my supply and will
check out the Ninomiya, but wondered if they are compatible with my
current ones. Specifically, would they work well together if
overlaid, as well as side by side. I often achieve delicate shading
by overlaying, but do have to watch the different expansion rates.
I too have had a problem with flux turning yellow on silver, but
only on the first firing, on the second firing the yellow burns off
and the flux is clear. Another note about lead bearing versus lead
free. I was a long time hold-out against the lead free, and
continued to use the lead bearing almost exclusively. Then, as some
of my supply needed replacing I reluctantly substituted the lead
free, and to my delight found them just as wonderful to work with as
the lead bearing. In fact, I find the fluxes superior for my
purposes. I do mostly large scale enamels, and find that with the
lead free fluxes, I have virtually no problems with high expansion
rate enamels cracking. Cheers, Alma
I do use some of the Thompson lead bearing enamels with the Ninomiya
lead bearing. Of course, it is all an experiment and I have not used
a wide range of colors of the Thompson so I am unable to comment on
the Thompson leaded over all with the Ninomiya. But the colors that I
have used work wonderful. As to the Johnson Mathey enamels I can’t
tell you as I have not heard of their enamels, but I believe it would
be worth the experiment.
I do not use the lead free enamels but do have some samples that
Thompson sent me. At the beginning of the year I took a workshop with
Tom Ellis, of Thompson Enamels, using the lead free enamels. I
remember in the workshop he mentioned that the unleaded enamels can be
used with the leaded enamels if you put the unleaded underneath the
leaded enamels. (I hope I got that right, it’s been a while since the
workshop) He mentioned the leaded is a low expansion enamel and the
unleaded is a higher expansion enamel and the lower expansion enamel
needed to be on top of a higher expansion enamel. I was very impressed
with the workshop and the unleaded enamels have some beautiful colors
and seemed user friendly, but I am not ready to add more colors or
enamels to my palate. I use exclusively leaded in my work and am
still learning more and more about the capabilities of the Ninomiya
enamels. I have more colors then I actually use just with the
I highly recommend Ninomiya leaded. To make matters even more
confusing there is another leaded Japanese made enamel called Biso. I
haven’t tried them but I plan on trying them out in the future.
Leslie Ceramics carries them, 1212 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA
94706 (510) 524-7363.
Linda Crawford Designs
to my delight found them just as wonderful to work with as the lead bearing. In fact, I find the fluxes superior for my purposes.
I started off using unleaded enamels, and have notice that I get lots
of these minute little bubbles that seem to never disappear, no matter
how long I fire.
I fire on copper and thus have to make the coatings thicker (I’m
told) because of copper forming the oxide so easily. If the initial
layer is too thin, then I get burned out spots.
I remember in the workshop he mentioned that the unleaded enamels can be used with the leaded enamels if you put the unleaded underneath the leaded enamels. (I hope I got that right, it's been a while since the workshop).
You got it right. I did the reverse once and ended up with a “neat
experiment” . I learned the lesson the hard way.