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[Enamel Bits] Top clear coat

I am an appreciative reader of Orchid info but this my first
question. I have been in business twenty years…gold,silver,
leather and precious, semi-precious stones…but have been in
enamels now for a few years…here is my question…any enamelists
out there…do you put on a top clear coat?..if so,what? and are
there any new books out there on the subject?


Shirley, Thompson clear for silver #2020 is the best I’ve tried. Other
clears have cracked. Rinse several times with distilled water unless
you know you have soft water at the tap. Buy enamel at Don’t put clear over very dark transparent
or opaque colors. Freddie Kulicke @Fredricka_Kulicke

Hi Shirley,

I presume that you mean a top coat on “vitreous” enamel and not hard
plastic. Because enamel is SiO2-based it is pretty “tough”, although
it can be scratched. I, for one do not use a top coat of “soft” or low
firing clear enamel (flux) except in the case of wanting to increase
the depth of the enamel to meet the metal surface without increasing
the saturation of the colour.

May I suggest, for starters, these books:

Practical Enamelling and Jewelry Work, Brian Newble, 1967 Enameling
Principles and Practice, Kenneth F. Bates, 1951 A Manual of Cloisonn�
and Champlev� Enameling, J.P & J.L. Strosahl and Coral (Barnhart)
Shaffer, 1996 Cloisonn� Enameling and Jewelry Making, Felicia Liban &
Louise Mitchell, 1980 Enamel Enameling Enamelists, Glenice Lesley
Matthews, 1984

David in Victoria, British Columbia, happy because the garage, all
brightly painted and lit, is now a little studio.

…do you put on a top clear coat?..if so,what? and are there any
new books out there on the subject? SHIRLEY BARROW I’m not entirely
sure of what you mean by a top clear coat. Do you mean a varnish or
sealer over, say,a piece with cloisonne wires? For that I’ve used
Renaissance Wax. I would stay away from things like nail polish or
acrylic sealers because they tend to yellow with age. If you are
referring to clear, colorless enamel, my favorites are Thompson Lead
Free 2030 for copper, 2020 for silver and 2010 soft fusing clear over
colors that you want to keep from changing if you plan to keep firing
(a tip from Harlan Butt) I personally think the best books on
enameling are old, out of print, but often found in your local
library. New enamelling books I like are Glennice Matthews, Jinks
McGrath, P & J Strosahl and Coral Shaffer, and Angelika Simon-Rossler
(I’m trying to translate bits and pieces from the German, aack!)


Forgive me if I sound like a maniac, but are you the Kulicke who
had/has a metalsmithing, enameling workshop in New York? I remember
stories about the incredible instruction. I also remember enameled
pears that made my heart sing.

I’m actually quite normal. I just get hysterical over great art,
great music, great writing, and great food.

Marly Harris

Hi Bill. Clear enamel with no color is called flux in enamel land. A
little confusing for jewelers. No you do not need a clear top coat.
Each layer as it is fired and matures in the kiln forms an impervious
top. A clear top coat could, in fact, not fire totally clear and
could appear cloudy ruining the effect you want. I do often apply a
top or final coat of a transparent enamel but the purpose is usually
to modify the previously applied color. Hannah in Seattle