Anyone have experience with the Gesswein Colorit
"ceramic-reinforced" enameling system.
Lake Worth, FL
Anyone have experience with the Gesswein Colorit
"ceramic-reinforced" enameling system.
Lake Worth, FL
Jim in my opinion this is a “fake-it” solution to enamels, best for
cheapo chain store style stuff.
The smaller kit did not work very well… maybe the larger unit
"Jim in my opinion this is a "fake-it" solution to enamels, best for cheapo chain store style stuff."
I saw some brooches today, at the Aaron Faber Gallery in NYC, by Tom
Pardon. They were fantastic. I want one (and will have to save up a
lot for it as my favorite is about two grand). When I asked a woman
at the gallery what they were made of, she said cold enamel. I asked
her what that was, and she said a type of enamel that is not fired.
I do not know if this is “Colorit” or something else, but it was
definitely not “fake-it, cheapo chainstore style stuff”. His work is
in major museums and galleries across the country. With all of the
beautiful goldwork at Aaron Faber, Pardons’ sterling silver and
"cold enamel" work stood out as exceptional, compelling, and very
Perhaps you need a bit more info about using colorit. Have you
contacted Gesswein with your questions? I’m sure they’d be glad to
assist you if you ask. I know they have scheduled Colorit
demonstrations in the past, they may have more coming up.
is a link to where a couple of pardons works are shown
Gail, If you are really interested in owning a piece of Earl Pardon’s
work you might want to check out the Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge,
MA. They carry his pieces on occasion. They also sometimes have his
son’s work. His son has been producing some of his designs since he
Ceramit and Krohn are nothing more than a two part epoxy which is
placed in an over at about 250 B0 to help it cure. It’s hard,
durable and will not crack. If not properly mixed and cured it will
not harden properly. You can then dissolve it in alcohol and start
over. Unlike hard vitreous enamel it cannot take the heat of a torch.
I’ve used it for many years now on some repairs and have even done
some nice Plique de jour jobs with it. You canno t file, sand or
polish it. The Colorit (Ceramic base polymer) can be sanded, filed
and polished (so they say). Both items can bring nice results in how
it’s used. No different from what hard enamel would look like, just
the characteristics are different. I believe that SoHo uses this
type of enamel as does many of the new Italian companies with the
bangle bracelets that have been around for the past two years.
Last Friday I received a catalog flyer from Stuller "Cerin Bands"
Ceramic Resin bands manufactured in the UK “porcelain like” resin
bands with four layers of resin base color and … fused by
ultraviolet heat. They say how scuff marks can be removed by light
polish and the cost of manufacturing is low. They have thin 2mm
bands in 14K gold that are priced triple keystone $521. I have the
same width bands in 18K with hard enamel keystone at $220.0 0 I fail
to see how what they have are less expensive to manufacture. Gesswei
n “Colorit” unit comes in two sizes a hand held unit that does one
item at a time (cost $1200.00) and another that can do about a dozen
items at a time (cost $4,900.) That’s pretty expensive for an
ultraviolet light I would say . Also 8 grams of the "Colorit "
liquid substance cost $24.00. Ceramit or Khro n 2oz cost $6.00
That’s about 1/5th the cost. Hard enamel cost even less, an d a kiln
1/3 rd. the cost. So, Where is the savings? I see the advantage to
Colorit in repair work of enamel and maybe speed of curing work.
What I would like is some first hand from those who might
have used it in repair of antique hard enamel items. Thanks for the
input so far.
Hi Jim, As you can imagine, any subject with “Gesswein” in it is
going to get my attention.
So here I am to answer some of your questions & concerns regarding
our popular product COLORiT.
COLORiT is very similar to the material the dentist applies to teeth
to fill in spaces from receding gums, etc. It’s much harder than
enamel, ceramit or resins. It means a lot less throwaways, a lot
less returns, a lot less repairs.
COLORiT can be filed, sanded, sandblasted, polished to a bright high
shine, drilled, and carved. It can be built up, layer upon layer,
until quite thick (you can even make cabochons) … but even a very
thin layer is extremely tough and durable.
It comes in a variety of colors that can be mixed to any shade or
hue desired. And yes it can be used to repair enamels.
The COLORiT light is optimized for curing COLORiT. The light is in
a specific nanometer range and of sufficient concentration to cure
the COLORiT material quickly and predictably. That is no small
You could leave a cup of COLORiT just sitting out on your desk for a
month and it will probably cure. You could use a standard
ultraviolet light and leave your ring under it for many hours and it
will probably cure. But even if time is not a factor for you,
predictable results and ‘repeatability’ will be.
The light used must be of sufficient concentration to penetrate the
material so it cures all the way through. Or you won’t get the
hardness and durability you bought the product for in the first
place. Standard ultraviolet lights just don’t do it.
There are indeed 2 kits. The Basic Kit is $1260 and includes the 8
basic colors, the filtered (to protect your eyes) work station, hot
plate, application tools and the COLORiT Light. Although the light
can be held in your hand, a stand is included so you don’t actually
have to stand there holding the light on your work. That would get
old pretty fast.
The large kit is indeed $4930 but it includes everything in the
first kit including the Light. However the large kit is geared to
production so it also includes a Production Light Source that looks
like a cabinet. You can easily cure 30 rings at a time in it.
COLORiT colors are $24.52 for 5 grams but that 5 grams goes a long
Without a doubt, COLORiT is harder and more durable than enamel,
ceramit or resins.
Hope that helps clear up the confusion. If you’d like to see some
pictures of COLORiT jewelry, you can visit our COLORiT Support
Message Board on the web:
This is an EZBoard community so you’ll be required to fill out a
brief form in order to register yourself on EZBoard. Just make sure
you uncheck the boxes on the form that say “please email me a
hundred advertisements a day” or something to that effect.
VP Tech Services
Gesswein Co. Inc. USA
We have started a new enameling guild in the midwest and at our last
meeting there was a woman who had worked in a high end jewelry store
for some years. She said they did enamel repairs all the time…we
were surprised as enamel repairs are pretty tricky. As you had
probably guessed by now they were all done with “cold” enamel. She
said the opaques could be made virtually indistinguishable.
I have to say I think the cold enamels are flat and dull compared to
the real thing, but if you aren’t familiar with the real thing they
Elaine thank you for the wonderful run down on the colorit kit . can
you please tell me what is the consistancy of the mix before
hardening , is it quite runny or like a gell. if applying to a
curved surface do you have to turn article to ensure no dripping or
running of product. also what is the approximate hardening time.
thank you . PHIL
Colorit: It's much harder than enamel, ceramit or resins.
That’s an interesting claim given that Colorit is itself a synthetic
resin system. If it’s not a resin system I’d be very interested to
know just what it is!
Perhaps you’d also be good enough to cite the source of the
comparative test results on which you base that claim so that we can
all be enlightened?
I agree with Al, how can a polymer base product be as hard or harder
than glass? More durable yes, harder no. The ceramic content may
come close. Please share the lab comparisons test results with us.
Also lets see some images of work done with it.
With regard to cold enamels–
In my view, to compare cold enamel directly with traditional enamel
is to miss out on the potential of a new material. If it can be used
to repair or to simulate traditional enamel, that’s a plus, but I
prefer to think of it as a way to expand the possibilities of what
can be made. If you think of it as a material/process in its own
right, and ask, “what is it good for?”, then new possibilities
It lends itself, for example, to incorporating wood or other
materials that can’t tolerate heat; enameling on large, dimensional
forms; forms that don’t even have to be metal can be covered with
cloissonne for sculptural effects, as in the work of Tara
Mackintosh;subtle matt finishes can give a very different look than
"hot" enamel, etc. It is necessary to break out of the image of one
material as an imitation of another to see its possibilities. Then,
it is not necessary to rule it “better” or “worse,” only to decide
whether it is useful in your own work.
Thank you for tolerating my soapbox–all just my own opinion!
It lends itself, for example, to incorporating wood or other materials that can't tolerate heat; enameling on large, dimensional forms; forms that don't even have to be metal can be covered with cloissonne for sculptural effects, as in the work of Tara Mackintosh;subtle matt finishes can give a very different look than "hot" enamel, etc.
This statement about a different look than ‘hot’ enamel is
misleading. One can give a matt finish to cloisonn=E9 and other
vitreous enameled surfaces. On a three dimensional shape, it may be
stoned and finished with fine sandpaper, then finishing with a fine
was such as Renaissance wax from England.
A quick way to do small cloisonn=E9 pieces is to use a lapidary
machine then use the wax after the piece has been thoroughly cleaned.
On larger flat pieces one can use a glass etch.
With regard to cold enamels-- In my view, to compare cold enamel
directly with traditional enamel …"
Noel’s post perfectly demonstrates where the heat in this thread
comes from. The crux of the matter is the marketing ploy by people
who describe their products as “cold enamels” and thus "trade off"
the millenia-old reputation of vitreous enamel.
When the word “enamel” is applied to jewellery it implies only
vitreous enamel - not plastic - not even very clever plastic.
To describe a resin system as “enamel” to the jewellery-buying
public is as misleading as describing other polymers as “bronzes” and
"clays". The active components in these materials are synthetic
resins - plastics - it’s as simple as that!
In several respects composite photopolymer systems (eg Colorit,
UltraUV) are superior to vitreous enamel. The main one is that as
plastics they are less susceptible to fracture and chipping from
sudden impact. For some applications they are “easier” to apply than
vitreous enamels. Because they cure at roughly room temperature using
actinic light they can be used in a variety of ways that would be
difficult, if not impossible with vitreous enamel. They are very
clever materials, and should be treated on their own merits as Noel
rightly suggests; their possibilities as embellishing materials are
extensive and in the right hands they will be very exciting - there’s
no argument about that.
The argument is simply that they are not what the public understand
to be “enamels”.
It’s an economic imperative that drives this sort of poor-taste
appropriation of the mystique and aura of a demanding craft. By
equating the two materials in the public mind both the original and
the imposter are devalued. Using these sorts of synthetic resin
systems demands about the same amount of skill as the average 5 year
old’s colouring-in book.
John Ruskin had it pegged I reckon: “There is hardly anything in
the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little
cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s
In my view, to compare cold enamel directly with traditional enamel is to miss out on the potential of a new material. If it can be used to repair or to simulate traditional enamel, that's a plus, but I prefer to think of it as a way to expand the possibilities of what can be made. If you think of it as a material/process in its own right, and ask, "what is it good for?", then new possibilities present themselves.
Noel - you are so right. I think we sometimes get too "purist"
about techniques - I well remember years ago it was criminal in my
family to ever consider using a “cake mix” - it was tantamount to
admitting that you were incapable of “normal” baking. And so I
think it is with jewelry making - it seems to me I hear people
sneering because you use a jig to bend wire, or horrors that you
would buy a design almost finished and just add the final
touches…have you no honor? I have not yet used any of the cold
enamels but I think they must offer an incredible addition to your
arsenal - not every piece I make is destined to last for centuries
and go down in the annals of history as a totally original,
incredible piece. I like making things that are frivolous, fun,
cutting edge, modern, tehnical and industrial. I am fascinated by
screws, cold connections of all kinds and will soon give PMC a spin
and may add some cold enamel coloring to some other things.
Thanks for your refreshing view.
subtle matt finishes can give a very different look than "hot" enamel, etc.
This statement about a different look than ‘hot’ enamel is
misleading. One can give a matt finish to cloisonne and other
Louise-- Please forgive my taking exception to you taking exception–
The statement, though perhaps a touch sloppy, is not “misleading”.
The point here is that they will not look the same. New
material/process, new opportunities. Matt surfaces on glass enamel
are possible, subtle, and beautiful. I’m not “dissing” traditional
enamel. Resin enamel is different. That’s the whole point, no more,
The argument is simply that they are not what the public understand to be "enamels".
Personally, I think that the public has moved way beyond restricting
their definition of enamels all being vitreous. The public is of the
belief that that they can have their cars enameled for a couple/few
hundred dollars. School ring manufacturers have been using plastics
for years. Give it up now. If you are using vitreous enamels, you
need to say it out loud and allow for the general use of the word
"enamel". The paint stores sell plenty of it.
During my first six years on the bench, I seem to have become frozen
into certain ways of doing things. Many methods that I found others
using or attempting, I thought “improper”. Big mistake.
Personally, I think that the public has moved way beyond restricting their definition of enamels all being vitreous.
OK Red, I take your point and will be more specific “the
The public is of the belief that that they can have their cars enameled for a couple/few hundred dollars.
The public believe many things - what they are given to understand
is another thing. 25 years ago when I worked for Ford they used
"acrylic enamels" on cars; I made some pretty flash cufflinks on
Henry’s time using it. The qualifier was “acrylic”. If the public
ever thought about it (highly unlikely I admit) they had the
to deduce that the stuff on their cars was a plastic
film. There was never any danger they would think it was glass that
had been melted onto the car body.
School ring manufacturers have been using plastics for years.
And selling it as what? As far as I’ve been able to determine (and
I’d welcome better if anyone has it) the US auto industry
advertising gurus began the practice of calling any shiny suface
coating “enamel” in the 1920’s. The badge industry now sells via
the WWW “warm enamel”, “cold enamel”, “soft enamel” as well as
occasionally “hard enamel” (which may or may not be vitreous enamel),
“baked enamel” which is generally plastic, “french enamel” (the mind
boggles at that one!) and so on.
Give it up now.
Just because a deceptive practise is widespread is no reason to roll
over and cop it mate - although the use of plastics instead of
vitreous enamel by unsuspecting or lazy manufacturers provides me
with a small but useful proportion of my yearly income. I get a
couple of pieces of outrageously expensive jewellery every month to
"re-enamel" from devasted Australians who’ve paid big bikkies in New
York, London or Paris for what they assumed was vitreous enamelled
pieces (generally cufflinks) for their loved one, and from which the
"enamel" had fallen out. Not been knocked out but fallen out. And it
falls out because it shrinks on curing.
These aren’t chain store items - two of them were US $ 750-800 pairs
If you are using vitreous enamels, you need to say it out loud and allow for the general use of the word "enamel". The paint stores sell plenty of it.
And the people who buy that paint are neither expecting, nor paying
for, a tin of fused glass.
Historically, buyers/commissioners of enamelled jewellery,
hollow-ware etc have expected that they would end up owning an item
that had coloured glass fused to it via a complex chemical bond, and
that the appearance of the item would with ordinary care last
virtually unchanged for hundreds if not thousands of years.
Much beautiful work was done with resins during the 1970’s and
1980’s. Take a trip to one of the institutions that purchased some
of these pieces and see how many you can find on display today. Ask
the curator why they are not on public view. If you get the chance,
examine the work closely.
During my first six years on the bench, I seem to have become frozen into certain ways of doing things. Many methods that I found others using or attempting, I thought "improper". Big mistake.
Yep, it’s something you’ve gotta watch out for alright -
ossification that is. Red mate, I use these and other resin systems
daily in my work, which is the repair and restoration of (mainly)
antique vitreous enamels. But only if I can’t pull the piece apart
and rebuild it using vitreous enamel. And I always tell the client
exactly what it is they are getting for their dollar, and how they
can expect it to perform in their particular circumstances.
I don’t think the use of these materials is at all improper - I’ve
worked with 'em for 33+ years. What is improper/immoral/deceptive/ is
to imply that they are something they ain’t to a prospective client.
That’s what this is all about.
I well remember years ago it was criminal in my family to ever consider using a "cake mix" - it was tantamount to admitting that you were incapable of "normal" baking. And so I think it is with jewelry making - it seems to me I hear people sneering because you use a jig to bend wire, or horrors that you would buy a design almost finished and just add the final touches
Okay – I have been watching this thread and feel it is time to weigh
in on this – if the logic above prevails than we should also
consider the new Moissanite to be another type of diamond. I’m not
sure you would find many reputable jewelers selling them as such,
would you? Yes – I agree that the resin product offer us another
means to add a new dimension to our work – I think the American
acceptance of resin products has been way behind other countries,
especially European ones. However – let’s make sure that we
distinguish what the products that we use aRe: the resin product is
not an enamel – it is not glass on metal.
My 2 Cents!!