I'm wanting to do some champleve enamel rings, and am looking
for a source of particularly durable glass enamels that will not
crack easily with normal wear. but I don't want to have to worry
about being in the enamel repair business.
I am sorry to say that I’m not sure you’ll be able to find a
vitreous glass enamel that will be completely impervious to damage
with constant and possible hard wear in a ring. If the ring with
vitreous enamels gets smacked hard enough, or if the ring is thin or
delicate enough to be slightly bend or flexed the enamels may be
damaged. To my knowledge and in my experience with several brands of
vitreous glass enamel no brand will be completely damage proof.
However with thought to the particular design and metal for the
rings, it may be possible to minimize the potential for damage.
At this point it would be helpful to know the particular metal, e.g.
Sterling, or fine silver, or which kt. of gold, etc… that you are
creating the design with, also the thickness of the back sheet &
height / thickness of the Champleve walls?! This could play an
important role in troubleshooting your problem.
When I choose to do a Cloisonne enamel ring, I usually advise the
client that the ring is more an occasional ware ring. And to be
advised to take as much care in the wearing of the enamel ring, as
one would with a more fragile stone like opal, or as with a pearl
ring, rather than a ring with a diamond which is a heartier stone.
I made a cloisonne inlay ring for my husband using Japanese enamels
(ninomoya) which looked spectacular, but he chipped the enamel
within the first week. (bummer!)
Yes that is such a shame! : ( And knowing more about the design
might help the group to give you some good ideas for minimizing this
problem. On another note, often men find themselves doing heavy
lifting, weight lifting, or maybe working with metal tools, all
actions which could possibly be damaging to an enamel ring.
Especially if they either slightly bend the ring, or if the tool
etc… comes into contact with the enamel with any force. I’ve found
in my 20 some years of making jewelry that men usually need a VERY
hearty ring design and stones when it comes to their rings and even
bracelets. Especially if it is an everyday ring or bracelet, and not
just worn for dress occasions. ( Just my personal experience.)
The enamel for the new designs will be slightly recessed in the
rings for better protection,
That is a good first move to change the design to lessen the
possibility of damage. And there may be others measures to take, to
improve the design’s wear-ability.
Hidalgo Jewelers, who create enamel rings (on a mass production
scale), mention that they use hard French enamels. Anybody heard
of these? I know of Bovano enamels, but don't know if they are
known to be particularly durable.
Yes Bovano is a US distributor of the French Enamels “Cristallerie
de Saint-Paul” “Emaux Soyer” (Soyer Enamels). They are the only
French Enamels I am familiar with. Some of their colors are referred
to by some enamelists as “hard fusing,” they seem to fuse at a
slightly higher temperature, and take a bit longer to fuse. However
I don’t think that there is an extremely vast difference between the
French enamels and the Japanese enamels “Ninomiya.” Or for that
matter the US made “Thompson” Enamels, British made Johnson
Matthey’s “Blythe Enamels” or the Austrian “Schauer” Enamels.
They can all be damaged with enough impact or stress. I have used
them all and all are reasonably strong. Their durability seems more
similar than different to me. But it will be interesting to hear
what other enamelists think about this matter.
Perhaps you should try the French “Soyer” enamels and see if you
find a difference in their durability. If you do, please post your
findings to the Orchid Forum!
Anybody know of any sources.?
Yes, French Enamels “Cristallerie de Saint-Paul” “Soyer Enamels” can
be purchased through: Bovano of Cheshire 830 South Main St. Cheshire,
CT. 06410 USA 1-800-847-3192 1-203-272-3208 Fax: 1-203-250-7527
(not interested in resins -- I'm a true glass enamelist)
Yes the glass enamels are so very beautiful! Also it might be
important to note that even resins, epoxies, and other coloring
systems can be damaged. Eventually shrinkage can cause problems with
some coloring system materials, and heat excessive can cause damage.
Enough force can chip scratch and mar their surfaces too.
Rings take a great deal of wear, and in time, most show that wear.
There’s a thriving repair business in the jewelry industry for that
very reason. : )
I wish you the best of luck in perfecting your design idea, letting
the group know more details might enable us to be of further help.