From Smelzan to Esmail to Smalto to Enamel … to a Duck.
The original word in High German was Smelzan which became Esmail in
Old French and Smalto in current Italian and Enamel in English …
which is easily far and away more than most would want to know in
regards to the origins of the word: Enamel. Never-the-less … there
And while the earliest known enameled objects date back to 13th
century BC Cyprus … today we shoot forward in time and enter the
world of the Cloisonn=E9 technique … a method of enameling which
which can trace its source back to the aforementioned ancient times.
Cloisonn=E9: An enameling technique where strips of metal are attached
to a base in order to form a network of raised cells which will
border the areas where different colors of enamels will form a
pattern from which diffusion will be prevented by the cells
(cloisons). In the end … the only visible area of the cloisons
will be the thin veins forming the networked pattern within the
As to who perfected the technique … I very much doubt there’s a
country on this earth that will not lay claim to being a major
influence to this technique. The Chinese think they perfected it.
The Russians think they did. The Middle Easterners say it’s them.
And let us not leave out the English and the French. However … all
that said … it was the great artists of the modern age whose names
became synonymous with the Cloisonn=E9 method of enameling … not the
least of which was dear old Faberg=E9.
And so we come to the tale of a duck. The year: 1900. The place:
St. Petersburg, Russia. Faberg=E9 moves into a new establishment which
contains living quarters for himself and his family … a shop …
and craft studios in which his employees could ply their trade. It
was here that Faberg=E9 created his “Kovsh” … the name for a
traditional Russian drinking vessel … which he made into the form
of a stylized duck … a gold plated silver masterpiece decorated in
Cloisonn=E9 enamel. It is a sight and a half folks.
For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at www.tyler-adam.com where you will
scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that says
Tidbits Graphics … and then click on the link that says: Kovsh …
where you will see a graphic of a magnificent drinking vessel .
And there ya have it. That’s it for this week folks. Catch you all
next week. Benjamin Mark
TYLER-ADAM CORP.–Jewelry Manufacturers
Tel – 1-800-20-TYLER