Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Vitreous enamel


#1

My regards to everyone. I made a model cloisonn=E9 brooch about 2" x 1=
"
and wanted to have two casting made and then to have them vitreous
enamelled. I was disconcerted to find enamel won’t “take” on 925
casting silver because of the silica content in the castings grains
which helps to make the silver flow but is too porous to take the
enamel. The answer it seems is to have pure silver castings except
that casters don’t cast in pure silver. Does anyone have any solutions
please? Derick King


#2

my understanding is that you cannot enamel because the fire scale
forms between the enamel and the silver and then the layer of enamel
will lift off.

My suggestion to you is to provide your caster with fine silver -
use silver coins. If they need casting grain, do it yourself, melt
the silver and then drop it into a pail of water through strainer.
I would also suggest you find the enamelist guild in uk they should
be able to help you. I am just getting ready to cast a piece that I
plan to enamel, I’ll let you know how it goes


#3

Derick, Silicon is added to one type of low tarnish sterling alloy
and that can leave silica (silicon dioxide) on the surface. You can
avoid this by using standard sterling silver (silver. copper only) .
The main problem you will have is that the sterling silver will
start loosing its form if you heat it above 1432 F for any length of
time so many enamels will not work at this low a temp. I have seen
sterling silver enameled but it is trick business due to the
eutectic alloy starting to melt out of the sterling at 1432 F.

You should look for a caster who will do fine silver for you. There
are several that work with enamel artists and cast in fine.

Jim
James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160


@James_Binnion
Member of the Better Business Bureau


#4

Derick, It is possible to enamel on sterling silver but it is very
time consuming. First the problem is not the silica it’s the copper
content in the sterling. So what you need to do is burn the copper
out of the surface of the sterling making the surface fine (.999)
silver. Heat (in a kiln or by torch) and pickle the piece until the
piece does not have any fire scale after heating. This may take as
many (or more) as 20 firings. The problem with this method is that
"ghosts" may appear under the transparent enamels, this is caused by
the copper. Another option is using fine silver sheet and etching the
design using PnP Blue as a resist. Technically this would make the
piece Champleve instead of Cloisonne. And about having it cast, there
are companies that do fine silver casting, you just have to find
them. By the way, when using transparent enamels on silver, always do
tests of the color before using on the piece. Some colors have a
reaction with silver, i.e., reds, oranges, yellows and purples, they
will actually become a different color. My favorite purple to use
changes to a really gross yellow on silver. Good Luck

Koranna Spurgeon


#5
  and wanted to have two casting made and then to have them
vitreous enamelled. I was disconcerted to find enamel won't "take"
on 925 casting silver because of the silica content in the castings
grains which helps to make the silver flow but is too porous to
take the enamel. The answer it seems is to have pure silver
castings except that casters don't cast in pure silver. Does anyone
have any solutions please? Derick King 

Derick, look around until you find a caster who will cast your
pieces in standard Sterling silver or ask Sarah at Vitrum Signum or
someone at Goldsmith’s Hall to recommend someone.

Vitrum Signum
9a North Street
Clapham Old Town
London SW4 OHN
tel/fx: +44 (0) 171 627 0840

http://www.vitrumsignum.co.uk

Al Heywood


#6

I’ve successfully enamelled onto cast silver by using depletion
gilding (repeated heating and quenching in pickle) until there is a
fine white surface, and then burnishing the surface with an agate and
lots of spit! Have a go at this and see if it works on your castings.

Tony Konrath


#7

Derick – Have your work cast in fine silver, not an alloy. With
anything other than fine, you run a real risk in having your enamels
affected by oxides that are created when you fire them. Also make
sure that your caster knows that you are planning to enamel the
pieces.

Laura.
@LWiesler


#8
 my understanding is that you cannot enamel because the fire scale
forms between the enamel and >the silver and then the layer of
enamel will lift off. 

You can enamel on sterling silver and the enamel does not lift off. I
have always done jewelry pieces on fine silver, but a friend went to
the Enamel Conference last year and took the workshop with Barbara
McFadyen of NC. She taught how to solder the piece together and
enamel it when finished. I have done 2 brooches with this method and
it works. I did bring up a fine silver coat first which takes only
about 5 or 6 heating and pickling. However, you will get much better
color if you enamel on fine silver.

Louise @lgillin1


#9

Hi. We do vitreos enamelling on our badges( police, military …) And
we have also done it on deox sterling silver… But… since we
alloy our own inhouse, we have the ability to alloy it higher than
normal… say 95% instead of 92.5% … this allows the silver to be
harder than fine . Even at 93 %, we have had no problems using
vitreous enamel… So if you need castings done,Send it to us… We’d
be happy to cast it and prefinish it for you. Contact:
sales@racecarjewelry.com Attn: Daniel Grandi Tel: 401-461-7803


#10

Thank you kind orchidians for taking the time and trouble to
consider my vitreous enamel problem I posted on 13th March. I come
from the Birmingham jewellery quarter in England a place that has
been a jewellery centre for about 250 years. Most of the casters here
buy their precious metals in the form of silicon added casting grains
(CG) made especially for casters. No casters I know of cast in 925
silver without silicon or pure silver because there is no demand for
it in the trade. Casters will cast in pure silver but they charge
for the whole of the casting tree, an extra approx 100 grams at about
20 - 25 pence British money. Not cost effective from my point of view
for two castings. The enameller I go to says she enamels mainly on
stampings. She says that enamel doesn’t take on 925 (CG) silver
castings or 9 carat (CG) gold castings, although enamel is ok 18
carat (CG) gold castings. She does photo etching and etching with
hydrofluoric acid. But it would be extremely difficult to etch with
cloisonn=E9 work because the cloisonn=E9 wire is only about 0.4mm wide=
on
the base plate. When I posed the question the only solution I could
think of was that a caster would arrive on a white charger and in
shining armour saying he/she casts in fine silver without charging
for the whole casting tree. It seems that when push comes to shove
there aint no such animal, although the posting from Laura Gillingham
(thank you Laura) gives me hope.