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enameling-msg - 4/14/10


Enameling techniques. Medieval and Renaissance enameling.


NOTE: See also the files: glasswork-msg, metals-msg, glues-msg, painting-msg, tiles-art, pottery-msg, fabric-paint-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



From: kruella118 at aol.com (Kruella118)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Enameling question

Date: 26 Mar 1996 02:59:24 -0500


Regarding a question from Peter Rose (WISH at uriac.uri.edu) about Cellini on



Please forgive me gentlemen, for jumping so late into your discussion, but

I believe I can help.


The reason Cellini is obscure in the beginning of his chapter on enameling

is because he's actually discussing engraving techniques. He is preparing

a plaque for basse-taille enameling, which is enameling on a low-relief

engraving. For some reason, Cellini does not discuss the enameling

technique he used to embellish three dimensional castings.


The word "pece greca" means "Greek pitch." Even Cellini didn't make

everything from scratch, he bought his pitch from suppliers from Greece.

The addition of brick dust (plaster of paris is better) makes the

composition less gooey, and the wax causes it to melt at a lower

temperature for easier working. Engravers typically have a preferred

formula for their pitch bases, which are intended to support and secure

the metal as it is worked. This technique has not changed at all through

history, and modern books on engraving may explain the technique clearly

enough to make your translation easier.


This pitch is indeed similar to the dopping cement used to attach a stone

to a dop stick. If you attempt to engrave a plaque without a pitch anchor,

the pressure on the metal will cause the plaque itself to cut into your

hands, or worse from Cellini's point of view, the graver will skip and

ruin the work. Cellini's pronouns are also confusing when he says to "heat

it." The pitch is heated, not the plate, when the plate is anchored. Both

the plate and the pitch are heated to remove the plate from the pitch when

the engraving is complete, and any remaining rediue on the back is removed

with alcohol (vodka works, isopropyl is better) so as not to interfere

with the enameling later.


The outline with the compass means scribing a border around the intended

enamel area. The glass will not extend all the way to the edge of the

plate. When setting the finished enamel into a larger piece later, this

metal border will protect the prongs or bezel wire from chipping the



Cellini says to engrave the plate to depths that differ by the "thickness

of a piece of paper." When the plate is enameled, the resulting

differences in the depth of the glass show a suprising range of color that

give richness to the enameled image. Basse-taille is my favorite technique

because of the beauty of even simple designs.


Cellini also later says not to touch up the engraving with punches or

chasing tools, as that will cause the enamel not to adhere properly. I

have found that this is not the case with modern enamels, which fire at a

higher temperature because of their lower lead content. But this was not a

discussion on the comparative composition of enamels -- I hope this helps

and I wish you joy with your translation.


THL Rowena MacLeod, Barony of Arn Hold, Atenveldt

reply to: wballard at nwrc.ars.pn.usbr.gov

because I'm borrowing this account



Date: Fri, 10 Oct 1997 18:24:03 -0700

From: KyraKai <fiddlersgreen at geocities.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: FWD>enameling


> From: arenal at bc.sympatico.ca

>         I am trying to get a mystical blue on Sterling silver and having

> nothing but failure. If I depletion gild, use transparent flux, I am

> still getting yellowing or graying of my Thompsons "winter" blue. To

> make matters even more confusing, I acheived the mystical blue on some

> testers, but when I work on a piece of jewellry, it doesnt work. At my

> wits end..... could you possibly help me?


>                                                 Lissa


Have you spoken to Thompson Enamel.  I understand from my roommate that

they have a number that you can call.  He also said that if you have any

solder exposed that it could cause discolouration when you fire your




Date: Fri, 10 Oct 1997 21:42:51 +0000

From: "Ben Shaifer Jones" <imperial at earthlink.net>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: FWD>enameling


This has helped me in the past.  Give it a try and see if it helps

you. If not, nothing lost, elsewise, you can finish your jewerly.


Try grinding your enamel to break off the outer layer that has taken

up moisture.  After grinding this loose, rewash the enamel and

continually rinse into the water is clear.  Dry the enamel fully (can

use mild heat) and try the project again.  When firing, bring the

heat up slower than before to allow any resisidual moisture to vapor

off slower since small cavities within the enamel lend a cloudy or

off color look.


Hopes this helps,


Valdimir Uskovich



Date: Sat, 11 Oct 1997 00:43:05 -0500

From: Gunnora Hallakarva <gunnora at bga.com>

To: arenal at bc.sympatico.ca, sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Enamelling Question


>        I am trying to get a mystical blue on Sterling silver and having

>nothing but failure. If I depletion gild, use transparent flux, I am

>still getting yellowing or graying of my Thompsons "winter" blue. To

>make matters even more confusing, I acheived the mystical blue on some

>testers, but when I work on a piece of jewellry, it doesnt work. At my

>wits end..... could you possibly help me?




If you have any bare metal unfluxed you will get discoloration.  I've found

that if you aren't real careful in heating the flux it can develop cracks

and then the underlying metal oxidizes and contaminates the color.


Thompsons also sells a liquid enamel preparation that's opaque white.  I

have had very good success fluxing, using the opaque enamel first, then

placing my color down over the white.  You get a nice bright color on top

of the white as well.


Another idea to consider is calling Thompson's.  They've been very helpful

when I've spoken to them in the past.


Gunnora Hallakarva




Date: Sun, 12 Oct 1997 13:14:08 -0500

From: Gunnora Hallakarva <gunnora at bga.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Enamelling Sources


As a follow-up to the question about enamelling, here are some helpful



Thompson Enamel can be contacted at:

Thompson Enamel 859-291-3800 650 Colfax Ave Bellvue, KY 41073

[area code updated: 9/02 - Stefan]


Thompson's has always been very helpful.  Get their catalogue!


Meanwhile, here are some websites you should check out:


The International Guild of Glass Artists



IGGA Article on Enamelling Safety



The Enamellist's Society



Art Glass World



Art Glass World also maintains a WWW message board where you can place

questions that will be seen by other glass artists



Hope this helps!


Gunnora Hallakarva




Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 15:07:59 -0500

From: <marsha.greene at mpan.com>

To: sca-arts at UKANS.EDU

Subject: Re: Help! Glass enameling problems, need advice


I read the following about enameling on Bronze, and also believed it could

not be done.  I have done a bit of enameling, mostly on Copper and silver,

wanted to try brass (I am told red-brass is recommended, has a higher

copper content, than yellow-brass), and eventually bronze.


Last night I was looking through an old out-of-print book on Enamels, I

think from the 60's, and there was a whole chapter on history (wow! highly

unusual). There was a discussion on metals used and it included Bronze!

and some pictures of enamels on bronze!    The text essentially said that

the vitreous enamel was poured in a molten state into the champleve cells

of the bronze.     I will bring the book to work, so I can site chapter and

verse, and see if I can find the museums where the pieces discussed are

held.   Never say never!     Hillary /Ansteorra



>--- Gregory Stapleton <gregsta at perigee.net> wrote:

>> I've cast some low-phosphor Bronze medallions and wish to enamel the

>> background.  Every time I try to enamel them, the enamel that I'm using, a

>> medium-fire enamel, seems to draw up and glob.  It doesn't settle

>> down and smooth out.


>> Gawain Kilgore / Gregory Stapleton

>According to my Dad, who did industrial enameling until he retired, you

>can't enamel bronze with vitrious enamel.  Something about needing an

>oxide bond between the metal and the glass, and the tin in the bronze

>alloy has too low a melting point, and vapor pressure too high, and you

>can't do it.  Sorry.  This is vicarious, and someone else may have

>different info.  Good luck.

>-- Harriet



Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 19:02:51 -0400

From: "Gregory Stapleton" <gregsta at perigee.net>

To: <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: RE: Help! Glass enameling problems, need advice


Thanks, Hillary!  I look forward to your source information.  I've come to

find out some more, myself, since my original post.  I should be able to

enamel on bronze, I just need to use the correct enamel.  Also, some modern

bronze has too much silica in it to be enameled.  Evidently, the metal has

to oxidize for the glass to have something to grab onto and the silica helps

to prevent this oxidation.  My bronze is definitely oxidizing, so I think

the silica content is nil or low enough not to matter, though I'm trying to

get the actual makeup of it.  Also, I've come to learn that I was putting a

much too thick coat of enamel powder onto my bronze.  I've had some better

success with much thinner coats, though I'm not there yet.  I have at least

successfully enameled copper, so that's some progress. :)


Gawain Kilgore/Atlantia



Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 20:20:45 -0700

From: Edwin Hewitt <brogoose at pe.net>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: cloisone' was enameling problems


Lorine S Horvath wrote:

> Wow!! Tarrach here.  As one who reads a lot about early period (5-8th

> century, I would have thought that one could not enamal on anything BUT

> bronze.


I'm not sure what you are looking for but one mistake I have made was the

assumption that cloisone' on bronze and gold was enameled cloisone'.

As it turned out, the more common process was to inlay garnet into

the cells and then carefully hammer the metal walls to spread and set the

stones into place (essentially the same technique as tube setting, but

the cells would take the place of the tubes).





Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 16:41:40 -0500 (CDT)

From: Lorine S Horvath <lhorvath at plains.NoDak.edu>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: cloisone' was enameling problems


Well I am aware of the cloisonee work with garnet on gold (infact, just

yesterday, I gave a friend of mine who is into stone cutting a bunch of

chaep garnet to break along the crystalin plane for me so I can do this).


However, what I was refering to is the redish enamal work that is common

on irish and pictish bronze work of the 6-7th century. As you sound

interested in this subject, you may want to ILL Anglo Saxon Studies in

Archaeology and History #4 (1985).  It has several very interesting papers

in it including "Dark Age Garnet Cutting" by Bimson, Further Evidence from

East Anglia for Enammelling on Early Anglo-Saxon Metalwork by Scull, and A

Study of the Cross-Hatch Gold Foils from Sutton Hoo by East among others!

Real good reading!



Date: Wed, 05 May 1999 14:33:09 -0400From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.eduSubject: Re: cold enameling There is also a fairly new series of low fire enamels that fireharden around 200 degrees in the oven (I think). I tried yesterdayto find it on the web, but could not find a particular page listingit. I think Rio Grande may carry it. But you'd have to order theircatalog to find out. http://www.riogrande.com/That should be below the temperature you are having trouble withwith your other metal fuming out at any rate. Magnus


Date: Wed, 05 May 1999 14:19:41 -0500From: <marsha.greene at mpan.com>To: sca-arts at UKANS.EDUSubject: Re: cold enameling There is a difference in the 'enamels' and the metals they may be used on.One source book declares 'Enamels' as material fused to metals.  I believeMel (cold enamels) is referring to the 'Polymer' enamels, and the kilnfired glass is called 'Vitreous'.  I guess in the truest sense, both formsare enamels.The traditional historical enamel is 'Vitreous' enamels, based on silicaand ash materials (ie glass) with pigments added for color . Vitreousenamels usually are ground to a fine powder, mixed with a binder andpainted/wetpacked/sifted onto a surface, then fired at high temperature(1300-1500deg) in a kiln till the glass softens.     I have also seenperiod examples of vitreous glass enamels in a solid form, set into bevelor cloisons like gem stones.With the advent of petroleum products, we now have available 'Polymer'enamels, made from a petroleum resin and pigments.  The pigment is mixed(1:1) with a polymer hardner (like SuperGlue), and then sqeezed onto cellsor laid onto the metal (puddle and pull method).  It can be hardened to dryover time, or you can accelarate the process in an oven at 250deg. (don'tuse your kitchen, toxic fumes, use toaster over outdoors).Many SCA artisans and vendors have been using the Polymer stuff to createinsignia medalions and decorative jewelry and cloak clasps.  They are verypretty, and I bought a few from a Jeweler/armourer at GulfWars recently,who I believe is from Calontir.  Mistress Athena of Ansteorra has beenusing the Polymer for years. The 'enamels'  most oft used tend to betransparent jewel tones, though I know you can buy it in opaques.   Theproblem with this material that I have seen is that over time, it may tendto dry up, become dull and crack off the base metal (brass seems the mostpopular used).   Though this may be because some of the jewelry we tend towear in the SCA gets worn 'hard' and stored in many environments from coldcamp sites to hot cars, before it gets taken out and worn at an event, andthis may not being doing the resin any favors.For these artisans, the use of the Polymer material is probably easier,quicker, and faster turnaround than the use of the Vitreous material.    Ihave not  yet found examples of a historical use of a resin based 'enamel'(like the polymers), but Mistress Athena has stated that the ancientscollected tree resins and mixed pigments with it (ie. pitch from tree sap).I need to research some more to find some examples of such.Everytime I hear someone calling the Polymer resin based jewelry as'enamels'  I twitch a little.   To me, its not enamels, only the vitreousform is.   The average person does not generally know  the differencebetween the two types.  I have some qualms with the use of the Polymerresins in historical reproductions for A&S entry, but not in use as SCAsubstitutions in awards and jewelry.   The Polymer resin can be used onbrass, which vitreous does not tend to like.  SCA'ers like brass, as itlooks like gold.    You can buy the polymer stuff from Rio Grande, theyhave two brands.  I recently bought some from my local jewelry supplier, toplay with, and to lay into the cells of some brass medalions I have etchedfor kingdom awards.  The vitreous enamels are best found from Thompson'sEnamels, and there are Oriental and English companies that make it as well.     Hillary /Ansteorra



Date: Thu, 06 May 1999 09:32:09 +0100

From: Scot Eddy <seddy at vvm.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: cold enamleing


I recently made a set of wedding crowns fro my wife and me and I used

Testor model paints (the gloss enamel variety) and we were happy with

the results. It's cheaper then the poly enamels and easier than the real

thing. Use a toothpick to avoid the brushstrokes on the surface.


Michael's carries Porcelin 150 which is the low-temp, oven bake (200

degree) stuff or you can find it in the Pearl catalog here is the web




Jovian Skleros




Date: Fri, 7 May 1999 02:57:01 -0400

From: Melanie Wilson <MelanieWilson at compuserve.com>

To: "INTERNET:sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu" <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: Cold Enamal


I'm not sure we can be talking about exactly the same thing, I realise

polymer enamal is [not] exact for historical reproduction but I use it as it is

something I can do safely with the kids around, however having done both

for years, I can't really tell the difference one done except the polymer

feels a bit warmer, but a bit I couldn't in a blind test tell the

differance I'm pretty sure. not without a lab anyway !





Date: Tue, 08 Jan 2002 15:03:09 -0500

From: rmhowe <MMagnusM at bellsouth.net>

To: - Regia Anglorum - North America <list-regia-us at netword.com>,

   "- SCA-ARTS at listsvr.pca.net" <sca-arts at listsvr.pca.net>,

   - StellarArts <StellarArts at yahoogroups.com>

Subject: Interesting Book on Medieval Metalwork and Enamelling Techniques


Something I bought used this last week (not for sale by me btw):


Weathered, Newton: Mediaeval Craftsmanship and the Modern Amateur -

More Particularly with Reference to Metalworking and Enamelling;

with illustrations; Longmans, Green and Co., 39 Paternoster Row,

London, EC4. New York, Toronto, Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras; 1923.

Printed in Great Britain.

   Has a nicely tooled book cover and clasp in it along with a

number of other projects like boxes, a cross, jewelry, a lamp,

repoussee, etc.


   Joining of metals, Enamelling: Cloison'e, Plaque work,

Grisaille, Enamelling in Relief, Plique a jour.

Manipulation of sheet metal. Theophilus and the Renaissance.

On Lustre. Etruscan Grain Work in Gold. Niello and some Trivialities:

Niello, Jewellery, Foil Impressions; Glass Gems, Casting in Metal,

Suggestions of Colour for Woodwork, Gesso, Casting in Clay.


   His projects were: a Russian Morse (cross pendant); Silver

and enamel cross; Enamelled dish; enamelled cup; Brass and enamel

casket; Cloisonn'e Enamel; Silver Box; Brass and Enamel Box;

Painting in Grisaille; Casket; Candlestick with enamel panels;

Copper box - six sided; Copper box - enamelled; Two silver boxes;

silver box; Silver repouss'e; paper knife; Gothic spoon; Book

cover - leather and enamel; From an engraving by Etienne de Laune;

Neillo Cover; Brooches; Comb Ornament; Glass Cast and Mounted in

Silver and Enamel; Pewter Cast. These are illustrations of the

finished projects from the techniques he has discussed with are

not otherwise depicted in process.


   It does a lot of comparisons of techniques from Theophilus

and Cennini to then (1923) available materials and techniques.

For discussion of techniques it is somewhat similar to the

better technically illustrated Metalwork and Enamelling by

Herbert Maryon (the guy who did a lot of the restoration work

for the major British finds of the earlier part of the last

century). 150 pages with a lot of examples and discussions of

making medieval replicas. No original antiquities depicted



   For those of you interested in working with the techniques of

75 years ago it may well be worth searching out. I've had time

to peruse it but not read it thoroughly. Some of the techniques

were rather unique I thought. The man did experiments simulating

the medieval techniques and records his experiences.

   I generally begin looking for such things with



Master Magnus Malleus, OL © 2001 R.M. Howe

*No reposting my writings to newsgroups, especially rec.org.sca, or

the SCA-Universitas elist. I view this as violating copyright

restrictions. As long as it's to reenactor or SCA -closed- subscriber

based email lists or individuals I don't mind. It's meant to

help people without aggravating me.* Inclusion, in the

http://www.Florilegium.org/ as always is permitted.



Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 00:08:30 -0400

From: rmhowe <MMagnusM at bellsouth.net>

Subject: [SCA-AS] Actual Agate Mortars and Pestles for enamel painting

To: - Dunstan <Dunstan at yahoogroups.com>,  - EKMetalsmiths

        <EKMetalsmiths at yahoogroups.com>,    - Metallum_Lochac

        <Metallum_Lochac at yahoogroups.com.au>,      - SCA-ARTS

        <artssciences at lists.gallowglass.org>


When I took multiple cloissone courses my teacher was

very specific about needing an agate mortar and pestle

to grind the 80 grit glass used for enamelling to something

much finer, more in the 320 grit range. This is done to

prepare the glass powder for painting with glass enamels.


Anyway it took me five years to find an agate mortar and

pestle [prohably because it didn't occur to me to look on

eBay where one company sells them in fairly large lots].

I kept looking at our local gemshows, up to six per year,

and all I could find were softer ones. None of the suppliers

I knew of carried them.


When I bought one last night there were nineteen left in

this particular lot and he had a second page up so I assume

the dealer has more.


Item title: Mortar and Pestle 3" Agate for Lab Shop Home Chalcedony

Web address:


On eBay the dealer is known as Opticaspace.


He also has some small crucibles, some of which are in the 4000°F

range and some which are cheaper in the lower ranges.

They might be good for mixing specific small amounts of metal

alloys. Although Rio Grande, I have been informed, sells an

Ancient Bronze mixture. The Romans and Celts regularly enameled

on bronze brooches. I am hoping it will work with manganese

bronze. Have some, will have to try it.


OpticaSpace / AA Portable Power Corp

2700 Rydin Road C

Richmond, CA 94804

ebay at mtixtl.com





Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 09:08:32 -0400

From: rmhowe <mmagnusm at bellsouth.net>

Subject: [SCA-AS] Enameling with Goldstone [glass]

To: - EKMetalsmiths <EKMetalsmiths at yahoogroups.com>,   - Dunstan

        <Dunstan at yahoogroups.com>,    - SCA-ARTS

        <artssciences at lists.gallowglass.org>,      - Metallum_Lochac

        <Metallum_Lochac at yahoogroups.com.au>

Message-ID: <449FDC50.2040704 at bellsouth.net>

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed


I wondered what my teacher was doing with the goldstone

I have always seen in brown.  I got an email from her some

time ago saying she was using that and ground Swarovski

Crystals [Austrian leaded glass] to enamel with.  I wrote

to her about seeing the emerald green goldstone [for anyone

who has never seen brown or green goldstone it is fairly

translucent with many hundreds of tiny golden flakes per cubic



She is grinding it up and enameling it.  Apparently goldstone

is a type of glass.  So I suppose you could use obsidian too.

Said it is working real well in the agate mortar and pestle.

She thinks that since it is glass it should be available in other

colors too than just the green I've seen and the brownish

gold she has presently.  I reckon I am buying goldstone

next. The people with it return on the 7th of July.


I posted their address recently. It is the first green goldstone

I have ever seen and it is beautiful.


South East Gems & More

custom designs, jewelry repair, cut stones, wire wrapping,

facet rough, cabbing rough, tumbling rough, equipment and supplies.

P.O. Box 14577

Augusta, GA 30919


Mark 706-490-4550;  Patricia  706-490-4515  Green Goldstone


My teacher also mentioned doing granulation in her last email. I'll have

to find out if she means the tiny applied metal balls or something

enamelish. I wrote back and asked.  Haven't heard yet.

The period reference for that is

Birka V--Filigree and Granulation Work of the Viking Period :

An Analysis of Materials from Bjorko by Wladyslaw Duczko

(Illustrator) Library Binding, 118pp. ISBN: 9174021621

Publisher: Coronet Books  Pub. Date: June  1985

Ordered from Amazon 9/10/00  $37.49


One on 7-8th C enameling and glass in the Style of the Vendel Culture:

   Arwidsson, Greta.: Vendelstile. Email und Glas im 7.-8. Jahrhundert.

(Acta Musei Antiquitatum Septentrionalum Regiae Universitatis

Upsaliensis II./ Valsgärdestudien. 1.)  Uppsala & Stockholm

(Almqvist & Wiksell), 1942. 136pp.+ 8 plates, 94 illus. hors texte.

19 text figs. Lrg. 4to. 31 x 24 cm. Cloth, Wrappers.

You might try Ronnells.se for a copy. They respond in English if

you email them.  That is the biggest bookstore in all of Scandinavia.





Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 08:39:20 -0400

From: rmhowe <mmagnusm at bellsouth.net>

Subject: [SCA-AS] Re: [Metallum_Lochac] Goldstone and Sunstone

To: Metallum_Lochac at yahoogroups.com.au,   - EKMetalsmiths

        <EKMetalsmiths at yahoogroups.com>,    - Dunstan <Dunstan at yahoogroups.com>,

        - SCA-ARTS <artssciences at lists.gallowglass.org>


Tyghra na Tintagel wrote:

<<< Goldstone is, in fact, a simulant for the natural Sunstone.  I picked up

a beautiful piece of natural Sunstone being sold amongst other gemstones

on a rug in the courtyard market held in front of the Tarragona

Cathedral in Spain.  Sunstone is the national stone of Spain so I

thought it a little serendipitous to find such a lovely piece in a

country that truly appreciates it.


Goldstone looks nothing like Sunstone.  If you get a 10 times loupe or

preferably, slightly higher magnification on to it, the little sparkly

flecks will reveal themselves to be little flakes of copper with perfect

hexagonal outlines.  That's about as interesting as it gets for most

gemmologists :)


Grinding it up for enamelling purposes sounds intriguing though, as does

the green version!  Must try it sometime.


Tyghra >>>


That is a most interesting bit of information. I shall

have to look at it when I buy some green and brown goldstone

in two weeks.  The dealer is coming back to town.


Lillian, my teacher, wants to know if there are any other colors

than green and brown.  She thinks there must be.

Has anyone seen any other colors?


I was amazed at the emerald green with the wonderful flecks.

I only saw it the last five minutes of the show but the sellers

promised they were returning in two weeks for the next one..


She can use it under a transparent layer of colored glass on top of

a clear one for special effects.  I suppose she can alter the

color a bit that way.


Here is how my teacher Lillian uses it in enameling:


<<< The goldstone looks like glitter in the glass.  I layer it in with clear and

transparent to get the effect.  If you grind it, you can control the density

of the glitteryness.  A little goes a long way. >>>


She is using her new agate mortar and pestle to grind it with.

They come in a very pretty box as well.  Mine is very well

made. We bought them from an ebay dealer.  opticaspace


<<< I can try the bottom heat on the tripod.  The metal mesh eats alot of btus,

but that might not be a problem if I use two torches.

http://www.rocksmyth.com/ is the site with lots of Jean Stark stuff.  Check

out the dragonfly. >>>


I think the second paragraph refers strictly to granulation.

There are some amazing pieces on those pages.

We were talking a bit via email about how she is trying to

heat her pieces from above and below.

Another email in which I was talking about granulation with her

revealed the following:


<<< http://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/archive/200112/msg00263.htm


This looks like good instructions to me, except I copper-plate my granules

first to lower the melting temp.  I am going to see about buying some

pre-made granules, for uniformity.  L >>>


I'll have to check with her about how she copper plates granules.

I have plating equipment but I suspect a pen is being used

instead of a bath.  How would you plate granules that are too

small to attach to an electrode?


Jean Stark teaches jewelry at Meredith College in Raleigh NC.

She and her daughter are very well known for their work and

their inventiveness.  They invented a way to photo-resist on

metal with a special little machine.  It takes extremely bright

flashbulbs to burn through a photo-resist.  Then the item

is cleaned and etched.  I have taken those classes from someone

else at the Raleigh Pullen Arts Center here.


I know other ways to do the same thing without the exposure

machine. It costs somewhere over a hundred.  Being a natural

scrounge I have an electric arc machine for doing single

newspaper pages in the basement I bought at State Surplus.

The guy I used to know twentyfive years ago used to expose

his screens for screen printing beneath a strong halogen light

for an hour or so.  He silk screened shirts, signage and very

large backdrops for special events.  The light hung over a

table inside his workshop.


The Stark's classes are a bit too expensive for me to attend.

Somewhere in the US $450 dollar range plus a lot more for

materials. My teacher is one of Jean's students. Then Lillian

teaches folks at the NCSU Crafts Center once she has mastered

a technique.  Her classes are a fifth of what Jean Stark's are

and she is very talented herself.  I take what I would have paid

the Starks for some classes and buy equipment and reference

books instead.  That way I have something tangible to use and

refer to.  Lillian I can afford to take classes from. Hers are still

hard to get into.


Right now she is taking granulation classes from the Starks

and experimenting on her own.  I want the two of us to

collaborate on the experimentation.  I have some equipment

that should be useful in the process I know Lillian doesn't have.


Granulation is the placing of small balls of gold or silver on

the surface of an object and fusing them together.

Lillian wrote me she is actually copper plating the silver balls

before she solders them.  The ancient technique involves

some sort of copper salt so this makes some sense. Silver

can have copper leached out/off of it with acids like plum vinegar,

which is how the Japanese brightened silver/copper alloys.


Anyone knowing exactly which copper  salt was involved

please reply!


She also told me a quarter ounce of the pre-made silver balls

costs $150 so is looking for a way to make them herself in

certain sizes which you have to control the silver amount very

closely in.


I have a curious old tool which apparently was

made for shearing many small sizes of wire to exact lengths.

Have no idea what it is called but when you put it in a vise

and drop the wire down a similar sized hole it stops it where

you set a bottom plate for any length and shears the wire

by sliding the two holed plates against one another in a

fashion that apparently is cam actuated.  It was a lightly

rusty antique when I bought it and cleaned it up.

This thing should precisely cut wire into small bits to

put on a charcoal block and heat into balls.

Lillian does that and then drops it into water.

I also have screens she doesn't and rolling mills, casting

molds and other cutters.  So I am hoping we can collaborate.


I will let you folks know if  I learn something special.





Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2006 20:07:08 -0400

From: Lois Fitzpatrick <soothsyr at optonline.net>

Subject: [SCA-AS] Goldstone colors

To: artssciences at lists.gallowglass.org


There is also blue goldstone available. It is usually a navy-blue color with

silver-appearing sparkles. I have a couple pf pieces of commercially-made

jewelry with it. A number of years ago, I also purchased a few pieces as



Elena Norreys

East Kingdom



Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2006 21:38:50 -0400

From: rmhowe <mmagnusm at bellsouth.net>

Subject: [SCA-AS] Re: [EKMetalsmiths] Pinzart 6"x6" Sheet Mica

To: EKMetalsmiths at yahoogroups.com,  - Metallum_Lochac

        <Metallum_Lochac at yahoogroups.com.au>,      - SCA-ARTS

        <artssciences at lists.gallowglass.org


A. Fisher wrote:

<<< Mica is indeed one way of supporting plique. It is my understanding that

while the enamel does stick to it, it only sticks to the uppermost layer

of the mica, and the remnants can be stoned off during finishing.

Gradually one would use up the mica sheet, but it would take a while. >>>


Thank you for all the information, here is what my teacher,

Lillian, said her experiences are:

<<< Well, I don't know much about Plique a jour.


I have tried it over mica,  just pierce your silver and lay it on a mica

sheet, filling the voids with enamel.  Wires are OK, too, but it should be

structural enough to hold together.  The mica peels off after you are done.

It leaves a funky finish, which I guess you could stone off and flash fire.


Valerie Timofeev is a Russian who builds filigree cups and bowls and fills

it with enamel. It is transparent, and amazing.  I have no clue how it

works, but I am guessing that it has to do with surface tension, rather than

backing it.


You can also enamel with silver filigree on copper foil and etch away the

foil after.  I you get any better answers, I'd be interested. >>>


That was Lillian's sum total reply.

I will pass your tips on to her.

Everyone contributes, everyone learns.


If enameling isn't everyone's cup of tea it at least has it's

own skill set and keeps useful chatter going.  ;)


I hope we get some other replies.


It would be very interesting seeing some awards pierced

and transparent.  Earrings made this way could be

especially attractive with the light passing through them.

Myself? I like pendants and badge making generally,

domed and not domed.


I made all the tiny leaves, stems and knot for a Laurel

medallion several years ago from fine silver ribbon,

put it in the kiln, and I guess someone must have bumped

the table because they all shifted off center when they

melted into the glass.  There went two day's work.


I had taken a long thin needle nosed set of pliers and

ground the leaf shape onto them on the gradually tapering

jaws. One side being rounded, the other being tapered

to a point. By gripping the stem in the leaf itself first

I could then wind it around the pliers and then bend the

'in air' stem away from the leaf and it had worked really well.


For the knot I used my broken and ground needle eye stuck in a

pin-vise invention.  If the wire is annealed then your bends

can be as small as one side of the needle eye and you can

bend to your pattern flat on your paper pattern.


At least with a -pierced sheet- this could not happen.


As to the unfortunate black spots from popped firescale or

the result of using blue glue to hold the ribbons on in difficult

places that leaves holes in the enamel - I use a very sharp

awl point to crack them out, refill, and remelt.

I also think that the firescale often cracks off the stainless

steel trivets that we use to support the pieces in the furnace.

So cleaning them might help. The only exposed copper I

have when I fire is on the edges since I fire both sides at

once for the initial firing.


Just picked up a Jelenko Dental Furnace off eBay today.

I didn't expect to win by at least $40 but I guess many

people forgot to bid on it.  It only went about $11 above

the $69 starting price.  These things have a 3 x 3 x 3"

firing chamber, so would seem adequate for enameling.

There are lots of them on eBay under dental equipment

or Jelenko.  I figured someone would bid over $100,

so bid just to see what would happen in the low $80's

Very surprised when I won.


I reckon I shall buy some mica now since I know how it

is used thanks to you two.


As to the ceramic sheet - could you not use some tile

and possibly coat it with spray silicone or thin kiln wash

or bead release as a parting release and then stone it off?

Or coat it with lamp-black from a candle on the surface?

This is what pewterers did before pouring metal into a

bronze mold.  They held their mold parts above the

candle upside down to coat it.


We used to coat rtv molds with vaseline sprayed in an

airbrush after we had thinned it with Methyl Ethyl Ketonr

or MEK, available at many paint stores. Seems like it

might be possible to do the same with thinned bead release.


At this I am just speculating.

How useful it might be I don't know.


Thank you,





Other possibilities: I've heard of titanium being used similarly, but

the people I know who have tried it said it stuck. I think one needs to

fire the titanium a few times first, to build up an oxide coating or

some such.


You can also buy a fairly expensive and fragile but quite useful thin

ceramic sheet- maybe 2x2 inches- and a support for it. The enamel sticks

a tiny bit to it, but not badly. It is expensive, small and really

fragile, though. I've used this, and it works pretty well. (I haven't

personally used the others.)


Generally I fire "in air"- meaning that the enamel isn't supported by

anything, really. The metal frame is on a tripod support. There are

limitations on cell size and I think it tends to require more firings,

but one can do domed shapes that way, which is why I prefer it.


I would not trust glass as the bond between plique wires. If I do

filigree, I solder it (eutectic or IT solder, then depletion gild). You

can also pierce sheet by sawing (or, I suppose, etching) to make the cells.


I think etching, then removing the backing metal mechanically, sounds

like a horrible amount of work. And I'd be concerned about acids

affecting the enamel. Still, I know it's a traditional approach, at

least in theory!


I do not tend to use copper in plique, since the firescale tends to pop

off while the glass is still tacky, resulting in black specks in the

enamel. I do have a piece of pierced copper with silver filigree that I

built to experiment with, though. Just earrings, so not a big deal if it



Hope this helps!


-Amanda Fisher



rmhowe wrote:

<<< Okay, this has my curiosity up.  I have never heard of enameling on mica


The only too brief page mentions no back enameling.




I presume it doesn't stick to the mica?


Can you lay down wires and fire between them on it?


I may need someone to reexplain the plique a jour technique to me.

I understand it is like enameling in a set of small windows only I thought

the depressions in  the metal were first eaten out by an acid, and then

once the enamels were fired in them, that probably the front is covered

with enamel and the back removed by abrasion or etching to expose the

cells. Here is your chance to educate me on something.

I wouldn't ask if I knew. I have never done enameling on mica or

pliique a jour.  I have done plain enameling and silver cloissone [which

can be also done with copper wire].


Would someone elucidate?








From: Bob Woods <bobwoods at mac.com>

Date: July 4, 2009 12:31:52 AM CDT

To: pewterersguild at yahoogroups.com

Subject: Re: [pewterersguild] coloring pewter


On Jul 3, 2009, at 11:36 AM, Stefan li Rous wrote:

> Just to clarify here. For this last medallion, the Goutte, are you

> firing it for the low-fire Pebec enamels, or real enamel? My

> assumption has been that true enamels require a temperature high

> enough to melt glass, which isn't something you can do in a home

> kitchen oven, and that it would melt the pewter you are enameling.


> Stefan


Yup, the low-temp glass painting "enamel", around 300-325 Fahrenheit. 
Well below the melting point of most pewters of around 600 F, 
depending on alloy. Easily fired in kitchen or even toaster ovens.


I also occasionally do true enameling, mostly on silver, as used in 
the cloissonne and champleve techniques. It uses colored powdered 
glass as the medium. Temps there can vary from around 1100 F up to 
around 1600 F, which is starting to get somewhat close to the melting 
point of fine (100%) silver at 1750 or so. Definitely far into the 
realm of kiln temps, which is why I've got a small enamel kiln.


Real enamel is far more labor intensive compared to the low-fire 
"enamels" which only require painting, letting it dry for 24 hours and 
baking it from 15-30 minutes, which is why I've been able to afford to 
donate the medallions to the kingdom. My material costs for the 
painted pewter medallions are on the order of roughly 35 - 50 cents 
each, and I do them in batches of 20-60 at a time.


I seldom would sell a small enamel piece for less than $50 and some 
could run up to $300 or so, depending on size and complexity. A 
complicated design for the enamel, fabricating fancy mounts, large 
size, or graver work on the silver base in combination with 
transparent enamels to do textural or diapering-type backgrounds all 
can be factors. Most enamels that I've done are custom designs, done 
one at a time on commission.


It commonly takes 4 hours or more for even a simple piece, needing 
anywhere from 5-15 (fairly quick) firings in the kiln to build the 
enamel up, and hand-grinding down rough and high spots between 
firings. Big and complex pieces can take up to 2 days of shop time.


The results with real enamel can be vibrant, permanent color with 
subtle gradations, shading and depth and also is about as period as 
you can get.





From: "mandrisa at gmail.com" <mandrisa at GMAIL.COM>

Date: January 8, 2010 7:54:10 PM CST

To: CALONTIR at listserv.unl.edu

Subject: Re: [CALONTIR] Kiln?


<<<Does anyone know where I can get a good quality kiln at a decent price for enameling?


Ishmala bint Yuhannah >>>


I've heard of people getting good deals at china conventions.




From: Ro <wickedpict at YAHOO.COM>

Date: January 8, 2010 10:59:51 PM CST

To: CALONTIR at listserv.unl.edu

Subject: Re: [CALONTIR] Kiln?


Check out the PMC dealers. They are usually tabletop size and have the temp control for enameling.



<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
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Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org