Enamel jewelry, or how to drive a jewel “into paint”
The ancient art of enamel art
Enamel in jewelry has been used since time immemorial. As in any real science, scientists do not have an exact answer to the question of when and where exactly it happened. But there are a few assumptions.
Ancient Egypt. As excavations show, this technique was in demand even in Ancient Egypt many thousands of years ago. In those distant years, enamel was covered not only and not so much with individual jewelry like medallions or bracelets. It was used much more actively in the so-called arts and crafts. So, for example, in the ancient world, a very bright and distinctive direction was the color enameled coating of various items of utensils and furniture – from cups to chests.
Middle East. Here, too, not only jewelry was decorated with enamel, but also household items. In the East, both then and now, all kinds of murals and ornaments are popular. And the masters of antiquity learned to create real masterpieces, the ornaments of which were executed using the technique of hot enamel.
Byzantine Empire. This country is considered the birthplace of cloisonne enamel – one of the varieties of this decorative coating. Apparently, already in the IV century in Byzantium began to decorate dishes in this way.
But enamel jewelry was also popular in the ancient world. Perhaps for our ancestors it was one of the most affordable ways to make life brighter and saturate it with colors. The highest achievement for jewelers of antiquity was to imitate gems using the “enameled” technique so that the differences were completely invisible. So juicy scarlet “rubies” appeared, intensely colored “emeralds” and other incredible “minerals”, which were made using coating in the form of enamel.
The further history of the victorious procession of enamel on the planet did not know periods of decline – only flourishing.
Europe. Just ten centuries ago, the flowering of enameled jewelry began in Europe. Germany, Italy, France – in all these and other countries there was an incredible number of workshops that covered gold jewelry with bright colors and sold them to the richest European aristocrats.
Kievan Rus. In ancient Russia, enamel was well known back in the 10th century (it penetrated there from Byzantium along with Christianity). True, our ancestors called it differently – enamel. Often, such a coating was used in the interior decoration of premises (for example, in churches or palaces, as well as in the homes of wealthy aristocrats). Like the Egyptians, the ancient Rusichs enameled dishes and furniture.
China. Obviously, enamel in the jewelry art of this ancient country began to play a large role in the XII-XVI centuries, when Chinese masters commissioned by emperors experimented by applying an enamel layer to copper products. The delicate and beautiful Chinese enamel in sky blue is now the hallmark of both the Celestial Empire and its incredible art. As a rule, beautiful blue curls cover not only dishes and casket boxes, but also silver items, above all, individual jewelry.