The Making of an Enamel Cabochon Jewel

There is a lot of jewelry described as enameled, but not all enamels are the same.  Many are resin based enamels for coloring a piece without high temperature heat and are easy to do. The higher quality jewelry will be enameled using what is called vitreous enamel which is a pigmented glass that melts at temperatures in the 1300 to 1500 degree Fahrenheit range.  It requires specialized tools and techniques.  There are many styles and techniques in enameling and I learned this particulare technique from an amazing professional enamelist, Falcher Fusager of who taught a Masters Class at Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts in San Francisco where I graduated as a Jeweler.

Here is a basic explanation of how I create an enamel cabochon jewel:

001   Forming fine silver cloisonne wire on design


002  Cloisonne wire set on a domed and textured fine silver disk 

  005  Filling in “cells” with wet vitreous enamel


006  First of several layers ready to fire at 1350 – 1450 degrees Fahrenheit

007  Using small kiln when firing one piece at a time

008  Checking to see the progress

009  First layer fired and ready to add more enamel 


011  Last of several layers fired

012  Grinding the surface smooth to form a cabochon

013  Fired one last time to bring back the glossy finish, it’s ready to set!



from camera 012  Finished Piece – Front view

from camera 013  Finished Piece – Back view