Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Enamoured of enamel: Part Two, Pieces

Part Two of a two-part post.

Enamel pieces abound at all price points but it's not worth even considering the cute Target bangles, which will chip faster than $2 nail polish. I will show the magnificent Tiffany Schlumberger bracelet to show how superb enamel glows. (Price, $31,200.)

Here are two pieces from
  Beladora; Belle offers such gorgeous vintage choices.

A ca. 1970 bangle, half jade and half enameled silver, with an exotic orchid motif; price, $499. I'm not naming names, but take your $500 to certain jewelers and see what you get. This is from the Beladora2 site.

Belle also has, on Beladora, this soigneé set of woven enamel clip-back earrings and ring (size 5 3/4). Evah so Palm Beachy, at an eminently reasonable $1,250. Jeans, pale blue shirt and these...

I'm showing the detail of the shell on Aurelie Bidermann's pendant; the cyclamen pink pop on an 18 1/2 inch orange cord makes a summer passepartout piece. From Netaporter; price, $79.


The Kate Spade "Idiom" bangle uses epoxy resin (sometimes called "cold enamel".) It's durable, made from the same kind of product you'd use to repair a porcelain sink. This bracelet shows another feature of enamel: you can enjoy a big, graphic piece for a modest cost. Price, $78 from Nordstrom. Mixes well with other bangles, but wear chain bracelets on your other wrist.


Enamel creates a dramatic backdrop for stones. I like these enamel, ruby and diamond hoops, especially the scattered in-and-out setting. On sale for $239 from Buy.com.


I admire elegant old pieces and treasure an enameled dragonfly brooch that was my mother's. 
Here's a similar one, of silver with green, gold and orange enamel. 1 3/4" across. From Argo & Lehne Jewelers, price, $237.

Beladora again, with a piece of particular charm: an Art Nouveau fly bar brooch with emerald eyes. We share a love of Deco and Nouveau birds and bugs. Price, $795.

If you find an enamel piece at a jumble or church sale, snap it up. A bit of crazing (the network of fine cracks) can add to the vintage charm and small chips can be repaired, but stay away from dents and damage to clasps or hinges. (Soldering can wreck enamel.)


Enamel work is under-appreciated by the bling crowd, its aesthetic deeply admired by women who prize artistry over carat weight. Might that be you?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

My heart belongs to that dragonfly! I love the delicate older enamel pieces, and agree that bugs and birds are irresistible. I have one of those tiny Anderson enamel butterfly pins from the 50s, gas-flame blue, and I'm always looking for more, as I'd like to have a little flock of them flitting across the shoulder of a jacket. Until then, I've hooked the single butterfly over one greeny-bronze link of a Michael Michaud willow-leaf necklace.

My mother and daughter both love the chunkier enamels, especially black on gold. My daughter's great thrift shop find was also a butterfly, but a large one: a vintage Diane von Furstenberg piece in pimento red and black on gold, suspended by its outstretched wings from a sleek gold chain. She was thrilled to discover it, and wears it with panache.

C.

coffeeaddict said...

I am fascinated by enamel. I am vaguely aware of the fact that enameling is an extremely precise and agonizingly difficult art. As such I am willing to pay the (hefty) price of enamel jewellery. The problem, as you already mentioned, there isn't all that much enamel jewellery on the market today.
I wonder, have you ever heard of Frey Wille http://www.frey-wille.com? I'd be very interested in your opinion of their jewellery.

Deja Pseu said...

Oh, j'adore that dragonfly! Good to know about not trying to repair clasps. I'm on the lookout now for a nice hinged bangle (simple bangles are often too big for me and slide off) with colors and patterns that appeal to me. Thanks for enlightening us on enamel jewelry, Duchesse!

william said...

These are gorgeous and yes, I hope I am one of those women who value artistry over carats! Thank you!
Francie

MJ said...

Be still my heart - those earrings are gorgeous. But I don't think I can justify the price.

LPC said...

So we can assume that the fly bar - barfly imputed pun is intended? :)

Duchesse said...

C.: What a treasure! I love the idea of a pin added on a necklace and would love to see yours. Thrift shops are great hunting grounds for enamel, if people don't value it, they just dump it.

coffeeaddict: Frey-Wille make gorgeous pieces. Most of the bracelets are bright for my taste, and in general I avoid "homage to artists" themed pieces. But there are some pieces I'd long to own. They just opened a large shop in NYC.

Pseu: Hinged are not all that easy to find but I'm sure Belle would keep an eye out for you.

Francie: Thank you for the encouragement!

MJ: Hmmm, layaway? And don't forget this kind of thing is often found on tables at church rummage sales (in varying levels of quality).

LPC: You called it!

rb said...

I have a stack of 14k and 18k gold bangles I've collected slowly. Sometimes I add to the mix a green enamel bracelet I bought on clearance at Talbots for probably $5. Inevitably, someone will grab my wrist and ask where I got the green bracelet. ha!

coffeeaddict said...

Duchesse, thank you for the response. A Frey Wille store opened in Slovenia a couple of years ago but I was very apprehensive due to their aggressive advertising.

Belle de Ville said...

Another great post!

It so sad that so many beautiful antique enamel jewelry items have been sent to melt because the enamel was damaged. Repairing enamel requires not just a regular bench jeweler but a real artist.

Right now we are having repaired an amazing antique bracelet. It will take 6 months to fix, but the time spent will be worth it.

Rubiatonta said...

More beauties today! Those ruby and diamond hoops - yum!

I have a couple of pair of resin earrings that I love but haven't work much lately -- thanks for reminding them to go dig them out of the jewelry box.

barbara said...

Thank you for bringing close to me the beauty of enamel.
Strolling over the flea markets very often (fresh air and less boring then a walk in the forest) I saw nice items , but never was interested.You changed my mind completely and I'm hunting now!
My first buy though yesterday has been a brooch with a bird's pair (blue and green tones) on ebay.
Can't wait to get it.
I love to browse through your blog!!!
Sorry for my non-perfect English.

Duchesse said...

barbara: Your pair of birds sounds charming. Enamel is still available at very good prices, but the best-known such as Anderson is prized and priced accordingly.