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Enameling

Powdered glass is converted into art.

In a discussion of art technology, enamel (or vitreous enamel, or porcelain enamel in American English) is the colorful result of fusion of powdered glass to a substrate through the process of firing, usually between 750 and 850 degrees Celsius. The powder melts and flows to harden as a smooth, durable vitreous coating on metal, glass or ceramic. It is often applied in a paste form and may be transparent or opaque when fired. Vitreous enamel can be applied to most metals.

Vitreous enamel has many excellent properties: it is smooth, hard, chemically resistant, durable, can take on long-lasting, brilliant colors, and cannot burn. Disadvantages are its tendency to crack or shatter when the substrate is stressed or bent.

The bright, jewel-like colors have also made enamel a favored choice for designers of jewelry and bibelots, such as ancient beads, the fantastic eggs of Peter Carl Fabergé, enameled copper boxes of Battersea enamellers, and artists such as George Stubbs and other painters of portrait miniatures. Enameling was a favorite technique of the Art Nouveau jewellers.

According to some sources, the word "enamel" comes from the High German word "smelzan" (to smelt) via the Old French "esmail".

Color in enamel is obtained by the addition of various minerals, often metal oxides cobalt, praseodymium, iron, or neodymium. The last creates delicate shades ranging from pure violet through wine-red and warm gray. Enamel can be either transparent, opaque or opalescent (translucent), which is a variety that gains a milky opacity the longer it is fired. Different enamel colours cannot be mixed to make a new colour, in the manner of paint. This produces tiny specks of both colours; although the eye can be tricked by grinding colors together to an extremely fine, flour-like, powder.


Source: Wikipedia


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