Many Bario Neal pieces feature enamel work. Up until very recently, we only worked in glass enamel, and are now happy to offer resin enamel on a selection of our boutique pieces as well. This short article will discuss the differences of the two types of enamel.
Glass enamel, also known as hot, vitreous, or true enamel, is essentially glass fused to a metal surface. Most often, the glass is a blend of silica (or sand), soda, lime, and borax. This mix creates a clear, colorless enamel called flux. Enamel can be transparent, opaque or opalescent (translucent), and an enormous range of colors can be made by adding metal oxides to the flux. Joan Strott Alvini, our enamelist who has worked with fine jewelry & enamel for more than 25 years on Philadelphia’s Jeweler’s Row, reminds us that many of the colors used today are the same as those used by early Byzantine artists.
Glass enamel’s color range and classic quality make it a beautiful and long lasting addition to fine jewelry as well as more casual pieces. Because the glass binds to the metal when fired, glass enamel can only adhere to specific alloys of precious metals.
Resin enamel, also known as cold or epoxy enamel, is a more economic alternative to glass enamel. It is made out of epoxy resin and does not require being heated with a kiln or torch. It is also lighter weight and scratches more easily than glass enamel. Resin enamel can be used on a wider variety of metals, including bronze, making it ideal for everyday jewelry.
We just released these fun bracelets which use resin enamel to create a marbling effect.
Enamel pieces may require maintenance over time, due to everyday wear and tear. Since enamel is made of either glass or resin, there is the chance it may crack with wear. If you work with your hands a lot, we would not suggest wearing your enamel pieces during very laborious hands-on activities. If something should happen, we offer re-enameling services if you need to repair your Bario Neal jewelry.