From the glass family
Coloured pieces with high quality pigments
Enamel belongs to the glass family, like crystal, which has a similar composition. The different shades of colour are created in a crystal factory by fusing a colourless enamel with calcined metal oxides: for example, cobalt gives blue tones and copper green or red.
The technique of grand feu enamel is a historical technique which consists of applying a mixture of enamel powder and water to a gold, silver or copper piece and then firing it in a furnace. In this way, the enamel melts and binds to the metal, then solidifies once it cools.
The enameller, whose role is to sublimate the object, relies on this technique to create coloured pieces with high quality pigmentations. As part of our HSE policy, our materials – enamels – are lead-free.
Thus, this unique process of personalisation makes it possible to create unalterable and refined decorations on exceptional objects. The work of a grand feu enameller requires many qualities such as patience, dexterity and perseverance. Enamel is a demanding material that sometimes needs to be worked on several times before obtaining the desired result.
Grand feu enamel in pictures
Reveal the colour
In order to bring out the colour of the glaze, a precise application process must be followed. First, the enamel pieces must be ground to powder in a mortar and then mixed with demineralised water. Then, the piece to be decorated must be thoroughly cleaned and placed on its support. The enamel is first applied under the microscope using a brush. This is the beginning of an iterative stage between glazing and firing. The enameller recolours the piece two to five times before obtaining a deep, bright colour. Therefore, it is at the end of the firing process that one discovers the beauty of the colours permanently applied to the piece.
The mirror effect
The last stage is the glazing: the enameller heats the piece one last time to give it a mirror effect. This is followed by polishing, which guarantees the shine and beauty of the object.
Enamel is a versatile material that allows for a variety of colourful creations. The importance of mastering grand feu enamel is therefore to bring prestigious pieces to life. It is often used in fine jewellery and watches.
Between alchemy and magic
Once the piece has been enamelled, the small grains of enamel and the metallic edges are scraped off in water with abrasive stones or diamond tools.
In addition to the wide range of colours, enamelling techniques further enrich the range of possible designs.
Here are the most common ones: