A Brief History of Enameling


What's so special about Nicole Barr Jewelry?

The story starts in the 1980's with a small company with a singular focus on the work and artistry of enameling. We began with the simplest enameling technique which is called Cloisonné - cells of glass bounded by fine wires. This enabled us to explore combinations of glass colors with different patterns which is the very heart of enameling.

We didn't know it then - but it was the tip of an iceberg. The use of enamel to decorate jewelry goes back several thousand years with a rich design history - from the Egyptians to the Celts and on to our era with Art Nouveau.

Enameling experienced a revival from the 1850's featuring prominently in work by the master jewelry houses like Lalique, Boucheron and Tiffany. The French demonstrated great skill and bestowed the names of the enameling techniques we use today. Yet the greatest admiration is reserved for the Russian Fabergé workshops - for their 'Creations of Fantasy' for the Czars. Their work is an inspiration for all who love enamels.

Such heritage...our work's cut out for us.

We hope you'll follow Nicole Barr jewelry as we continue to develop and practise the Art of Fine Enameling now in the 21st Century.

 Topaz Plique a Jour Dragonfly setThe foremost of these enameling techniques is called Plique á Jour and is essentially miniature stained glass supported by a filigree of precious metal. Light is captured by the glass with a diaphanous effect.  

 Pearl Dogwood Suite
A second enameling technique is called Champlevé. This work entails casting a 3/D metal object and enameling the surface. Enameling brings out subtle details in the design with varying depths of color and the 3/D shape produces surprisingly lifelike pieces. 
 Art Nouveau Sets
Many people are familiar with the engine turned enamel boxes made popular by Fabergé and Cartier. This enameling is called Basse-Taille and is produced by embossing a surface with a finely detailed pattern. The depth of the enamel applied and the reflective properties of the metal infuse a texture and color that is the principal feature of these designs.  

These Art of Enameling techniques, in conjunction with the fine metalsmith work and gemstone setting, produce colorful jewelry which is attractive and unique.

Offering a wide range of jewelry from classic Art Nouveau or Deco styles through to modern designs, with over 700 pieces to choose from.

 Nicole Barr jewelry - creative and contemporary - Make a statement !

Watch a Video on YouTube of Plique a Jour enameling

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