Sunday, February 21, 2010

Things I've learned of while vending the vintage shinies

There have been some wonderful discoveries I've made while researching the pieces I acquire for Miss Victoria's Vintage, and I wanted to share two of my favorites with you, both involving the engraving or etching of the metal surface of the jewelry piece.

The first is Damascene metal work. It is named after the the city of Damascus, where it is said the technique originated. It's an inlay process, where a base metal is engraved in intricate designs and then grooves are inlaid with wires of gold or silver which are hammered into place. The non-precious metal surfaces are "blued," or oxidized, giving a black finish. The results are stunning:

The second is Guilloche enamelwork, reputedly named after a French engineer Robert Guillot, who invented a metal engraving machine that did fine work. In Guilloche jewelry, a repetitive pattern is machined onto a metal surface, and an enamel, usually translucent, is applied over the metal:

The intricacy and delicacy of the work is truly amazing. It's always hard when I find pieces produced with these techniques to give them up.

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