Online Conversation

The Art of Enameling (Online Conversation)

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How much do you really know about enamel?

This online conversation will be broadcast from L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts in Paris.

The Art of Enameling

How much do you really know about enamel? Behind this word lies an age-old, complex know-how that master glassmakers have continually reinvented over the centuries. From painted enamel to the plique-à-jour technique, notably adopted by the Art Nouveau movement (1880-1914), jewelry and works of art take on a new dimension, enhanced by the depth and intense brilliance of the colored material.

Already used in Ancient Greece in the 2nd millennium BC, enameling is the product of a skillful alchemy involving the fusion of metal and glass.

Enamel work was very popular in France between the 12th and 17th centuries and was passed down through the great families of enamellers, who were constantly developing new techniques: champlevé enamel, which was very popular in the Middle Ages, particularly in Limoges; grisaille enamel, typical of the work of Pierre Reymond (around 1513-1584); and plique-à-jour enamel, used by Charles Riffault, a Parisian enameller and jeweler who worked for Maison Boucheron in the 1870s and 1880s. Enamel also played a part in the creative explosion of Art Nouveau, fueled by the proliferation of scientific knowledge at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.

As a regular companion to the technical and ornamental research that has punctuated the history of jewelry, enamel intrigues and inspires. Transparent, translucent or opaque, enamels lend a subtle play of texture to contemporary creations such as the narrative rings by contemporary designers Ilgiz Fazulzyanov (b. 1968) and Elena Okutova. The same is true of the Automate Fée Ondine (2017), Van Cleef & Arpels' first Extraordinary Object, dressed in sapphires with translucent wings hemmed in diamonds and crafted in plique-à-jour enamel.

Marie Oberlin, Master Enameler and Lecturer at L'ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts and Paul Paradis, Art Historian, Decorative Arts and Jewelry Specialist and Lecturer at L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts will introduce you to the mysteries of enamel, which will no longer hold any secrets for you.

Session for audience in Europe:
Wednesday, September 13th at 7:00 pm (Paris time)
in French


Session for audience in Asia Pacific (7:00 pm, Hong Kong time):
Thursday, September 14th at 1:00 pm (Paris time)
in English, with simultaneous interpretation available in Cantonese, Mandarin and Japanese


Session for audience in the USA (1:00 pm, New York time):
Thursday, September 14th at 7:00 pm (Paris time)
in English 


Photo: Boucheron, enamel attributed to Charles Riffault, Hairpin (detail). Blonde horn, enamel, gold, diamonds, fine pearl and cultured pearl, 1870. 
Paris, Boucheron collection. Photo: Benjamin Chelly

Our Online Talks

Developed by the teams at L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts to offer a new look at the world of jewelry, these online talks bring together two experts for a 45-50 minute conversation that is followed by a Q&A session during which you may submit your questions by instant messaging.

Should you wish to learn more, L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts will send you a detailed bibliography following the event.

These talks are held in French and English and simultaneously interpreted in Cantonese, Mandarin, and Japanese. You will also find them available for viewing on YouTube at your leisure once the event has come to a close.

Participating in these conversations hosted by L’ÉCOLE, School of Jewelry Arts allows you to join a community of curious enthusiasts eager to discover and learn.