How to Enamel Jewelry

By Valerie Powell

Enamel jewelry and artwork originated in ancient Egypt; and the Romans and ancient Greeks also used enameling techniques. The durable quality of enamel, and the ability to make personalized designs, attract people to enamel jewelry making. Most enameling is done on copper pendants, which can be attached to necklaces, bracelets, pins or earrings.

Purchase your supplies from craft stores or online retailers. Some companies offer enameling starter kits with all of the necessary supplies included.

Clean the pendant with soap and water to remove any grease or oil. Be sure not to touch the front of the pendant with your fingers after washing.

Apply a coat of gum solution on the back of the pendant with a paint brush. This prevents oxidation when the jewelry is fired.

Turn the pendant over to the front copper surface without the gum solution. Using the sifter, sprinkle enameling powder over the front of the pendant. You can use two different colors by sprinkling one color on one half and another color on the other half. Be aware that using too many colors may cause the enamel to have a muddy or brown finish.

Add glass threads or rocks to create patterns in your design.

Use a spatula to place the pendant into the kiln. The kiln should be fired at 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. It will take only a few minutes to complete the enameling.

Hold a finger above the pendant to feel for radiating heat to test if it is still hot. When the pendant is completely cool, attach it to thread or wire to finish your jewelry.

Tip

Experiment with new colors by mixing powders together. You can lighten or darken colors by adding white or black powders to colored powder.

Warning

Enamel powder can be harmful if inhaled or if it gets in eyes. Take care while working and wear protective equipment. Your jewelry will be extremely hot after coming out of the kiln, so be careful not to touch the pendant.

About the Author

Valerie Powell is a recent graduate of Ithaca College in New York with a Bachelor of Arts in writing. Her past writing experience includes a team-created grant proposal for a non-profit publishing company, an editorial internship at a small publishing company in London, England, and various articles published online for eHow.