Thursday Tip – Removal of Enamel and How to Repair it When It All Goes Wrong.

Thursday Tip

Welcome to the latest in a series of articles to do with enamelling and making jewellery. I hope you find them useful. I am writing about issues and problems I have experienced (and hopefully overcome), and tips and shortcuts concerning enamelling and making jewellery that I have come across in the course of the past twenty years or so. As I always tell my students, I have made most of the mistakes possible over the years. I am trying to share what I have learnt so that you don’t have to! In this post I am going to tell you some of the ways that I remove and repair enamel that has gone wrong.

What To Do When Enamelling Goes Wrong

Firstly, don’t panic! Tempting I know but it really doesn’t help. When You realise that your carefully crafted work of art has gone wrong, walk away and have a cup of tea, Look at it another day when you feel less emotional. If it is still a disaster, ask your self, ‘Can I fix it?’ Well very often you can. Of course, if you have managed to melt your silver as I often have, then there is little you can do other than call it ‘experimental’ and put it down to experience. However, if it is a black spot, a slipped cloisonne wire or a colour burning out, then a diamond burr in a flexible shaft will often fix it. I have included a picture of my Mermaid Necklet because this went spectacularly wrong on several occasions  I actually put it away for a year before I was able to find out how to rectify it’s problems!


How to Remove Enamel When It Has Gone Wrong

Using plenty of water, and a diamond burr in a flexible shaft, simply drill out the offending area.  Brush thoroughly with a glass brush under running water. Sometimes I use a dash of ammonia just to ensure any residual dust has been washed away. Refill the area, replacing any wires that you have removed. Dry thoroughly and fire again. Unfortunately, the repair isn’t always invisible. Consider whether you could add some gold or silver foils, or some painted decoration to disguise the problem.

Rectifying mistakes isn’t easy and straight forward. However it is very useful to be able to do when you have made a mistake on an elaborate and expensive silver piece. This is just one way that I remove and repair enamel and I will be writing more on this subject in later posts.


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