Enamel is all around us. Whether you realize it or not, the glossy coating is often applied to metals as a form of decoration and layer of protection.
You can find it on many sinks, cookware, sinks, picture frames, trinkets—and, yes, jewelry.
What is Enamel Jewelry?
In short, enamel is usually made by fusing a special glass powder (similar to the texture of baby powder) onto the metal by firing it at a high temperature. Its name comes from the Old High German word “smelzan” aka “smelt” which means to fuse or melt (the mineral ore) to separate the metal contained.
The art of enameling dates back to 1400 BCE in Mycenae, Greece. Since then, many popular techniques (including cloisonné, champlevé, basse-taille, plique-à-jour, guilloché) have been created and practiced all around the world.
And for good reason—enamel can completely change the look of metal by adding color and a smooth texture.
Mix and match! You can wear enamel jewelry with non-enamel pieces like these Mismatched Key of F Earrings.
Why Enamel Jewelry is Trending in 2021?
Enameling dates back many centuries and never really went out of style. With so many technique variations, the possibilities are endless. Enamel can add interest to a piece of jewelry without using gemstones—or to complement them.
Perhaps why enamel jewelry is trending in 2021 has to do with nostalgia. At least, that’s how I feel. The past year spent mostly in quarantine in my childhood bedroom brought me back to old treasures like pearl hair clips, tie-dye sets, and printed floral dresses that my six-year-old self would have swooned over.
Enamel jewelry is another one of those rediscoveries that somehow feel as comfortable as catching up with an old friend.
I remember the colorful enamel bubble rings and bangles I had way back when and that happy feeling every time I slipped them on. I think it’s safe to say that if there’s something we all need in 2021, it’s a mood-booster.
How to Style Enamel Jewelry
There are plenty of enamel jewelry styles out there. It’s not limited to just antique brooches or colorful kids’ pieces. These days, you can easily find enamel jewelry pieces that range from casual to classy and everything in-between.
Our Book Locket and Book Bracelet (inspired by ornate vintage storybooks) feature enameling detailing in three color options: magenta, mother-of-pearl, and black. It was designed to honor the moments and milestones in your life and opens up to reveal a fortune in which you can switch to correlate with the “chapter” of your life.
For a subtle take on enamel, take a close look at our Love Letters Necklace. If you flip each letter on its side, you’ll find mother-of-pearl enamel detailing. This gives it something extra because, sometimes, it’s the little things that mean the most. Fun fact: the font is inspired by the one used on the U.S. currency so you can channel your own personal fortune.
Jewelry can hold the power to express emotions. If you’re one to wear your heart on your sleeve, try our Jeweled Heart Bracelet, which was made by transforming enamel into ruby, amethyst, and crystal-style gems onto a gold heart that opens up to reveal a message.
As a symbol of divine love, our Sacred Heart Pendant is embellished with ruby enamel. The deep red color means love and passion. Its undeniably bold and dangles from an adjustable gold chain.
If you want to show even more of a story, go with our Heart Phases Charm Necklace. Each charm (including a broken heart, band-aid, sacred heart, jeweled heart, and arrow) represents a different “phase” of love. The sacred heart and sacred heart charms both have ruby enamel that can add a bit of color to your look.
Style-wise, know that Rule #1 is that there are no rules. Personal taste is unique, so if you’re one to wear bold jewels with bold prints, go for it.
If you’re up for some tips, perhaps wear neutral-colored enamel jewelry with colorful outfits so that it doesn’t compete for attention. On the flip side, you can wear colorful enamel jewelry with neutrals—or with a solid top and printed pants.
How to Care for Enamel Jewelry
Starting off, if you’re shopping for a new piece, examine the enamel to make sure it doesn’t have any chips or cracks.
Enamel is fairly easy to clean and maintain. To clean it, soak the piece in warm water with soap for five to ten minutes. Then, use a soft cloth to remove any residue and dry it.
If the piece is damaged, your best bet is to take it to a jeweler who specializes in repairing enamel. Broken antique pieces may require a specific process to repair.
And lastly, place your enamel pieces in a safe space when it’s not in use. Storing it in a jewelry box can keep it in tip-top shape for years to come.
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