1. What a beautiful jewel! It pleases me greatly to see this most fine and precious of all liturgical arts being practiced today. I have two technical questions:

    How does the silver need to be maintained? Does it need frequent polishing? Would it be feasible to gold-plate the piece after enameling?

    It is hard to tell in the final picture – did you grind the surface all the way down until the silver and enamel are perfectly flush, or did you leave enamel cells concave? What is your feeling on these two alternatives, both regarding aesthetics and cost?

    1. Christabel

      Thank you Andrew for your kind comments and I trust that you are well. The silver will need occasionally light polishing as is subject to minor tarnishing depending on the environment in which it is kept, although fine silver tarnishes more slowly than lower grades of silver which are alloyed. A light polishing with a soft silver cloth would be sufficient. As it is solid fine silver, if the plaque was at some point scratched it could also be professionally repolished by a jeweller.

      Fine silver is particularly good for enamelling as is so luminous underneath transparent enamel. Yes, it can also be gold plated after enamelling, although there is a minor risk of damage if there are any weaknesses in the enamel. In such a case the enamelling would need to be repaired and then the piece regilded. Many of the ancient pieces were copper or silver gilt (vermeil) and solid gold could be used if using the repoussé method (discussed above). Another option could involve using 24 carat gold cloisonné wire on silver and then gilding after enamelling.

      In this case, the surface of the plaque is not uniformly flat as I felt that it added interest and character to the design. Cloisonné enamel can be concave, convex or polished to a completely flat surface. Personally I think that having some variation can in some cases add to the design, however most cloisonné enamel is ground entirely flat. I think it very much depends on the individual piece and what is most suitable for it. In terms of cost, the final polishing can take a little time but would not dramatically alter the cost of the piece. I hope that this helps answer you questions…

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