life in the facet lane Everything Old is new again by Diana Jarrett GG RMV

Our true wealth is tied to having gratitude for what life brings our way, everyday!

Jewelry has been a form of personal expression for both its creator and wearer for millennia. Jewelry fanatics admire the stunning gold and gemstone adornments that graced the ancient tombs of Egyptian pharaohs for a glimpse of just how archaic personal accessorizing really is.

But in fact, archaeologists tell us it’s older than we previously thought. The earliest examples of jewelry can be found in ancient caves near Monaco, dating to 25,000 years ago. Was it gold and shimmering emeralds? Not so much, historians say. The earliest personal decorations were a simple necklace made from fish bones. But the recipient likely wore it with pride.

The Rise of Enameling

Blue Plique-ajour brooch, 18 K gold w/diamonds & Tahitian Pearl and Ruby, Nicole Barr

Since those ancient days, jewelry has evolved to more artistic expressions rendered in precious metals, diamonds, and gemstones, and enamel—a skilled craftsmanship applied to delicate jewelry work. Jewelry anthropologists say the art of enameling dates to at least the 13th century BC. Enameled pieces of jewelry and artwork began to appear and its devotees have been legion ever since.

Important civilizations have embraced the art form of enamel as storytelling mechanisms, owing to enamel’s delicate application which makes detailed motifs and pictures possible.

Choose Your Favorite
There’s more than one type of enamel, and each has its own charm. Champlevé for example utilizes a base metal of copper or silver upon which enamel is applied. Plique-à-jour enameling creates a stained glass effect by the application of enamel between metal wires without a backing, allowing light to be transmitted. Basse-taille applies translucent enamel over carved or engraved metal surfaces, so the under pattern can show through. While this list of enameling techniques isn’t exhaustive, it helps us appreciate the fine art of enamel which has never gone out of vogue.

Turquoise Plique – a Jour brooch, 18K Nicole Barr

If you haven’t seen an abundance of fine enamel jewelry –there’s a good reason. This ancient art form requires skilled jewelry artisans to perform it perfectly. And in today’s world, not many designers know how or are experts in this art.

Still, well known enamel jewelry designers Nicole Barr have a celebrated history in creating exquisite enamel items to treasure. Notice the delicate colors and detailing that reflect their expertise in this art form. While you may not have collected enamel jewelry before, once you understand its ancient roots, you may want to add some special pieces to your jewelry wardrobe and enjoy this ancient art form.

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