|Enamel Cross Earrings in Shimmering Blue|
Jewelry makers naturally keep an eye on the latest styles and color trends. So I've noticed that this year's spring fashions have been dominated by iridescent fabrics and high-wattage metallics. These lovely shimmering pastel textiles reminded me of a group of unique mica based pigments - Carefree Lusters - that I had purchased from Thompson Enamel a few years ago. After seeing the samples in the middle of a Thompson's catalogue I just couldn't resist ordering them, knowing that someday they would be ideal for a special project.
|Metallic Aqua Enamel Teardrop Earrings|
Back then, I had played with the lusters for a few days, but never had that "Ah ha!" moment... until I saw this spring's fashions begin to appear on travel shows, commercials and in fashion magazines. So I retrieved the lusters from storage and began to experiment anew, making samples and recording the results at different firing times and temperatures. Soon, I felt comfortable enough to fire the lusters on actual enameled components and was ready to begin creating some new jewelry pieces to complement this spring's styles and colors.
|Tiny Metallic Rose Gold Enamel Earrings|
For those of you who may be interested in the techniques involved in working with Thompson Luster Enamels, I will offer a few of the discoveries that I made through trial and error in developing my own procedures.
- Firing temperature is calculated according to the base enamel.
- I had success firing at approximately 60 degrees below the normal firing temperature of the base enamel.
- More is better. Any excess of unfused luster can easily be wiped or washed away after firing; but using an insufficient amount of luster can result in a rough surface.
- Always start with a smooth, level surface that extends completely to the edges.