Thursday, November 19, 2009
Beaded Jewelry by Susan: The Collections (cont.)
So some of the earrings in the collection are made with cloisonne or Chinese enamel beads. In both cases, the technique is ancient and has been used not only for beads, but for vases, cups, and elaborate and ornate objects of all kinds.
Basically, a design is set out in wires filled with colored powdered glass; then the bead is fired at high termperatures. The result is a combination of brilliant glossy color and intricate and elegant design.
Enamel beads are extremely lightweight because the enameling is done on hollow copper beads. Cloisonne is very similar, but the core bead is a slightly heavier metal.
Porcelain beads, especially with Chinese characters on them, also are good examples of this category. Porcelain is a special type of ceramic pottery that is very fine and the glazing can be as intricate as stone carving. Blue and white is probably the most
Red is an important color as well. Carved cinnabar was famous in ancient times, but cinnabar is toxic, so what is still sometimes called cinnabar is actually carved wood. In the necklace shown below, carved "cinnabar" wood is combined with other materials, such as porcelain and dangles, that are familiar materials in the Orient Express collection.