Materials, Techniques & Shop Info

Materials, Techniques & Shop Information

Although I do work in metalsmithing using sterling, fine silver and mixed metals, most of my current work is in vitreous enamels.

Below is some information about the materials, processes and other shop information.

Vitreous enamel, also referred to as porcelain enamel, is a finely powdered glass which is fused to a substrate by firing at temperatures of 1450°F to 1500°F.

I use pure copper sheet from which the shapes are cut, and occasionally fine silver.

The enamels I use are all unleaded and all of the jewelry is lead, nickel, and cadmium free. A variety of techniques are used to produce the magnificently unique creations from Divella Designs.

Because there are so many variables with the techniques used, no two pieces are exactly alike which gives you treasured piece of wearable art that is yours alone.

At Divella Designs I strive to minimize waste in every way I can as long as it does not affect the desired outcome and quality of the jewelry. For instance,

  • I recycle all my scraps and/or use them for testing different formulas.
  • I try to make sure everything that comes into the studio can be recycled. I must be doing a pretty good job because my small trash can only needs to be emptied about twice a year!
  • I use recycled and/or recyclable packaging.
  • Because the kiln operates at such a high temperature, I have my studio processes set up in such a way that I am maximizing the time the kiln is on.
  • Enamel powder is very fine and there are times when using multiple colors, some of the colors will mix. This is referred to as contaminated enamel because the color isn’t pure. Rather than throwing it away, I put all of my “contaminated” enamel powder in a special container to be used as counter-enamel on the backs of pieces.

 The ear wires I use are generally Niobium due to their hypoallergenic properties. Niobium is used in medical devices such as pacemakers. There is a minute percentage of people who cannot wear Niobium, whereas those with other metal allergies or sensitivities are fairly common. I am happy to substitute sterling silver or gold filled if that is your preference.

The gold-filled wire I use is 14/20 which means the wire has to be 1/20th 14K gold in relation to the core. Don’t confuse this with gold plated which can crack and peel. The bonding process is much different and of course, gold-filled has a much higher quantity of gold. Gold-filled wire can be bent, twisted, rolled and yes even soldered (carefully) without affecting the quality and brilliance of the gold.

The “gold” sheet I use is primarily NuGold, also known as Jewelers Brass. It has a color and shine very similar to 14K gold. The earrings below are an example of both the gold-filled ire and Nu-Gold. The beauty of it is apparent and they can both be polished to a stunning luster with a jewelry cloth!

gold filled earrings

All of the gemstones and pearls I use are genuine.

I try to source all of my materials is the U.S. and/or Fair Trade.