This last step is some of the more tedious work- cleaning up the inside edges of each cell. I re-thread the saw blade into a cell, and apply very light horizontal pressure to file the edges. Too much pressure will break the blade, so a light touch is important!
After cleaning up, the pieces were also lightly domed. A flat sheet would be prone to bending and shattering the enamel, but a slight dome gives a lot of strength and will keep these earrings safe for a long time.
Next step is preping to enamel. I’ve pulled out a few colors to do test swatches with before deciding on a color.
Enamel is finely powdered glass. When it’s in the container, the color is a lot different than after firing so test swatches are very important.
Plique a jour enameling is a fussy process, and that fussiness starts with cleaning the enamel. Enamel is made by shattering and grinding large sheets of glass. During the grinding process, dust from the grinding stones collects in the powdered glass. There is also a range of particl sizes. To achieve clean, clear enameled cells, it’s necessary to wash the enamel powder. This needs to be done for all enameling, but is imperative for plique a jour.