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how fragile is enamel?

fel

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 4, 2011
Messages
275
So I just got this nifty old mine cut enamel ring. No idea how old it is. It was sold as early 20th century but I suspect it is a little later given the white gold 18k base and style.

It appears to have black enamel and possibly a yellow and pink gold wash on the surface (or goldish and pinkish enamel -- not sure how to tell what is enamel and what is not). I am wondering if any of you have experience with a ring like this. It is intended as a right hand/occasional ring, but even so, I don't want to destroy it. Will the enamel be incredibly fragile? Are there things I shouldn't do with this ring?

Also if anyone can date the ring, that would be helpful as well.

Thanks!

enamel-ring1.jpg

enamel-ring2.jpg
 

Nsmike

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 17, 2016
Messages
89
I can't really say from a jewelry point of view, but I collect watches, enamal work was most common in the late 20's but could be found into the early to mid 50's. Like a lot of things it is dependent on the quality of the enamel, I would certainly avoid ultrasonic cleaning, but a bit of mild soap and a soft cloth should be fine (unless it's already compromised).
 

fel

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 4, 2011
Messages
275
Thanks for your advice Nsmike. I ended up returning the ring because I wasn't happy with the diamond (loved the enamel, however.)
 

Circe

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
8,087
Aw ... too bad the ring wasn't holding the perfect diamond, the setting was really pretty!

As a general note: enamel is fairly tough when it's inset in the fashion of the ring you posted. When it's raised, it can be more fragile, thought that's considerably less common in rings. My advice would be to wear it with the same caution that you'd use when wearing, say, opal - gentle cleansing as NSMike recommends (I'd be comfortable with a baby toothbrush and soft soap with an anti-grease component on pieces also featuring faceted gems, so long as you don't focus on brushing the enamel directly), fairly low key physical activities (i.e., no gardening, working out, etc.) and it should hold up pretty well. I hope you find the perfect one soon!

Now if you drop a beloved enameled locket even on the soft foam of a children's playground, THAT is another story. Still trying to figure out who in this day and age can properly repair guilloche .... ;(
 

fel

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 4, 2011
Messages
275
Circe, This is very helpful. I love enamel and have been seeking an enamel ring, but I am (inadvertently) much harder on rings than what you describe as ideal. Especially anything on my right hand gets pretty beaten up. i guess it is kind of telling that my fingers are all scarred up from various mishaps (most requiring ER visits, one requiring finger rehab to regain movement).

Maybe I should give up on the idea of an enamel ring, and think about an enamel pendant instead? For one thing, I drop my rings (and my eyeglasses) all the time. This is because my fingers have reduced sensitivity, and sometimes they don't feel pressure correctly for light items.

Thanks,
Fel
 
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