Cloisonné sounds French, but has its roots in an ancient art of Egyptian metalworking. The word refers to both a technique and the works produced by that technique. Many decorative objects such as vases, boxes, plates, and beads are made with this method. The art migrated to China, in the 14th Century AD, and eventually to Japan. The Chinese refined and developed it into an art form due to their advanced technology. Cloisonné is a French word that means, "to be compartmentalized." This describes the network of metal lines or scaffolding that make separate cells of the images depicted on the object. The scaffolding is placed on the cloisonné plate in-progress, for instance. That is a metal plate painted with an enamel layer. Then a viscous liquid covers the piece and it is fired in a kiln, removed and enamel painted into the cells, the piece is refired, and the process repeated at least 20 times. These plates are strikingly beautiful, and often mistaken for porcelain. Whether antique or modern, these pieces of enameled metalwork are collected for the beauty of their rich, glossy colors, and often for their value in a collection. Cloisonné beads are made similarly. They are desirable elements in jewelry such as earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Each bead is handmade by a highly skilled artisan, thus no two beads are exactly alike. This unique quality enhances their desirability. Become an explorer of this ancient art form on eBay, offering a world of new and pre-owned collectible pieces sold by reliable sellers.
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