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Enameled Guilloche

  • I do guilloche and, generally, enamel it.  The finished pieces are a small (usually no more than 2" diameter) decorative feature which are inlaid into ornamentally turned boxes made from scarce hardwoods.

    Guilloche, or engine turning as it's sometimes called, is normally done with antique machines since there are very few such machines being made today.  There are two types; rose engines (which cut a pattern similar to the petal pattern of a flower) and straight line machines which cut wavy parallel lines.  The machines are very heavy to minimize vibration but are operated manually.  Each cut is about .10mm to .15mm deep.  When transparent enamel is applied the colour flows into the troughs of the cuts and accentuates the play of light across the guilloche.  Metals commonly used are fine silver and gold when the piece is to be enameled and engraving brass, sterling silver or nickel silver when no enameling is to be applied.

    Here are some more pictures of fine examples of guilloche, all drawn from postings on various internet sites.  The best printed collections of pictures of enameled guilloche work are in two books: The Faberge Case From the Private Collection of John Traina and Boîtes en email et argent guilloche.  The latter is in French and is published by Les Editions de l'Amateur.