What: Intricate metalwork filled with different colored enamel.
History: Leave it to the ancient people of what is now Egypt, Syria & Turkey to create such beautiful and intricate works of art. First thin wires or strips of metal are adhered to the metal vessel (lamp, bowl, bead, bracelet, etc) creating compartments. These compartments are then filled in with different colored enamel and occasionally gems, stone, or glass. This art eventually spread to China and Europe.
To be true cloisonné, the technique must be as described above and not painted on (Canton enamel) or in which the vessel has recesses made that are filled in with enamel (champlevé enamel). As cloisons translates to compartments in French.
The price of a cloisonné piece can vary greatly and depends on the metal used for the body and the detail, size, and age of the piece.
What the Pros Know: As you can see from the images below, cloisonné can fit in a wide range of styles and decor. Cloisonné will add a ton of color, but still gives a nod to the traditional arts. A single lamp or bowl can make a nice impact in a room and fits in many different styles from modern to traditional and everywhere in between.
- Hillary Thomas photo by Patrick Cline
- Cloisonne lamp on side table photo by Rikki Snyder
- Cloisonne lamp on side table Home of Frederic Fekkai featured in Elle Decor Oct 2010 photo by William Abranowicz
- cloisonné bowl on table decoration by Michael Smith photo by Francois Halard