by Woodrow Carpenter
Cloisonne is a French word meaning to be compartmentalized, be cut off from one another, to feel cut off, or shut out
Researchers agree the technique originated in Egypt prior to 1800 B.C.
The word cloisonne is used to identify the technique as well as the finished product. The cloisonne technique does not presuppose the use of enamel.
The reason or function of the wires is an age-old subject for discussion. "Originally, the reason had to do with the goldsmith being accustomed to making sockets for jewels out of upstanding strips of metal soldered on and afterwards bent over the edges of stones to hold them in place. He was in the habit of soldering on cloisons for mosaics of precious stones and glass inlays. And, perhaps the patron would not accept it any other way. Later, the artist would see the value of the metal line and take it into account in the design. The artist continues to do so even though, today, the wire serves no other function."
Shrouded in mystery, cloisonne is considered to be the most intricate and difficult of all jewelry techniques. (which explains why I want to do this type of work.....I love challenges!)