CARE & CRAFT

CHAMPLEVE ENAMEL

Foundrae enamel jewelry is made by a technique called champleve enamel which is also known as “hot enamel”, “French enamel” or “vitreous enamel” and is an ancient process that dates back to the 13th century BC.  Many workshops & jewelers offer “enamel” but it is actually "epoxy enamel” also called “cold enamel” and is more prone to chipping.  With “epoxy enamel", the word "enamel" is loosely used to designate a glossy color topcoat that is made from chemical resins that chemically react when combined and air-dried to form a shiny hard coating on the surface and can be applied to any base metal including lower 14 karat gold.  Whereas the champlevé enamel technique that is used to make Foundrae jewelry utilizes natural occurring, raw minerals such as silica (the major constituent of sand) and soda ash which are ground to a fine powder and then combined with other materials, such as quartz or feldspar to produce a particular color.  The powder is carefully and evenly applied by hand within tiny troughs that have been cast in gold and then heated to temperatures between 2000-2400 F (1500 celcius) until molten glass forms which only works on purer gold of 18 karat quality or higher.  Multiple application layers are required and then polished until the enamel is flush with the gold.  This firing process gives champlevé enamel its unique beauty and due to the natural materials and hand-craftsmanship it will not be completely uniform. There will be slight variation in color between batches and although the surface is glassy and smooth to the naked eye, slight variations of texture is inherent to the glass material.  

ENAMEL CARE

There are many surviving examples of jewelry and sculpture made with champleve enamel from as far back as the Byzantine era, so the extra time you spend considering care, storage and cleaning will ensure your jewelry remains in excellent condition for generations to come. 

Avoid Impacts to the Enamel

The biggest danger to enamel is cracking due to the impact of dropping it on hard surfaces.

Avoid Scratching from other Hard Materials

Wrap enamel jewelry in a soft cloth before storing to prevent the glass enamel from sustaining chips or scratches from your other jewelry. Do not wear adjacent to diamond rings or pave rings that have diamonds in direct contact with the enamel.

Avoid Conact with Chemicals

Do not wear while using harsh chemicals, household cleaners or hand soaps. Apply makeup, perfume and hair spray before putting on jewelry, and do not wear your gold or enameled pieces in a swimming pool. Chlorine can damage gold, causing it to pit or become brittle.


Keep the shine by wiping the enamel and high polished surfaces with a soft cloth to remove dirt and smudges. Microfiber cloths work quite well. You can also rinse with lukewarm water and use a soft cloth to pat dry.

 

CRAFTSMANSHIP

We are committed to creating jewelry focused on intangible symbolism and tangible quality & craftsmanship while protecting the human rights of all individuals in our supply chain. 

GOLD SOURCING

The jewelry we cast is made with 100% recycled gold and re-refined precious metals. Recycled gold is refined back into its pure element and is the same high quality as newly mined metals, without the level of degradation to our natural resources caused by new mining. Because precious metals can be recycled repeatedly without degradation in quality, they are a naturally renewable resource.

The vendors of the 100% recycled gold granules are certified with a third party verification system (SCS global services) to verify that the sources for the gold meet the standards for recycled content.

We continually work towards improving our sourcing. As an independent fine jeweler, we believe that using recycled gold is the best alternative option until worldwide standards of newly mined gold change and ethically mined Fairtrade gold is available on the open market to independent jewelers. Currently we do not offer components and findings, like lobster claws & other closures, posts, and chains, from recycled sources due to limited availability in the market. We are working with our suppliers to increase the availability of these components made from recycled sources.

DIAMOND SOURCING

We adhere to the Kimberley Process, an international initiative to end the trade of “conflict diamonds” – rough diamonds used by rebel movements to finance wars against legitimate governments. Ethically sourced. All of our diamonds are G VS1 diamonds.

MAKERS & WORKSHOPS

100% of assembly & finishing is completed in our in house studio. More than 70% of our components are crafted in New York. We only work with a select few workshops who are similarly committed to human rights, ethics, and social and environmental responsibility.