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Basse Taille

The technique of basse taille (low cut in French) is an enameling process in which transparent enamels are fired over metal that has been textured or cut in low relief (e.g., by engraving, chasing, etching, guilloche). When the enamel surface is smooth and level, the relief of the metal underneath creates incredible depth differences in the transparent enamel. The color of the enamel is more saturated where the relief is cut or etched deep, while the higher points of relief are covered with a thinner layer of enamel and are more clear. And when you catch it in the right light, the metal underneath reflects back up like a mirror through the enamel and shows its true brilliance. Developed in Italy in the 13th century, basse-taille enamelwork was especially popular in Europe during the Gothic and Renaissance periods.

All of the pieces shown in this section start out as either a 1 inch, 1.5 inch or 1.75 inch copper disc.  To create the design, the highs and lows, I draw the design on the copper disc and then etch the copper in a solution of ferric chloride.  Once the discs are clean, numerous layers of transparent enamels are fused to create the depth and dimensions of color. Some of the finished pieces are left unset for a more casual look, others are set in sterling silver for a more finished appearance.

Blue Feather Basse Taille Pendant
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Basse Taille 7
Basse Taille 25
Basse Taille 24
Basse Taille 23
Basse Taille 21
Basse Taille 20
Basse Taille 14
Basse Taille 13
Basse Taille 22
Basse Taille 11
Basse Taille 2
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Basse Taille

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Looking to have a unique piece made, see something you like on the site or just have a general question about how the jewelry is made? Get in touch!

The Artful Otter
Tel: 828-357-7521
Email: artfulotter@comporium.net