Cloisonné. A form of enamelling in which minute fences or barriers are built into the design; enamel is added to fill the area within these boundaries. The enamel is applied as glass beads of a desired color of the intended enamel; the piece is then fired, the glass beads melt, forming a very hard glass enamel. In addition to providing the color, the enamel can be opaque or transparent, revealing the modeled design under the enamel. In medallic work the fences, called cloisons (literally partitions), are modeled into the design. Another technique, particularly in nonmedallic work, the fences are made by soldering wires to the base. Cloisonné is in contrast to chamlplevé which fills incuse areas in an object, it does not require fences because the enamel does not exceed the surface table. See enamel and enamelling.
excerpted with permission from
For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators
COMPILED AND WRITTEN BY D. WAYNE JOHNSON
Roger W. Burdette, Editor