Oval pill-box in 925/1000 sterling silver gold plated with fire enameled blue line and hand painted enameled miniature of pastoral style. Size cm. 4,2 x 5 x 1,1. Weight gr. 64. Produced in 2002 in the Salimbeni factory in Florence. Guilloché is a craftsmanship performed on mostly precious metals, which allows to obtain surfaces engraved with complex and repeated geometric patterns. Guilloché engraving was invented in the mid-1800s in Switzerland by watch manufacturers to embellish the dials of their luxurious artifacts. The technique consists in engraving the metal with a burin using a machine with mostly manual controls. (see photos in the gallery) A copier following the sinuosity of some matrices placed on the machine transmits a movement to the object subjected to engraving, thus obtaining that the burin “cuts” the metal. By moving the positions of the matrices and the copier, precise intertwined engravings of an almost infinite geometric type are obtained and their continuous differentiation certainly adds value to the objects that are produced. The dexterity required to carry out this operation is highly specialized, the existing machines are very old, as there has never been a mass market and above all for the conservation of art. After the engraving, we generally proceed with fire enamelling, a meticulous and very long process during which the guilloché engraved surface is covered with various layers of colored glass powder and cooked in small special ovens at a temperature between 700 and 800 ° C. The result of transparency and perfection can also require numerous firings, at least 10 for a single color, for surfaces with multiple colors, it can even reach 50 firings. One color is applied at a time and then baked, the glazes used have a different blend so that when the next color is placed the previous one does not move. The inclination of the surfaces of an object can create great difficulties both for the guilloche engraving and in the enamel firing phase as the positioning of the machine becomes more complex and a great skill and competence is required while the liquefaction of the enamel produces situations complexes that only the highest level of craftsmanship can achieve. In Salimbeni production, guilloché engraving and enamelling have been the main processes for more than a century and are found in almost all products. In the construction of an object Salimbeni starts from a drawing, which can also be provided by the customer, to build the structure by hand with silver plates of different thicknesses. Once the necessary shape has been obtained with welding and finishing, processes common to the talented silversmiths, we proceed with the guilloché engraving and subsequent enamelling, as well as all the final polishing and galvanic finishing, for gilding and / or other. Our most complex and most precious productions also required months of work for small objects, seeking a perfection that is generally not contemplated in craftsmanship but which for us is the basis of our daily life. About Miniature Miniature is a very ancient technique which consists of painting works in small proportions. It was born for the decoration of the first letter of the paragraph of the books. Over the years, however, this technique is refined and enriched, then moving on to precious personal items. Hand-painted miniatures can be done with multiple different techniques. The most important that we use on our articles are of three kinds: 1) Fire enamel. 2) Water tempera on an ivory plate. 3) Painted on mother-of-pearl. Fire enameled miniatures: On a first layer of enamel generally white or very clear or even transparent suitably liquefied at a temperature of about 750 ° C, the chosen subject is painted using miniature colors which are as many colored crystals, ground and reduced to a very fine, almost impalpable powder washed and purified in distilled water with the addition of small quantities of deoxidizing acids which, diluted with essential oils (usually essential oil of solder), can be mixed to form a palette of colors. With very fine sable hair brushes you draw the subject starting from the perimeter and then gradually adding various layers of color. It is necessary to carry out various firings very often so that the colors harden and are not absorbed by the underlying glaze as, during the subsequent firings at 750 ° C, during liquefaction, it would spread irremediably. Hence the need to form the painting a little at a time, cooking it numerous times. Therefore it is necessary to proceed with numerous retouching, often overlapping different colors that only the painter’s experience knows. A beautiful miniature needs from 20 to over 50 firings and is finished when the painter deems he does not have to further intervene. Some colors must have darker tones than others because then, by superimposing the transparent enamel placed at the end of the miniature, they fade. This transparent layer, called “fondant” in jargon, must be smoothed and polished like all other translucent enamel colors. The miniatures with water tempera colors are painted on real ivory plates and are watercolor paints which, being delicate, must be protected by glass and, above all, must not undergo washings or anything else over time because they fear humidity. The miniatures on mother-of-pearl are original and typical Russian and are painted with acrylic colors on smooth and shiny mother-of-pearl plates. The mirroring of the mother-of-pearl of the background creates very delicate reflective effects.
Oval Snuff Box or Pill Box Guilloche Enamel Box miniature Salimbeni
Oval pill-box in 925/1000 sterling silver gold plated with fire enameled blue line and hand painted enameled miniature of pastoral style. Size cm. 4,2 x 5 x 1,1. Weight gr. 64. Produced in 2002 in the Salimbeni factory in Florence.