Chinese and Monghol

Vintage Chinese enameled beads, pendants and cloisonne. Peranakan Bead work; Southern Asia also Chinese Straits Bead work, Fingernail Guards worn by royalty,

There are two main types of Chinese cloisonné beads. Jingtailan, (Chinese for cloisonné) characterized by fine wire separations. Not as common: Yinlan, characterized by solid brass separations. Invariably Yinlan beads are of higher quality, superior color separation, smooth finish, consistent quality. Jingtailan beads are occassionally inconsistent in color, uniformity and misplacement of wire separations. Many believe this adds to their character.

To make a cloisonné bead, the coppersmith, solders brass wires or strips to the surface of a copper object to form a design (floral most of the time). Next the spaces between the wires are filled in with enamel paste, and the object is then fired. After every firing, the enamel contracts, producing an uneven surface. It is necessary to fill in the uneven places with more enamel paste of the same color many times over. The final surface is polished smooth, and the exposed brass wires between the patterns are gold plated.

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