Enamel (glass)

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The Royal Gold Cup, 23.6 cm high, 17.8 cm across at its widest point; weight 1.935 kg, British Museum. Lavishly decorated with enamel and pearls. It was made for the French royal family at the end of the 14th century.
Box with angels, intended to contain small bottles of holy oils. Champlevé enamel over gilt copper, early 13th century, Limoges
For other uses of the word, see Enamel

Enamel is made of melted glass, often on metal. Sometimes called vitreous or porcelain enamel, it is made by fusing powdered glass to a base by firing, usually between 750 and 850°C (1,380 and 1,560°F). The powder melts, flows, and then hardens to a smooth, durable coating on metal, or on glass or ceramics.

It has been used on decorative objects for two or three thousand years, but especially in the Middle Ages in Europe. Its use was extended in the 19th century for practical objects like kitchen equipment and road signs. The glass is hard-wearing, scratch resistant and easy to clean.

Old German enamel street sign