Thursday, August 9, 2012

Guilloche Jewelry

Guilloché (or Guilloche) is a decorative engraving technique in which a very precise intricate repetitive pattern or design is mechanically engraved into an underlying material with fine detail. Specifically, it involves a technique of engine turning, called guilloché in French after the French engineer “Guillot”, who invented a machine “that could scratch fine patterns and designs on metallic surfaces”.

Guilloche Enamel Rose Brooch

In jewelry manufacture, this technique involves  carving a design into a base metal, and then filling the indentions in the design with different colors and opacities of enamel.  After enamelling, decorative accents such as hand-painted flowers may be added to an item.

Guilloche brooch bow and dangling heart

 This technique was especially popular around the fin-de-siecle period. Carl Faberge was a master at using the guilloché technique. He used this technique extensively in his jewelry, clocks and other "objects of virtu".

Throughout the 20th century and before, enamel and guilloche roses were very popular. They had a huge burst of popularity during the 1940s and 1950s. Coro, Elgin, ESPO and Vargas were companies which produced these designs in large numbers.  Guilloche jewelry remains popular and highly collectible today.

Vintage guilloche enameled butterfly brooch


  1. Your post is so informative, thank you for this! I'd like to know more about vintage and antiques.

    1. Thank you! I'll try to post more about vintage.

  2. Thank you for the excellent post, I love enamel and it was interesting to read about this specific technique. The last brooch is gorgeous!

  3. Thank you! I like the butterfly brooch too. Hope to find more brooches like this for my shop.