basse·taille | (ˈ)bä-¦stī
A technique of applying glass enamel to a metal surface
This enameling technique, which translates to “shallow cut,” allows jewelers to create pieces in which the colored enamel position of the jewelry item is at a low-relief pattern in metal, typically gold or silver. The process begins with a jeweler tracing the enamel design on the gold or silver piece of jewelry. Then, the jeweler uses a tool, such as a tracer, to remove the inner area of metal, creating a recessed area in which to place the enamel. Typically, different depths in the metal are chiseled out so that the enamel placed in it will shine through with varying degrees of light and color. With basse-taille, the height of the enamel is at a lower point than the height of metal that surrounds it. Additionally, enamel is added to basse-taille jewelry’s metal position. This allows for a stunning light show and creates a unique and beautiful artistic effect. Originating in Italy during Medieval Ages, the process of basse-taille again became popular in 17th century Europe.