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These remain visible in the finished piece, separating the different compartments of the enamel or inlays, which are often of several colors.
In the Senkschmelz ("sunk" enamel, literally "sunk melt") technique the parts of the base plate to hold the design are hammered down, leaving a surrounding gold background, as also seen in contemporary Byzantine icons and mosaics with gold glass backgrounds, and the saint illustrated here. The outline of the design will be apparent on the reverse of the base plate.
The earliest is the Vollschmelz ("full" enamel, literally "full melt") technique where the whole of a gold base plate is to be covered in enamel.
The edges of the plate are turned up to form a reservoir, and gold wires are soldered in place to form the cloisons.
In the jewellery of ancient Egypt, including the pectoral jewels of the Pharaohs, thicker strips form the cloisons, which remain small.
The Byzantines perfected a unique form of cloisonné icons.
The Chinese industry seems to have benefited from a number of skilled Byzantine refugees fleeing the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, although based on the name alone, it is far more likely China obtained knowledge of the technique from the middle east.