Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tbilisi Tips: Enamel Workshop

So earlier this year, I took an enamel class at the Embassy and wrote about it here. Sometime late spring, the CLO office (which coordinated the class), switched to an organization from the Tserovani IDP settlement.

An IDP settlement is for Internally Displaced Persons. Tserovani is a settlement for people displaced from the South Ossetia area of Georgia during the 2008 War. About 7000 people live in this settlement (note the red roofed houses go on practically forever).

With the help of the Peace Corps, some women from the village have established a social enterprise, Ikorta, that leads a hands-on enamel jewelry workshop (I totally stole that wording from their info sheet).

The workshop runs on Saturdays from 11am - 5 pm (we've ended early both times.....). Due to the size of their shop and assistance people will need, class size is limited to 6 people (with a minimum of 3 people). You are served coffee or tea, with a light lunch made from traditional dishes from the South Ossetia area. They will provided transportation for groups upon request.

Prior to arrival, they will ask what jewelry items you are thinking of making so they can have a number of designs to choose from (we've made pendants, earrings, rings, and cuff links). They go to the gold market in the city and pick up the silver forms/ribbon.

I picked some rectangular cuff links to make for Richard.

You begin by using the tweezers, the end of the paint brush, and the scissors to mold the thin silver ribbon into the designs you want.

I went with circles because they are easy :)

You adhere your designs with a powdered glue to your item.

The women will help you with your shapes too!

The next step is to pick out your colors (this might possibly be the hardest part!). I went with orange (looks white) and teal for the turtle I was making Mason; dark red and black for the cuff links I was making Richard.

Then using your brush, you put the enamel powder into your jewelry.

The women will fire the jewelry in the kiln (note the temp....769 °C).

Coming out of the kiln, the colors will be all black. As it cools, the color returns. Depending on the depth of the jewelry, you will do this portion of the process two or three times.

You then paint a clear top coat onto the jewelry and the women fire it one more time. At this point you are finished. In the evenings, after work the women meet back at the house and will seal and polish the jewelry into the final products.  They will then coordinate delivery to you within a week.

The cufflinks and turtle I did.

The cufflinks Jim made and the pendant Ann made.

The cufflinks Sarah made and the rings Crystal made.

Note: I will keep editing this post and adding more photos of cool things we have made.

The women will meet during the week and work on projects of their own. They will use these items to sell at bazaars/fairs. You can also purchase additional items already made (I've bought some earrings). They will also have items other women in the settlement have made (I got some super cute wool felt snowmen).

I have gone to two classes already at Ikorta with a group of ladies from the Embassy (the last class, I brought my in-laws....the women will share stories of their artistic and cultural heritage (stole that line too)). We are already talking about when our next class will be.

Enamel Jewelry Workshop
Tserovani IDP Settlement, Row 11, Cottage 1624 (remember they will provide transportation)
Saturdays 11am- 5pm (reserve your place at least 5 days in advance)
80-100 GEL depending on the piece you make (already made items are priced 35+ GEL), cash only
Contact info:
uketesimomavlisatvis@gmail.com or 599 410 250


  1. Replies
    1. I know.....which explains my volume of my jewelry doubling recently.....lol.

  2. I bought 2 enamel pendants recently from a shop by the Freedom Square. Were they made there, do you think? I will take this workshop next time I am in Georgia.

    1. Possibly. They sell pieces on consignment at several shops downtown. I know one shop is near Sioni Church in a shop in the same courtyard as Schuchmann Wine Bar.

  3. If you would like information on how to do enamel yourself, please contact the ladies in the Tserovani IDP Settlement at uketesimomavlisatvis@gmail.com. I know they purchased supplies at the market downtown but I don't know the nitty gritty of the jewelry making myself....I would always go to the village to take their classes (I went so often, whenever I ran into the ladies outside of the village at markets they recognized me and gave me hugs).