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#347940 10/22/2020 02:12 PM
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Gaspare Offline OP
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Some of the more expensive rings we collect will have enamel on them.. A SS and / or SA enamel ring can be very expensive! Some SS patterns called 'Blackies' are Runic rings with a black enamel field filled cartouche. Many rarer than a HR and can be priced very close to the run of the mill paper pusher late type HR in good condition..

SO, there are different kinds of enamel. lets keep this as simple as possible as we know our rings don't have 'tooth enamel' in them..
We are dealing with this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitreous_enamel

Here is a quote from a different article:

"Enamel is made of metal and a powder coating. The process involves fusing the powder coating to the base metal at extremely high temperatures. Enamel is quite temperamental and requires great skill in getting it just right.
The color of the enamel powder at the start is not always what the finished product will look like, as the heating process can alter the colors and transparency.
The higher the temperature, the more likely the enamel is to be translucent with vibrant colors, whereas lower temperatures may result in opaque enamel with lower color vibrancy and a greater likelihood of getting damaged.
The final look of the enamel depends largely on the intensity of the temperature as well as on the oxide content of the base metal."

The enamel in our rings are complicated, time consuming process from top to bottom. Making the sifted colored glass powders, making the wet pack, packing, firing, slow even curing/drying. Each one a skill. During the 3rd reich era many of the better jewelry manufacturers had their own highly skilled enamellers,,,some had their enameling sent out..

- * SO this will all lead to a good fake SS Blackie that gets a in hand inspection and me testing the enamel and results shown here at the end. -

- This is a beautiful highly desired by us collectors , a Authentic Wilm produced SS Blackie ring. They didn't make them for very long and had a nice big field on the cartouche filled with black enamel. Glassy,glossy and this ring banged around and I'd say with slightly more than normal wear and tear on it. Perfect for us because we can actually see the chipping of the glass around the edges.. -

- Part 2 to come. -

1.JPG (56.67 KB, 142 downloads)
Last edited by Gaspare; 10/22/2020 02:30 PM.
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pt 2:


So, a forum member friend had emailed me some photos of a SS blackie he had got. The photos were not good and they were small. When I first saw it it looked like it might have had a possibility although I have never seen the exact pattern before.. I asked for better photos:

Received these,,,,which I sadly did not like -

2.JPG (68.53 KB, 110 downloads)
2a.JPG (91.65 KB, 109 downloads)
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He really liked this ring a lot. We exchanged many a email and I never mind because it keeps your brain working!

It got to the point I said,,'do a hot point test on the enamel or bring it to a professional and lets start eliminating the problems ..... He was very leery of doing it.
And,, didn't really trust his local jewelers as they were saying the enamel was good.. Right away it looks not properly done.. Some will reason it away that is was maybe a 'under fill' on the enamel... Guys,, these blackies were early pieces, They were for SS men!, the quality should be there,,,it really should have been right/good.

So the result was to send to me to test.. Many are reluctant to perform this test themselves.. IF it is the last thing to eliminate and you spent a small fortune on it I feel its the only way to be sure. So what is it?
First -IF you read the link in the first post explaining what and how enamel is it should help.

So now you've read the link...You take a sewing pin,,any kind of pin,, the sharp end of a safety pin. I've seen guys at military shows use a Riker case pin! You hold it with a pair of pliers or similar.. Put over a open flame, from your stove or lighter etc . When it is glowing Red hot,,,with a little pressure you put it in to the enamel field,,,Do NOT scratch,,go straight in...
IF, if it is real enamel there will be no harm. [ They do actually sell a professional tool for this! follow directions!]

* Warning - I am not suggesting the faint of heart, those not confident and not sure to do this! This was a test the rings owner had seriously thought about, asked about, and had sent me the ring. IF bad he was going to get a refund...

- For those willing to try you can experiment first.. Simply put the pin on a drinking glass. Nothing will happen.. Maybe go to a flea market [which is what I did years ago] and buy a few cheapie pieces.. Some will melt in deep, some will melt in ever so slightly,,they are 'quick enamels',hard plastic.. You will find some real enamel and there will be no mark.....
IF you are in to this and don't like my method please then don't even think about it. - *As I mentioned,,there is a professional tool for doing this and again the directions also must be followed to the letter!

- Here is the result.. a couple hits,,,,A hard plastic, a quick enamel, something that is not authentic to the period glass paste fired enamel. -

The ring was safely sent back and hopefully he got his refund....

5.JPG (42.18 KB, 110 downloads)
4 (2).JPG (48.79 KB, 109 downloads)
Last edited by Gaspare; 10/26/2020 04:34 PM.
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pt. 3

So, its not over! We ring collectors have another problem with our enamel rings... Epoxy.. You know what it is. Years ago many went to a hard epoxy to fill in the field.. Brilliant! Great solution to rip us off again.. mad......

Epoxy can look the part sometimes,,,and it is very hard.. Sometimes it will pass the hot point test. [When I'm doing the hot point test I leave it sit touching a few seconds longer].

So epoxy looks good. Almost too good! You must develop a eye looking at enamel... IF you r older family members have enamel jewelry. Take a look with a magnifying glass or loop. Glass is glass. Look at good known period rings, WestWall, some of the Luft rings.. after a while you will see what is good just by eye sometimes..

This SS ring. A good copy. Has a few other problems but one is the 'enamel'. It is not. It is epoxy. The fake enamel rings have a flat or matt look to them. A bit glossy but not that glass look. Too perfect.. Here's the copy.

Ring16_20200205_164815.jpg (95.75 KB, 105 downloads)
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Nice looking. They tried to age it.. If they go to crazy it will break. a piece will come off and you can see inside then ,,,it will not have the glass look..

Here's the later pattern, 'Skull over SS' or SS-TV ring. Glass in all its glory. And like glass it will chip, break receive wear and tear.

DSCN2962 (2).JPG (61.84 KB, 104 downloads)
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So practice practice , look look, study study.. Don't get burned on the old and new fake enamels..

Again..look at the first ring posted too!,,

,,,anything enamel. Medals pins , badges,,old jewelry.. All the same, glassy, , clear, opaque, comes in most colors etc. .

Be careful guys..

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Gaspare, thank you for your good info about enamel in rings.

As an addition, here a ring with niello that is often used to decorate silver with this typical nice black

Niello consists of sulfur, copper,silver and lead .
If niello has been damaged, you see little fractures ( pic 2 ) and worser, that can even drop out the ring..I have changed the pic 2 so you can see the cracks better.

1P1250619vd.jpgwc67kb.jpg (66.11 KB, 76 downloads)
3 1250472daACw.jpg (104.22 KB, 76 downloads)
4P1250461dCw.jpg (48.35 KB, 76 downloads)
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Gaspare Offline OP
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Benten,
Thanks so much for bringing up the period use of Niello! It has been used for a very long time, and still in use today..

Your Iraq ring is interesting.. The Niello seems deeper then usual. Thats good and not so good. The good,,it probably was a super looking ring when new..
The bad,,when Niello isn't painted on thin and fired correct it can peel, and/or chip like shown..

You can really see the hand embellishment on this example. Great ring for the collection and to study. I really like the side band shaping and appears to be a nice hefty ring!.. Good catch!, thanks again for showing it..

Members,,,IF you have any interesting enamel rings OR, want to show a chip, crack, etc. it will help other members to see/study them.. When you get an 'eye' for the 'glass' it will be easier when your at a show or bazar etc. when its 'now or never' to find/buy that great ring because your pretty sure its real enamel!...,
,,be careful guys....,G.

Last edited by Gaspare; 10/29/2020 03:21 AM.
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Gaspare Offline OP
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bringing this back to top because I've had some emails about enamel..

Real black glass fired enamel is hard to do. The enamel in our rings are complicated, time consuming process from top to bottom.
Preparing the piece,, making the sifted colored glass powders, making the wet pack, packing, firing at high temps,, slow even curing/drying, then the burnish,polish.. Each one a skill.

Someone wrote me they are using real enamel in some fakes. Possible , but not probable... They are using 'ez' enamel,,'quick' enamel etc. Look at post right here with the perfect condition SS ring here that starts with pt.3... This is the new stuff... Very hard and looks the part.. I have not had the opportunity to test all the new products of the last couple years. It is always opaque. Usually super flat like a mill had gone over it ,,almost too flat..
Sometimes they try and age the ring. The enamel breaks weird and when inspected from a side view you can not see it is not glass.. I know this is very hard to explain and there is rings with opaque enamel just usually not black..

Any SS ring with the SS runes protruding above the 'enamel field' of the cartouche is a fake..
Any SS ring that fails a hot pin or enamel test is fake. -[ Disclaimer, if not comfortable performing test bring to a experienced/competent jeweler.] -Remember the SS ring the hot pin test was done his local jeweler said 'looks like enamel'.
Any SS ring with broken enamel and it looks like the enamel is layered is fake.
Beware of claimed ground dug SS rings and the enamel is perfect and looks like the one posted here pt.3.
Be suspicious of these super flat enamel SS rings where the pattern has never been seen before..

Beware, be suspicious, doubt... These rings are not cheap. They are very expensive unless you get very very lucky! I want you all to have the rings you want in your collections. Stick with known patterns, good natural age etc. Ask questions,,you can always ask here,,there are other US forums, German forums, Russian forums..Don't lose your money and end up with a ring you always have to explain.. Happy hunting ...

Last edited by Gaspare; 03/02/2021 05:43 PM.

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