Cloisonné, an ancient metalworking technique, is a multi-step process used to produce jewelry, vases, and other decorative items. (The resulting objects can also be called cloisonné.) The technique can be used either for enamel, today much the most commonly found, or for gemstone inlays. In either variety a shape making part of the design is surrounded by a thin metal edge, forming a compartment. With enamel liquid enamel is poured to fill the compartment; with gemstones a pre-cut matching piece of inlay is hammered and perhaps glued into it.
This Cinelli stem badge is from the 1950’s during a time when Cinelli was having these made using the Cloisonné technique. At first glance it looks like painted metal but it is much more complex than that. In this case each color is a separate piece of glass ground up until powder and then melted into each recessed “compartment”. These badges are pretty rare and it was nice of our friend John to let us photograph this beautiful piece of history.