Pin Processes

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Cloisonné Lapel Pins

Cloisonné custom lapel pins are for collectors, high end awards or very special events. Custom shapes are available at no extra charge. This is the traditional hard enamel product (the original lapel pin process) and is the choice for those who require the very best. It is a special lapel pins for anyone who wants collectible custom lapel pins, key chains, earrings, cufflinks, charms, pendants, challenge coins, medals, and any other custom stamped metal product.

We’ll also gladly provide jewelry boxes; customized printed presentation cards; or plastic jewelry cases to further enhance the value of your pin.

The very best of the stamped and colored products, Cloisonné is the Royalty of metal and enamel products. It is the oldest enamel process and the colors are basically the same as stained glass. This metal art was developed over 6,000 years ago in China.  Cloisonné is true hard enamel. The colors are deeper, richer and have a translucent appearance that no other pin processes can duplicate. They are made from actual crushed colored glass, used as a paste and applied to the recessed areas of the stamped design. There is a very small range of colors available (about 72).

As in all stamped products, Cloisonné custom lapel pins start with raised and recessed areas. The recessed areas are filled with the glass paste, and fired at a temperature of 1,400 degrees to a glass-like finish. The pin is plated with precious metal (like gold, nickel, silver, etc.), and then the face is hand polished to a beautiful hard finish. No epoxy is ever used on this pin type. Many times a pin has been polished and defects are found. The biggest are fixed, but some small ones remain. These slight variations from pin to pin are normal in Cloisonné lapel pins.

Real, true cloisonné is an almost lost art form and therefore costs upwards of 75% more, has limited colors available (about 72), and is notable by its irregular finish and translucent colors. It is really only for those who want to make a collector’s pin. Most people think it’s excessively expensive and has too many defects. The defects (some cracks, irregular enamel fills and some small bubbles) are what make each cloisonné lapel pin unique. While we have the expertise to produce them, they are difficult to make, are rare, but very special.

We always recommend our Century Hard Enamel® process to clients that want the best lapel pin. For re-creating the look of a true hard enamel “Cloisonné” lapel pin, imitation hard enamel (as it is more commonly known), is the perfect alternative. It has the same highly polished and level surface, is very elegant, durable and unlike Cloisonné, it is available in the whole range of Pantone colors.  An even less expensive option is considering  Century Soft Enamel®. The only difference is that the enamel colors are recessed a bit. In other words, they don’t fill the recessed areas caused by stamping the design into metal. The raised areas are plated and polished. Then the recessed colors are coated with a thin layer of epoxy, simulating the smooth finish of a Cloisonné or  Century Hard Enamel® pin. The result is a pin that looks close, but with a shiny face. Like any stamped pin, the plating separates the colors, they are solid and can be matched to any Pantone color number.

See our gallery of Cloisonné custom lapel pins, to see more samples of these beautiful pins.