This beautiful hand made ornament is custom crafted exclusively for Loretto Chapel and comes in a lovely silk-covered keepsake box. The multi-step cloisonne process allows for deep colors and rich details with the added "pop" provided by a 24 kt gold overlay. Our ornament features images of the exterior of the chapel, the Miraculous Staircase, and stained glass window depicting the Chi-Rho symbol. The Chi-Rho is an ancient symbol originating from the first two letters of the Greek word for Christos (X and P) and was used by Roman Emperor Constantine (the first Christian emperor) on military standards after having a dream the night before battle in which he was told "with this sign, you shall win".
Originating in the Middle East and spreading to China, the cloisonne style is achieved through many steps of detailed layering. Each and every one of our ornaments is created with an eight-step process:
- An artist first creates the shape of the ornament by hammering sheets of copper into the desired form.
- The design is drawn onto the ornament, and small metal strips are adhered to the outside to make compartments (cloisons in French).
- The cloisons are filled in with different colors of enamel paste and fired at 800 degrees C.
- Once cool, the process is repeated until the cells are filled.
- A final coat of color is applied, and the ornament is fired for the last time.
- The ornament is rubbed with slurry and charcoal until smooth and enamel is flush with cloisons.
- The work is buffed and polished with a sheep-skin cloth until shiny.
- The exposed edges of the copper wire used for the design as well and the top and bottom of the ornament are electroplated with 24 kt gold.
Given the nature of the process, each ornament will be unique and may vary from one pictured.