Thursday, January 22, 2009

What is Guilloche?

Guilloché (phonetically pronounced gee-oh-SHAY) is a term used in jewelry manufacturing, but is also used in other types of items too, such as vanity items, decorative items, inlays in furniture, etc. It is named after the French engineer “Guillot”, who invented a machine that would scratch intricate, fine patterns and designs on metallic surfaces.
Many people refer to the pattern as guilloché but the word techinically applies to the process. During the process, translucent enamel or fused glass is applied over a metal surface which has been engraved in some way - very often with a spirograph design. The process is often used with watches.

The technique as it pertains to jewelry making involves carving a design into a base metal. After this carving, the guilloche pattern is then sometimes filled with different colors and opacities of enamel paint. After enameling, decorative accents such as hand-painted roses may be added to an item.

Many different designs are used but the most common one involves flowers, often a multi color roses on a colored spirograph guilloché background. One most often seen is a pink rose on white.

I think it is very romantic looking, don't you?


  1. I have an opportunity to purchase some vintage guilloche compacts and jewelry but know nothing of values, is there a good resource where I can research them?

    1. I don't know of anyone would be able to give you an idea of value other than perhaps an antiques dealer.

      Doing searches on Google will give you some sort of idea about the going prices for similar things you may be able to find as a rough estimate



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