Hard enamel pins are the best quality. They are great custom pins for corporations and other high end pin uses.
Hard enamel is a die struck pin with enamel fill. Enamel is a fancy name for paint. Once the paint is applied to the pin it is heated at very high temperatures to harden, then it is polished smooth. Unlike soft enamel, the paint and the metal borders are the same level. If you rubbed your thumb across the pin it would feel smooth. On a soft enamel pin you would feel the thin metal borders. Click here to see a comparison of hard enamel vs. soft enamel.
Hard enamel lapel pins are the new cloisonné. Hard enamel has been around for over two decades and is also known as Hard Enamel Cloisonné, Epola, New Cloisonné, Clois-Tech, Cloisonné II and Semi-Cloisonné. They all mean the same thing.
Cloisonné is limited to about 120 colors versus hard enamel that has well over 1,000 pantone colors available to choose from. Many lapel pin companies do not distinguish between authentic cloisonné and hard enamel lapel pins because only an expert can tell the difference. They call hard enamel pins cloisonné when actually, they are not. As mentioned one way to tell the difference is the colors offered. If you ask for a cloisonné pin and the pin company says they’ll match to any of the industry standard colors from a color guide; it’s not really an authentic cloisonné lapel pin. Hard enamel pins are also cheaper to make and offer a faster turnaround time than cloisonné. For these reasons, most customers who need cloisonné pins choose hard enamel over cloisonné.
Hard enamel lapel pins are considered the high-end of all pins. They are more expensive, but if price is not an issue this would be the route to go as hard enamel pins are the best quality, the classiest, and the most durable. They are die-struck and stamped out of brass metal. The stamping creates recessed areas. These recessed areas are then filled with enamel and fired at high temperatures. They are then polished smooth creating a beautiful luster and giving the appearance of a nice piece of jewelry. Since colors cannot blend together or fade into another color – hard enamel is a good choice for any design that has clearly separated colors. So if only the best will do, or the pin is a reflection of your company logo, or durability is important – hard enamel would be your choice.