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But the art seems to have been perfected around the end of the first millennium A.D. within the orbit of Byzantium, the Eastern Christian empire centered in the city of Constantinople. There, emperors were crowned with bands of gold that featured enameled icons and jewels, while in Georgia, precious icons were adorned with enameled ornaments and icons — the famous Khakhuli Triptych, which enshrines an icon of the Virgin Mary, is perhaps the most monumental example.

The technique was nearly lost, however, until one artist captivated a whole new generation of Georgians in the craft.

A sculptor and enamel artist by training, David Kakabadze was asked by Georgian Orthodox Patriarch Ilia II to revive the dying Georgian art of cloisonné enamel — and to then teach the art form to a cloister of sisters of St. Nino Convent in the country’s remote southern Samtskhe Javakheti region.

Mr. Kakabadze says Georgian enamel decorations are similar to those of Byzantium. The colors vary, however, and the Georgian method, especially for icons and high religious art, is more complicated.

For consumers, cloisonné enamel has been making a noticeable comeback for the past decade, says Yulia Abramova, the enamel instructor at the Chaldean Catholic parish of Mar Shemmon Bar Sabbae in Tbilisi.

A few decades ago, she explains, jewelry and other artwork made from enamel could only be found reliably in Mtskheta, Georgia’s ancient capital that remains the center of the Orthodox Church of Georgia.

Over the past decade, however, Georgians — and foreign tourists — have taken notice. The new demand and growing interest have created a potential niche for people seeking a profession, and churches are stepping in to help.

“You cannot just give someone a fish; you have to teach him to fish. This is our goal,” says Chorbishop Benjamin Beth Yadegar, a native of Iraq, who serves as pastor of Georgia’s only Chaldean Catholic parish.

According to the priest, the Georgian Orthodox Church has already trained several women in the art of enamel jewelry and would like to train more.

“Children, especially boys, do not have the means for higher education. Because parents have to pay for everything, it can make education unaffordable — especially for more than one child,” the priest says.

“For this reason many boys don’t go to college, or they drop out of school at 16. Their peers tease: ‘Why do want to go to school? That is for girls. You gotta drink, you gotta smoke, go out and have fun.’

“So we tell these boys: ‘Come on, come with us. You want to work somewhere? You need some money for cigarettes?’ ”

For the boys, wood crafting classes with Chorbishop Yadegar — a master carver who studied with his carpenter father — and driving tests to help secure invaluable driving licenses have helped turn lives around.

For the girls, on the other hand, Chorbishop Yadegar is betting on enamel jewelry making.

The amount girls can earn after completing their free studies is hard to predict; enamel jewelry in Georgia sells for as little as a few dollars in the city shops to tens of thousands in upscale galleries and charity auctions.

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