Style / August 2018

Codis Maya: Wearing Art on the Sleeve

Codis Maya cufflinks and accessories blend an ancient enamelling technique with an aesthetic combining the best of British design over the past three centuries.

Codis Maya's silver and vitreous enamel Daisy cufflinks in aubergine and ivory.

Codis Maya may have only been founded in 1986, but the art that is the brand’s stock-in-trade, vitreous enamelling, has a history dating back at least as far as ancient Egyptian times. Practised and prized for millennia, vitreous enamelling involves decorating an object with powdered glass which is then fired at temperatures of around 800° Celsius, melting the powder, which cools and hardens creating a smooth, lustrous finish — as seen on the majority of Codis Maya’s cufflinks and accessories.

Codis Maya’s founder Roshini Aluwihare says: “Sadly the term ‘enamel’ is often used when describing cold or low baked enamel — both of which are plastic and take minimal skill to incorporate into a product.” All of Codis Maya’s enamel products, however, are created with vitreous enamel. “Meaning that they are made of glass and not plastic resins. The process of vitreous enamelling is an ancient skill that takes years of discipline to perfect and great dexterity, patience and time to carry out. It was historically employed by masters like Lalique and Fabergé but over time we see it less and less, given the assiduous nature required of someone willing to learn the skill and the stringent laws around performing it.”

Aluwihare says vitreous enamelling is a fading art, only practised by a few artisanal makers in the world. Indeed, there’s just one other British men’s accessories firm in possession of the savoir-faire. Speaking of Codis Maya’s handsomely handcrafted cufflinks, pins and bracelets, Aluwihare says: “We are very proud to uphold the traditions of the craftspeople who help us to make these beautiful products.”

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Christian Barker

Christian Barker is The Rake's Asia editor-at-large, a frequent contributor to this site, and an enthusiastic consumer of fine whiskies, sashimi and classic disco music - ideally in unison.