The best and fullest instructions for preparing and using transparent enamels on silver are in Phil Barnes’ book ‘ Engraving and Enamelling’ published in 2019 by Crowood.
The main reasons for grinding and washing transparent enamel are:
To reduce the size of the grains, essential if you are using lump enamels.
The finer the particles the thinner the layer you can apply, allowing greater reflection from the metal.
If the enamel is old or could have been exposed to damp, the surface of the grains may have decayed, so grinding removes it and exposes new undamaged enamel which should fire clear.
Washing in clean distilled water removes all debris, including any decayed particles and chemicals or minerals from tap water.
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