All About Filigree
What is Filigree?
Filigree is a fine and delicate artwork of interweaving a material to create an interesting item. The material could be a precious metal, cotton threads or leather laces. ‘Fili’ means thread and ‘gree’ comes from grain. Filigree, thus implies creating a fabulous item by twisting the threads or wires of the grains of a particular material.
For centuries, skilled craftsmen created fantastic filigree items by using fine materials. In ancient times Greek and Egyptian jewellers employed this technique in their artwork. Filigree lace work is popular fashion in French decoration in 17th century. In India skilled craftsmen still practice precious metal filigree to create beautiful articles.
Precious Metal Filigree
The filigree making discipline using precious metals is generally part of an experienced jewellery maker’s work. But specifically, gold or silver filigree is practised by specialized jewellers who have passionately undertaken this discipline. This delicate gold or silver filigree art is passed on to these dedicated jewellers for generations by their fathers and forefathers.
It is a special skill with designs unique to each family. For centuries these families served as Royal Jewellers for Kings and Queens by making fine pieces of gold and silver filigree items.
The museums of the present world showcase these historical masterpieces to demonstrate the power of those skilled workmen. The famous Salarjung Museum displays world renowned and rare collections of silver filigree articles.
Silver Filigree is still alive…
Only a few such filigree craftsmen still carry on their prided profession today in some regions of India. In Elgandal, once the capital of the Nawabs in South India, a few craftsmen still preserve the skill and make their living from this profession of Silver Filigree.Though gold filigree jewellery and filigree articles are most beautiful and amazing, the high price of gold makes this type of filigree unaffordable to an average customer.
On the other hand, silver filigree items are equally beautiful and stunning. What makes silver filigree more attractive is the affordable price tag of the metal.