Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Timeless Art of Filigree

Some jewelry trends never go out of style. Filigree is one of them.

Filigree is a dance between metal and air.
For the past 5,000 years, artisans have been using this metalworking technique to craft breathtaking pieces of jewelry. The process is relatively simple; the results are anything but.    

Early Greek and Etruscan artisans would pound pieces of metal (usually gold or silver) into lengths of slender wire. Then, by curling, twisting, or braiding, they'd shape the wire into delicate, open, lacy patterns.
The pieces of filigree could then be soldered together to make larger pieces. Sometimes, a craftsman would solder filigree to a solid sheet of metal, adding strength to one and delicacy to the other. Using this method, he could adorn larger objects like boxes, tea sets, chalices, and menorahs. 
Real filigree is always made by hand.

Over the centuries, more and more cultures fell in love with filigree. Each developed its own distinctive style. Irish craftsmen wove intricate knots from lengths of silver wire. Norwegians hung gold dangles from the elaborate filigree pieces both men and women wore with their traditional costumes. 
Flowers and leaves are traditional motifs.
Exceptional filigree jewelry is still being made all around the world. Some is traditional; some is more contemporary. Look for pieces made in Spain, Portugal, India, Russia, and Greece. Whichever style you prefer, you'll be wearing a real piece of art.
A cuff bracelet with a contemporary feel.