Filigree is derived from the Latin words filum, meaning thread, and granum, meaning grain.
Jewellery made of gold or silver wire. The thin wires are folded, coiled and spun to create the desired shapes, which can be flowers, animals or more unusual geometric shapes.
We distinguish between two types of filigree techniques
- The real filigree, when the desired shape and motif is obtained by folding or braiding precious metal threads.
- The pseudo filigree method, where the jewellery is cast in one piece and engraved or engraved with motifs similar to the filigree pattern.
Gold or silver, usually alloyed with zinc or copper, is melted at high temperatures and the molten metal is then cast into thinner metal bars. These are then made into wires of different thicknesses. The thicker strands are used to make the outer frame of the filigree, the thinner ones are the inner fillers. The thin fibres are further twisted and wound to make them even thinner, which makes them suitable for making patterns. When these patterns and motifs are completed, the jeweller uses a small pair of tweezers to insert the finished work into the outer frame and then the pieces are soldered together.
In China and India, these jewels are made to a masterly standard. Very fine filigree patterns, almost like lace, are made and used to set precious stones and pearls.
Colourless glass into which thin white or coloured glass rods are soldered so that the rods form a filament. This process has been known since antiquity. It is currently enjoying a renaissance in Venice, Italy.