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                                         (IT’S HOT, BABY!)

 Filigree is a basic, a classic of jewelry workmanship.  It has been prized since ancient times for its beauty, fragility, and remarkable design utility. Filigree has been used for almost every type of jewelry item:  rings, pendants, brooches, earrings, bracelets, you name it.  It is constantly renewing itself, repeatedly presenting a fresh, creative, imaginative look and feel.  Right now, it is a top trend mover!

 

There is practically no time in the history of jewelry that filigree hasn’t played an important role.  It just seems to be always there, sometimes in the forefront of an emerging style, sometimes in the background. It’s non-stoppable!

 

 

ALTHOUGH FILIGREE WORK IS USED FOR ITEMS THAT ARE BOTH CASUAL AND FORMAL, IT IS OFTEN MOST APPRECIATED IN VERY ORNATE AND ELEGANT EXECUTIONS:

 

  • Filigree has long been appreciated for Bridal wear.  Here, a delicate filigree-look necklace features 4 mm faux pearls and a lacey filigree drop supporting a teardrop pearl.  This is a gorgeous piece of stunning vitality! 

 

 

 

 

  • A treasured piece for lifelong wearing is this filigree cross necklace on a silver-tone snake chain.  Clear crystals add a hint of sparkle in this unique design.

 

 

Filigree is a jewel work of a delicate nature made by twisting or braiding threads of gold or silver or some other material into intricate forms and designs. It looks like lace, and has been popular in the west for centuries.  It rose to special prominence in France in the late Middle Ages, causing such a stir that it rapidly became the prized cornerstone of French jewelry, holding that position right up to the present.

 

Filigree actually dates back to ancient India and Egypt.  It was made by the Etruscans, who commonly soldered threads of fine metal together for jewelry and other handiworks, such as decorative jars, drinking cups, and religious ornaments. 

 

FILIGREE IS A DYNAMITE BEST-SELLER, SINCE ALMOST EVERYONE WANTS AT LEAST ONE PIECE OF THIS LACEY CLASSIC IN THEIR JEWELRY WARDROBE.  HERE ARE SOME INTERESTING PIECES TO CONSIDER:

 

  • Crystal Angel Pin with Filigree Wings: This is an ideal gift item for any age.  It features pave crystals on the angel design itself, with lovely gold-like filigree wings adding a sense of motion and mystery.

 

 

 

  • Filigree Earrings.  Here, crystal earrings utilize a popular theme with a handsome filigree heart richly embellished with streaming crystals.

 

 

Filigree’s delicate ornamental work is also known as “wire work” or tweezers’ work.”  It is important, however, to distinguish it from another jewelry making technique, ajoure. Ajoure looks a great deal like filigree, causing many items to be mislabeled.  However, don’t think that ajoure is a second-rate technique.  To the contrary, it is used in many very fine jewelry pieces and has a distinctive reputation on its own.  

 

Actually, both ajoure and filigree have extensive open areas, but in ajoure, holes are either punched or drilled, or otherwise cut, through an existing piece of metal, creating the lacey effect. In other words, it is one continuous piece of metal, often very beautiful, but still considerably less complex in execution than filigree.  Look at any jewelry collection of filigree and filigree-like items and you’ll learn to recognize the difference quickly.

 

Filigree work is amazing in its versatility, and the way it easily crosses over from very ornate to very modern designs.  Irish filigree is extremely well-thought out and varied in pattern, and is just one example of the craft’s visual change-ability. It is often used in pieces depicting the beautiful interlaced designs from the Irish Medieval Bible, the Book of Kells.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009


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