When You’re Really Ancient, Everyone Claims You
Throughout history, filigree in jewellery designs has been embraced all around the world. From the Nordic countries to India and Africa; from the British Isles to Russia and China, and even in the Americas, you’ll find filigree embedded in cultural tradition.
Filigree has had time to travel. We might imagine it emerging in, say, Medieval times, with the dawn of mechanization, maybe around the time of the printing press. After all, filigree requires precision, the drawing-down of precious metal wire until it forms uniformly thin threads that are then meticulously plaited or wound tight. Each individual filigree element is set and soldered into place. It’s hard to imagine ancient artisans making beautiful, precise, and highly detailed designs. But they did.
Filigree is one of our most ancient forms of jewellery embellishment. The earliest examples known to archeologists are from at least the 3rd century BC, and may have appeared as early as the 6th century BC. From Mesopotamia, filigree moved around the Mediterranean, becoming popular with the Greeks and Romans and embraced by the Etruscans.
Pick a time period and any country with a long history. Chances are, you’ll find filigree. The Celts used the fine strands to embellish jewellery, implements, and weapons with the complex knots for which they’re famous. Filigree work has been found in Anglo-Saxon tombs and across Europe, Asia, and in Africa. Used throughout the Middle Ages, it enjoyed a big revival in the seventeenth century and again during the Art Deco period in the early twentieth century.
For most of that history, filigree was part of the standard repertoire of a goldsmith. Today, it’s more of a specialty, kept alive by a small number of artists. It requires formal training and practice, it’s detailed and meticulous, and it’s time-consuming- each small piece is placed individually, by hand.
For people who want something special, something connected to the past, but also a reflection of their individuality, filigree is an excellent choice.
In case you haven't heard, we have a new filigree collection launching on June 14, 2021! To learn more about it, click on this link