Guest Author - Andréa Edes
What is filigree? The word itself resonates almost like a song, doesn’t it? The sound of the word, with roots in the romantic languages, is reflective of its delicate and graceful qualities. Filigree, whether gold or silver often resembles a kind of lace. This type of jewelry workmanship and has been traced back to many ancient cultures. It’s beauty has been around since ancient times. The detailed handiwork of filigree was highly fashionable in many eras.
Intricate and highly detailed it is constructed of fine metal threads brought together. In the past, these tiny threads, carefully wrought from gold or silver, were entwined together and then soldered to each other or to the main portion of the piece. During the Edwardian period, flowery and elaborate were the style and filigree enhanced it perfectly. During the Art Deco era, the open areas and delicate appearance of filigree could be seen for example, decorating lapels with elaborate broaches.
This unique jewelry style was popular in many different cultures as well; in Cyprus, Egypt, Ireland and in France…all these societies celebrated the beauty of filigree earrings, necklaces and broaches. In some cultures it was more common in gold, in other, silver was the component. Often the metal filigree work was accented with precious gems.
Filigree may be a word you’ve been reading in the fashion magazines or watching on the entertainment and style shows. The beauty of filigree has become a part of today’s fashion jewelry styles. Its intricate structure has now been translated into less expensive yet still classically styled accessories. Instead of being constructed of the tiny threads painstakingly woven and twisted together, the more modern reasonably priced interpretations are likely to be formed out of one piece of metal. The metal will be punched into a lace-like piece resembling the detailed craftsmanship of yesteryear.
Earrings of this style in gold or silver tone can give your outfit a lovely, lady-like accent. Romantic filigree pins can add a refined touch to your business attire. While ornate, filigree can be worn with everything from jeans to work wear. Try a lovely filigree pendant with a favorite tee shirt or in the open neck of a pretty blouse.
Vintage style filigree rings lend a beautiful touch when worn with lace or finer fabrics; try donning one that has a classic cameo as it’s centerpiece.
Filigree’s popularity has extended to other modern fashion styles like steam punk and Goth. It’s formal air provides a stunning contrast to black clothing and the mechanical parts celebrated in steam punk. (Watch for my up-coming article about this style of jewelry.)
Whether silver or gold, pendant, ring or long and dangling ornate and detailed earrings with lovely crystals, less expensive versions of the ancient art of filigree can provide a subtle statement of your unique style.