Filigree, also known as Telkari meaning “wire work”, is a delicate form of art often incorporated into jewelry. Gold and silver threads are generally twisted and soldered together to create repeated curvy motifs. Filigree jewelry is charming but requires superb craftsmanship to create beautiful earrings, bracelets, and other pieces of stylish jewelry. It tends to exude a bohemian-chic look that is popular throughout the year. Lighter designs are ideal for the spring and summer, while more sultry looks are suggested for the fall and winter. Filigree has become a timeless, romantic look that every woman should incorporate into their jewelry collection in some form.
Origin of Filigree Jewelry
Handmade Silver Filigree Tear Drop Earrings
The term filigree is derived from the Latin word filum, translating to “thread”. The art of making filigree pieces of jewelry consist of twisting fine wire tightly to form ridged patterns. The same wire can also be twisted into harmonious circular shapes. Often, these smaller pieces of filigree are soldered together to create a larger art piece. Whether simple or multi-layered, filigree remains an ancient design that has evolved into a popular, modern day technique used by many jewelry artists.
What Is Filigree?
Filigree is a term used to describe a decorative style of metalwork using fine threads of metal, generally gold. After being twisted, these threads are arranged together to create an aesthetically-pleasing pattern on a piece of jewelry, such as an earring or bracelet. Filigree work can be extremely simple or incredibly detailed. Geometric forms and ornate tracery patterns such as spider webs or feathers have become popular patterns used by jewelry artists. The style is sometimes patterned to evoke the idea of a delicate lace fabric.
18K Yellow Gold Filigree Tear Drop Earrings with Fine Silver Inserts
Filigree vs. Ajoure
Filigree is often confused with ajoure, a similar style of metalwork that involves leaving various areas in a metal plane open. Both styles of jewelry-making techniques involve leaving space open in between the patterns, but the two are not the same. Often, filigree and ajoure are used together in jewelry pieces. Ajoure is generally used as the base of decoration, while detailed filigree work is added for finer detail.
Buying Filigree Jewelry
There are several things to consider when selecting filigree jewelry. Some types of filigree pieces have developed a patina that you’ll either love or hate. Either way, the patina can be left alone to add a unique luster to the piece, or cleaned to maintain its newly finished vibrancy. Handmade jewelry is generally the best option for obtaining desirable filigree, as each piece is carefully made with skill and hard work.
Modern filigree jewelry styles are appreciated for its skillful look and creative designs. Many forms of filigree jewelry are one-of-a-kind pieces that can be passed down from generation to generation, due to their classic, timeless appearance. Filigree jewelry is often light-weight and easy to wear, whether you decide on brooches, rings, earrings, or other pieces incorporating this metalwork technique. The intricate detailing and scrolling of a filigree design adds instant femininity to whoever sports these pieces of beautiful jewelry.
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Fashionista, copywriter, and blogger, Jenna Faber has a diverse background in fashion merchandising and public relations. A Southern California native and graduate of UCLA, she is a long-time resident of Santa Monica, CA.