Sunday, February 1, 2009

More Information on Filigree

The word filigree is derived from the Latin word filum (meaning thread). The art of filigree consists of twisting fine wire to create patterns. The majority of pieces that I see consist of silver or high grade gold. The image to the left shows a truly handmade silver filigree piece. Early examples can be found dating back to Etruscan and Greek times. I remember during my ancient studies course that the Walters Art Gallery had quite a few examples of Etruscan works in finer metals.

In regards to the cameo filigree ring that I purchased last Saturday, the filigree in this piece is not handmade but massed produced from a mold. It is pretty impossible to twist 14kt gold into the fine lacy patterns. When looking at more modern examples of filigree wear is an important consideration. The more crisp the filigree (detailed) the more the piece is worth.

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