Filigree is one of the most beautiful metalworking techniques. With this technique, over the years, the most beautiful jewelry and decorative items have been made, which we still admire today. The name of this technique comes from the Latin words filum, meaning wire, and granum, meaning grain.
To make a piece of jewelry or object using this technique, metal such as gold, silver and very little copper is used. The wires are twisted, and they can also be intertwined and thus form different motifs, which can then be placed on a metal base or left free (a-jour-filigran). From the filigree wire, you can make: circles, flowers, geometric shapes…



History of Filigree

Although filigree has become a separate branch of jewelry in modern times, this technique has been an integral part of jewelers since ancient times. Namely, all the jewelry of the Etruscans and in Ancient Greece was made by soldering, instead of carving or engraving the materials. Filigree is the most widespread technique in the artistic processing of silver and gold. Since there were no samples and patterns for making motifs, the individual folk spirit is most evident in this technique. Each master combined the patterns himself, and good filigree masters were widely known and well paid for their work. The filigree technique is primarily represented in the Mediterranean.

There are known samples of jewelry that were found in Troy and that originate from 2500 BC. as well as in Mycenae from 1500 BC. Beautiful samples of jewelry made with the filigree technique were discovered in Etruscan tombs that date back to the 6th century BC.
In Ancient Rome, the filigree technique was widely used. Under the influence of Roman art at the time of the “great migration of peoples”, this jewelry making technique was also widely accepted among the Germanic tribes. It reaches its zenith in Byzantium from the 6th to the 12th century.

After filigree reached its greatest growth in the making of jewelry and objects during the 12th and 13th centuries, it slowly died out and reappeared as a modern jewelry and object only in 1800. Against this growth and rise of this type of metalworking, this technique has always been the focus of folk art making in Europe and Asia.

The Byzantine influence of filigree

The Byzantine influence has left its mark on silver and gold earrings in the filigree technique from the 12th to the 14th century. In this period, the filigree technique is also used to make other types of jewelry, such as rings and bracelets. The bracelets are usually made of a silver plate (couch), on which the silver filigree wire is glued. Filigree was often used to make objects that were used in liturgical services. Numerous examples of crosses made with this technique have been preserved.


In the difficult moments, in the middle of the XV century, for a certain period of time, the production with this technique stopped, and it “revived” again in the middle of the XVI century. Despite the difficult period, the masters who deal with this technique give themselves freedom and release their imagination and create jewelry that is enriched with wire and glass stones, so that it looks richer and more luxurious.
However, jewelry gradually becomes folklorized, and it ceases to be a precious ornament of high artistic quality. It gives an oriental impression, which is mainly imprinted by the Tuci during that period.



Method of production

According to the method of production, filigree is divided into real filigree and pseudo filigree or false filigree.
The real filigree is made in two ways. In the first way, the procedure for making the object is free action in the space around the contour of the object, and it is called flowing filigree. The second way is made by making a template, both on the contour of the object and on the internal elements of the product.

In order to make an object or jewelry with the filigree technique, it is necessary to shape the outer contour (ulza) first. This contour is made of a thicker wire, which sticks and gives the object its strength. After the shape of the desired object or jewelry is formed, it should be filled with the thinnest wire (tura). After joining all the elements of the object or jewelry, it is decorated by adding silver beads, small or large glass stones, as well as precious stones.

The pseudo filigree or false filigree is made so that the whole is cast, and then it is finished by hammering, scraping and engraving it. Unlike the real filigree, this type of production is visibly rougher and more massive.

Purity of silver

Pure silver – Fine Silver has a carat of 999.99, it is obtained by refining silver of lower quality, this silver has the greatest softness and is therefore the easiest to shape. To obtain silver with a purity of 925 carats, 1000 grams of silver are needed (Ag), to add 75 grams of copper (Cu). Pure silver or Fine Silver melts at 960˚C, Sterling Silver melts at 893˚C, while Gold (Au) melts at 1063˚C.