filigree

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filigree

(fĭl`ĭgrē), ornamental work of fine gold or silver wire, often wrought into an openwork design and joined with matching solder and borax under the flame of the blowpipe. Filigree is used as a decorative treatment for jewelry or other fine metalwork. It was made in ancient Egypt, China, and India. From the 6th to the 3d cent. B.C. the Greeks practiced the art, and the Etruscans were noted for fine granular work. Saxons, Britons, and especially the Celts in Ireland were skilled at devising intricate and ingenious designs in the Middle Ages. The Moors in Spain did much exquisite work in silver. Filigree is employed today in Mediterranean areas, as well as in Mexico, India, and Scandinavian countries. Antique examples are to be seen in the Vatican, the Louvre, the British Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum.

Filigree

Ornamental openwork of delicate or intricate design.

Filigree

 

a technique used in jewelry-making. Fine gold, silver, or copper wire (smooth or twisted from several threads and then usually flattened) is used to make ornamental openwork whose individual elements are joined by soldering or to make a pattern that is soldered onto a metal background. Filigree, which is frequently combined with granulation or enamel, imparts light and elegant decorativeness to articles.

In ancient times the technique was known in the Orient, Greece, Etruria, and Rome; it later spread to Central Asia, the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Balkan Peninsula, and Western Europe. Filigree first appeared in Russia in the ninth or tenth century. Russian filigree of the 12th and 13th centuries is noted for its superb quality; the 15th century was the golden age of Moscow filigree. In the 18th and 19th centuries filigreed objects were made in many of Russia’s artistic centers. In Soviet times the technique has been widely used by the art industry, for example, in the products made at the Krasnosel’skii Jewelry Factory in Kostroma Oblast, the Mstera Iuvelir Art Factory (since 1937) in Vladimir Oblast, and the Yerevan Jewelry Factory. In addition to jewelry, filigree is also used to make small openwork vases, glass holders, and miniature sculpture.

REFERENCES

Razina, T. M. Russkaia emal’ iskan’. Moscow, 1961.
Postnikova-Loseva, M. M. Russkoe iuvelirnoe iskusstvo, ego tsentry i mastera. Moscow, 1974.
Rosenberg, M. Geschichte der Goldschmiedekunst: Granulation, Frankfurt am Main, 1918.

filigree

Ornamental metal openwork of intricate design.

filigree

, filagree, fillagree
1. delicate ornamental work of twisted gold, silver, or other wire
2. any fanciful delicate ornamentation