Filigree Jewellery: Meaning and Making

Everybody is interested in jewellery since the word itself is so attractive. The recent focus on the fashion jewellery trend has increased the popularity of old traditional art forms used for jewellery creation. The reason is not only due to the distinctive designs, which raise a person’s level of style, but also to the affordable price, which is accessible to everybody. Indian culture is adorned with a wide variety of jewellery, and filigree work is among the most alluring types that have been produced by artisans for centuries. With their exquisite designs, filigree-made ornamental items and designer jewellery have captivated people.

In its most basic form, filigree is made up of intertwined gold or silver wires that resemble lace. It is regarded as the ideal medium for creating arabesque patterns. This jewellery is seductive and feminine because of its delicate nature. Jewelry has an exquisite appearance thanks to filagree, which is a flawless fusion of shimmeringthreads made of both silver and gold. Its delicate lace made of precious metals, which is a mesh of translucent threads woven together, is what gives it its beauty.

Historical Background

Since the sixth century BC, Greece and Etruria have been practising the intricate handcraft of filigree jewelry. Later, the art spread to Italy, Egypt, India, and Armenia. It is made of delicate metal strands that have been skillfully sculpted to create a remarkable fusion of old and modern art. The appeal of filigree jewellery first appeared in Mesopotamia and Egypt, which are thought to be the origins of the filigree craft, and then spread to Asia around 2500 BC. A pattern of filigree designs employing both gold and silver wires, generally known as “telkari,” arose and was specifically made by artisans from Midyat city in the Mardin province of upper Mesopotamia. Numerous skilled artisans continue to create the delicate and very complicated telkari jewellery today. Due to the fact that both Indian and Greek filigree jewellery is made using the same patterns and techniques, there is a high degree of similarity between their two filigree arts. This provides compelling evidence of the shared influences on artistic styles in the two nations, which were evident in the jewellery they produced. From 1660 to the late 19th century, this art form also received some recognition in Italian and French metalwork.

Filigree’s in India

In the eastern Indian states, silver filigree art is fairly common. Silver filigree provides jewellery with the most luxurious appearance in the field of silver handicraft. Indians have been making jewellery using this technique since the beginning of time. In order for a filigree piece to have an elaborately crafted, gorgeous appearance, a lot of patience and hard work are needed during the creation process.

India’s Cuttack residents in the Orissa state are heavily interested in producing this art. In Cuttack City, more than a hundred families are working to create diverse designs of filigree jewelry. The state’s residents refer to the filigree art as “Cuttacki Tarkasi” in common speech. The filigree jewellery of Orissa is renowned throughout the world for its intricate designs and brilliant artistic patterns. Since ancient times,filigree has been a significant export for the people of Orissa. In addition to this, it represents the best of Orissan craftsmen and displays their talent.

Filigree Production Process

If we delve deeply into the creation of silver filigree, we find that it takes a lot of work. It involves no technique of engraving, cutting, or moulding a block of metal into jewellery; it is a whole other sort of production. Filigree jewellery is made by melting silver or gold ingots over medium heat on a small stove and then pouring the molten metal into a mould to form rods. Silver wires as thin as hair are joined together in pieces to create the finished piece. The rods are then placed into manual wire drawing machines with extremely small holes to produce fine-quality wires. And the mainstay of filigree jewellery is its wires. Silver is regarded as the most ductile and malleable metal after gold, and these properties are of such high quality that one gramme of pure silver may be used to create one kilometre of silver wire. The initialstep in developing the filigree jewellery designs is to sketch them out on paper. The inscriptions on temples, statues of gods and goddesses, and the local flora and fauna all serve as major sources of inspiration for the designs of filigree jewellery. Later, the design sheets that take on the lovely shapes of the drawings are carefully covered with the wires used for producing the outlines.

The hair-thin wires are crimped with the aid of a machine that is specifically made for this operation in order to give the designs a zigzag aspect. The skilled craftsmen then meticulously solder the delicate wires to the outline frame. It is astounding to learn that the craftsmen fill the outlines with more than 90 different types of wire designs, such as curls, spirals, and jaals. The delicate design gives the impression of silver spider webs. The artisans fill in the outlines with great accuracy and skill, creating the appearance of lovely, intricately woven gauzy patterns. Craftsmen take great care to prevent the delicate, thin silver strands from deteriorating throughout the entire process. The soldered pieces are heated again on a stove to properly fuse the joins. The piece is polished in the final stage to give it a finishing touch. To give the jewellery pieces a shinier and more finished look, some artists also lacquer them.


The use of filigree work can be seen in the prêt, couture, and bridal jewellery categories and is often complemented with gemstones, polkis, diamonds, and enamel. It can also be used to handcraft the entire piece of jewellery. Platinum filigree is also popular, particularly in the Indian industry, which is fortunate to have some of the best craftsmen who specialise in filigree or tarkashi, which calls for a lot of patience and attention to detail. It is crucial to grow your business by developing distinctive and contemporary stories in silver and gold filigree that will appeal to a larger audience.

Although filigree techniques haven’t changed much, they are out of date with contemporary techniques, and new production procedures are required to improve the finish, guarantee on-time delivery, and preserve the art form and artistic abilities. In terms of design, filigree workmanship can have a significant impact on specialised markets where customers value this form. It is believed that filigree will soon haveoptions for creating custom gold bridal jewellery. Thankfully, numerous excellent jewellery makers who specialise in gold have kept this craft alive.