Filigree Sterling Silver Jewelry Through History Part II – 1000 A.D. To 1900 A.D.

Filigree Sterling Silver Jewelry History Part IIDefinitionn. Filigree /filligree/:From the Latin ‘Filum’, meaning ‘Thread’, and ‘Granum’ meaning ‘Seed’. Filigree is the art of curling, twisting and plaiting fine pliable threads of precious metals, and uniting them at their points of contact by means of gold or Silver solder.IntroductionPerfected over millennia, incorporating the ancient techniques and styles of vanished civilizations, Filigree is without a doubt one of the oldest and most beautiful art forms known to man.Unlike the mass of jewelry produced today Filigree jewelry is totally handcrafted, calling for hours of concentration on the part of its maker. The knowledge behind Filigree’s meticulous creation, passed down from generation to generation, remains a closely guarded secret kept in the hands of lapidary masters stretching from the islands of the Mediterranean sea to the shores of East India.The Celts And FiligreeAfter a long absence, Filigree reestablished itself in northern Europe with the Saxons, Britons and Celts who were from an early period extremely skilful in several kinds of jewelry metalwork. In fact, the Celtic jewelry perfected between the 10th and 11th Centuries in Ireland displays more thought in its design and intricate patterns than any other period in Filigree’s history. Two examples are the infamous Tara brooch, a ring fastener with a pin for piercing and holding clothing in place, and the stunning two-handled chalice called the Ardagh cup. Irish Filigree is designed in such a way that one thread can be traced through the entirety of a network of complex coils and knots, the intricate threads appear and disappear without breaking continuity or balance, finishing by being incorporated into the head or tail of a serpent or monster.The Renaissance & FiligreeThe 15th and 16th Centuries marked the dispersion of the somber Middle Ages, and the rise of the Italian ‘Renaissance’, meaning ‘Rebirth’, expressing for the first time the values of the modern world. Artists and artisans of this period found their inspiration in the revival of ancient Greece and Rome, and jewelry became once again an integral part of dress. Solemn religious subjects were gradually replaced by classical and naturalistic themes and Filigree and enameled jewelry combined with faceted gemstones were for the first time united in sculptured pendants, brooches, necklaces and chains.The 17th To 18th Centuries And FiligreeHowever, in the 17th Century due to refined methods of faceting gems the emphasis moved once more from precious metals to gemstones, and the diamond became the preferred item for jewelry. The 18th Century brought with it industrial development and mass production. Cheaper materials were utilized, in addition to gold and semi-precious gemstones, including base-metal alloys, paste to make imitation gemstones, steel and cast iron. With these cheaper methods of production jewelry techniques changed their emphasis from the artisans to less skilled mechanical processes of stamping and cutting out patterns and settings. It was during the end of the 19th Century that Peter Carl Faberge, jeweler to the Russian Tsars, reintroduced an exacting craftsmanship into jewelry design. Similar to the artisan jewelers of the Renaissance, Faberge specialized in the contrast of colors and materials, and his most original designs are those that combine gold Filigree, and colored gems such as alexandrite named after the Tsar Alexander on his birthday in 1830.The 19th Century And FiligreeBy the late 19th Century, a counter-culture movement in the decorative arts challenged the austerity of Victorian society. Art Nouveau burst upon Europe and America with a romantic glory of swirling dainty lines. Figures of girls with dreamy expressions and swirling hair, dragonflies and peacocks with iridescent colors and stylized floral themes dominated jewelry. Filigree, enameling and Pliqué A Jour, the pulling of enamel through wire to give it a stained glass look, were used and established jewelers like Louis Comfort Tiffany although continuing to use diamonds and pearls reintroduced classical gemstones like opals and moonstones.The Edwardian Epoch & FiligreeAfter the death of Queen Victoria her son, Edward VII, became king of England. In comparison to the austerity of Victorian England Edward’s reign marked a joyous return to elegance in styling, clothing and jewelry. Edwardian jewelry coincided with the Art Nouveau movement, and the delicate Filigree work that could now be fashioned echoed the laces and feathers worn by Edwardian ladies of the period. Diamonds and pearls were worn in profusion, either alone or with colored gemstones. Because of the metal strength of platinum, yellow gold was replaced as the metal of choice for jewelry. Silver and white gold, were used for the first time in Filigree and it was everywhere from brooches, bracelets, earrings, tiaras and beautiful delicate and lacy diamond rings, and with king Edwards love of elegance men’s jewelry came into its own.Filigree Sterling Silver Jewelry Through History Part I – 3000 B.C. To 400 A.D.Copyright © SilverShake Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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