The term filigree is derived from Italian word filigrana, which is originally from the Latin
word filum, meaning a thread of wire and granum meaning a grain or bead. Early practices of wirework
jewelry and decorative items were created using small pieces of metal or granules for design.
Filigree refers to the process and type of design that uses twisted wire to create delicate, lacy,
openwork jewelry. Usually made from finer metals like gold, silver and platinum, filigree has been used
for centuries to craft jewelry such as pins, rings and pendants.
There are four basic structural ways to create filigree. The first type is openwork, where the design
does not have a backing and is generally constructed with a heavier wire. Wires are soldered together at
points to hold the design together. The second type is ground-supported, where a supporting surface is used
and all wire points are soldered to a surface which is most frequently sheet metal. The third type combines
openwork and ground-supported types, so that the completed types of openwork wires are attached to sheet
metal. Attachment types could be non-soldering methods, such as split rivets, rivets, bezels, or claws.
The fourth type is when a material is added to fill between the wires, such as enamel.
False filigree is a style of decoration on metal, including silverware, that is an imitation of filigree.
False filigree is made mainly by soldering ornamental wire to a punch and than hammering it into a sheet
of metal from the back or by casting a piece from a model that was already decorated with true filigree or
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