Brooch with floral motif and butterfly, Kerala, India, c. 1853. Silver filigree. Victoria and Albert Museum
I believe everybody knows what filigree is. This kind of jewelry is created in many countries and each has its own distinctive features. In India it is called by Persian word tarakashi. In this delicate and time-consuming style of jewelry is made mostly from gold or silver wire here. It is amusing how relatively small amount of metal can be transformed into a surprisingly long length of wire. For example, one once (28.35 g) of gold can be drawn into a single hair-thin wire 35 miles (21.8 km) long. And this makes the filigree attractive to both jewelers and customers as a minimal amount of precious metal is needed to create beautiful pieces with a lacy appearance.
Bracelet with flower butterflies and snakes. India, c.1853 silver filigree. Victoria and Albert Museum
Gold Filigree Wedding Ring, 1980s Sarara Vintage
Among the important centres of filigree in India are Cuttack in Orissa and Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh. In both centres the craft is very old. It has reached a peak of exellence by the mid-nineteenth century. Fine examples were shown and admired at the London Great Exhibition of 1851. Some of the best pieces survive in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Pair of filigree bracelets, Cuttack, Orissa, 19th c. Victoria and Albert Museum
Cuttack has long been famous for its very fine "spider web" work and the rose flower is the main element in designs here with most patterns being built up around flowers. One rose takes about three hours to make. Each year about 5000 kg of silver are consumed by filigree industry in Cuttack. Gold filigree is only made by order.
Silver filigree bangles from Karimnagar. source
Gold necklace mainly in filigree work with stamped units made for the Great Exhibition, London, 1851, Kerala. Victoria and Albert Museum
Silver filigree necklace. source