Information about Filigree
Ladies antique filigree wedding rings from the Edwardian Jewelry Period and the Art Deco Jewelry Period of the early 1900s are increasing in demand.
The term used for filigree is started with the Italian word filigrana, which is originally from the Latin word filum, meaning a thread of wire and granum meaning a grain or bead.
Filigree is formed by twisting and bending wire into fine unique designs. These fine designs were used as openwork (without a backing) or they were applied to a metal surface. The metal wire used for antique bridal ring sets were primarily gold or platinum, though metal work was used in silver or bronze. The wires used were plain, twisted, untwisted or plaited.
Through the findings of antique jewelry, the creation and use of filigree may be tracked back to early metal work from ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Etruria, Greece and Byzantium. Early practices of wirework jewelry and decorative items were created using small pieces of metal and then hand setting these metal pieces for design granules.
There are four basic structural ways to create filigree.
The first type of filigree is openwork, where the design does not have a backing and is generally constructed using a heavier wire. Wires are soldered together at points to hold the design together. Edwardian wedding rings are often created with openwork filigree. This type of filigree was used to create a light, lacy design that matched the lacy clothing of the early 1900s.
The second type of filigree is ground-supported. This type of filigree as used in bridal jewelry has a metal backing and has decorative metal wires that are soldered to the metal surface.
The third type of filigree combines openwork and ground-supported types, so that the completed types of openwork wires are attached to solid metal. Attachment types could be non-soldering methods, such as split rivets, rivets, bezels, or claws.
The fourth type of filigree work is used when a material is added as fill between the wires. Often the filler used would be enamel. This type of filigree is not often seen in wedding jewelry.
In early 1900 bridal rings, most design styles were linear. This is because wire is the main material. Frequently found are small wires twisted and patterned into areas built within the borders of larger areas. The larger areas will allow the wedding ring to be more durable, while the smaller areas will be used for more decorative purposes. In traditional filigree, the wires will never overlap, however, the wires may come close to or border other wires. For openwork filigree, structural frames are always used and are important for the strength of the ring. Whereas, in ground supported filigree the structural frames are for design and are not functional. The wire strand may be used to give a design pattern or even be an area filler.
The making of the wire design is a simple process and does not require complex utensils. Tweezers, pliers and hands are used to shape and bend wires. Cold chisels or wire cutters are used for cutting.
Finger rings from the early 1900s are created with openwork designs. These rings may use either bezel or prong settings to hold gemstones for embellishment. Edwardian rings would often feature filigree in shaped to form hearts, flowers, blossoms or even stars. Rings would also be embellished with engraved designs.
During the Art Deco Jewelry Period of the 1920s and 1930s openwork filigree wedding and engagement rings would use diamonds or synthetic sapphires mounted with an open backing. Art Deco Wedding rings would focus on geometric and abstract designs and patterns. Often the center stone would be mounted in a square, hexagonal or octagonal design. Art Deco Rings would also use engraving or stamped designs.
Ten Two Three specializes in Antique Old Diamond Filigree Wedding Rings. Ten Two Three ships within the United States, Canada, the United Kingdon and Australia. For questions please contact: Info@TenTwoThree.com