Filigree is a beloved metalwork technique that probably originated with the ancient Greeks in the 5th Century. Silver seems to have been the favorite metal for filigree, as early as then, silver being more pliable than gold.
Essentially, filigree is a way of splitting silver wire into the thinnest possible strands — and then, within a thicker, studier silver frame, arranging the finer strands into pleasing arrangments.
Filigree was brought to Spain & Portugal by Arabs in in the 8th Century, and then to the Philippines by the Spanish in the late 1500’s, in the form of religious jewelry. In Baguio, where our production takes place, filigree was practised strongly by the workshops of the Beligian nuns at St. Louis University. It is from their training of generations of silversmiths that Baguio developed a deep capacity for silversmithing, and especially filigree.
The craze for filigree in the Philippines originated in the 1950’s and peaked at the end of the 1980’s. Today, the few existing filigree mastercraftsmen are old, but happy to find work.
We are lucky to be working with two that are masters of two techniques that especially fascinate us: “spider coil” & “double-coil”. Double Coil is achieved by spinning pure 1000/1000 silver closer than a spider web, creating a metal field with gossamer translucency. Our filigree collection is based upon contemporizing these two ancient techniques.
Murano glass, white sapphires, & handpainted pearls—these are a few of our favorite things. Filigree, glassblowing, & hand-painting are not new techniques, certainly — but our simplifed shapes, modern composition, & striking juxatpositions of precious metals with stones — these bring them into relevance for today.