In today’s skyrocketing silver market, certain trends have emerged. The look of airy and delicate shapes has come into vogue. Instead of thick and heavy forms, refreshingly light filigree silver components have emerged and are enjoying greater popularity.
Filigree silver components are more difficult to produce and can only be achieved by more skilled craftsmanship. The labour cost per gram tends to be higher with filigree. Filigree is more expensive to produce because there is a greater possibility of defects due to the light weight of the material, creating a need for greater care in the post casting process. However, with the advent of rising silver prices, filigree designs have become price competitive with solid pieces, while at the same time offering more design accents.
Filigree silver components also offer a larger variety of design possibilities than the traditional solid silver pendant or bead, which can generally only be strung and threaded through. Filigree can be used as the base for weaving with silver wire and beads. By taking the silver wire and using it much like a needle in embroidery, one can take it from under the frame, bringing it over and attaching a bead, and going back down through the frame. As a result, the bead stays above the filigree silver component and shows beautifully. This process can be continued to a desired pattern, and does not have to cover the entire component. The silver wire can be tucked under, or wrapped around part of the wire and clipped neatly.
Another design possibility with filigree silver components is bending the component over part of a larger stone pendant. By using a pair of round nose pliers, and working it slowly from the top of the component to form over the pendant, one can decide how much of the filigree shows in the front. The components can be wired together, if the stone pendant has a hole to secure it, or glued down if there is not. This adds a beautiful highlight and can easily create a focal piece out of a plain piece of stone or wood pendant. Filigree components also allow crystals and bead drops to be hung from various hollows in the piece. Jump rings can also be added to connect the filigree silver component to chains to create various silhouettes of necklaces and bracelets.
With this in mind, we can see how the use of filigree silver components can enrich the jewelry-making experience and open up countless creative possibilities.