Filigree, called earlier as filigrann or filigrene represents a delicate form of jewellery metalwork, and it is usually made of gold and silver. The pieces of work are accompanied by tiny beads or twisted threads, or both of these in combination.
These are soldered together to the surface of a same metal object and arranged in the form of artistic motifs. The roots of Filigree can also be traced back to the Italian and French metal work from 17th to 19th century. The English word filigree is derived from the Latin word "filum" which means thread and "granum" means grain that signifies a small bead.
Karimnagar region in Telangana is home to many highly skilled artists who practise the delicate craftsmanship called filigree. They are skilled in creating many articles through Silver Filigree such as Spoons, cigarette cases, buttons boxes, ashtrays, jewelry, buttons pill boxes, paandans and also perfume containers. They create special designs involving Peacock, parrots and fish which are clearly depicted in the perfume containers. The artisans of Karimnagar display fine mastery wherein they twist the delicate silver wire into delicate loops. These are knitted in a form of zigzag pattern which results in an intricate lace like appearance.
Filigree work, which is made using the twisted silver wire ushers a rare charm. The silversmiths crimp the thin strips of fine silver and create loops that are filled with designs formed by thicker and attractive silver strips. These strips and fine silver are further deftly soldered. The versatility of the art is not restricted or limited by tradition. The art has been extended from jewelery to other household articles these days like tea-trays, ornament containers, key chains and even cigarette boxes.
This is considered an ancient metal work which is practiced in the traditional way. These artifacts are made of alloy containing more than 90% Silver and for several decades, the artisans have maintained the craft by updating themselves with the market requirement. They also use Platinum polish which ushers a brilliant glare on the items.The silver used in the art is extracted through a series of smaller holes for producing the fine strings of silver threads. The string is the special element in the filigree jewellery. Traditional items made with this are figures of animals, birds as well as flowers.
Karimnagar Silver Filigree also received the Intellectual property rights protection or Geographical Indication (GI) status in 2007. The delicate filigree work of Silver Filigree is therefore considered as a great craft which is widely popular. There is a lot of demand for Silver Filigree from all over India, while the art collectors too come here to document the stunning work of filigree. Customers purchase Silver Filigree products with a lot of enthusiasm since it is a rare form of craft. It has been passed on since generations and represents the artistic as well as cultural pride of Karimnagar district in Telangana. The fine Silver work is a task to master and hence only skilled craftsmen are considered adept at this tradition.