Raw Silk

The Differences Between Wire & Silk Filigree

Silk Filigree

Although unknown in terms of central originations or who started the implementation of silk as an alternative to wires in filigree creations, it has been said that silk filigree was an inspired artform that arose from the old legions of ancient Asia Minor. 

Considered still as the "new" form of filigree, for many centuries and years,  the production and implementation of silk filigree has spread vastly from Asia, well into Eastern Europe, and some of Northwestern Europe as well. 

Silk filigree can be considered as the cost affordable alternative to wire filigree, but it brings out so many new advantages compared the old wire method. For that reason, we at Golden Butterfly Studios were predisposed on implementing this tradition and technique in our filigree designs. 

The technique of silk filigree has a lot of beneficial factors to it compared to wire filigree, both for the manufacturers and for the end customer, including - labor time, cost of overall materials, durability, unlimited design opportunities, and overall cost to end consumer. 

In regards to labor time, with the implementation of silk rather than wires, we reduce the labor time down from days/months to create a single piece all the way down to a few hours to a couple of days. Since using silk compared to real gold and/or silver wires, we are also offering a vast majority of customers something that they can afford as a result. 

Another HUGE advantage that silk filigree has compared to wire filigree is that of endurance. In regards to the silk filigree pieces that we create through Golden Butterfly Studios, all of them are well enclosed within a shadow box. No humidity, sunlight, oxidation, or any form of climate exposures will interfere with the overall quality of our pieces. For this reason, we are truly delivering a product that can last a lifetime and be considered as an heirloom. 

Lastly, the beauty of silk filigree is unrestricted. Due to the fact that filigree silk threads can be found in a variety of available thicknesses and colors, we are not limited to the type of designs we can create and the different color variations we can incorporate. 

Wire Filigree

Traditional filigree is a form of intricate metalwork used in jewelry and other small forms of metalwork. In jewelry, it is usually of gold and silver, made with tiny beads or twisted threads, or both in combination, soldered together or to the surface of an object of the same metal and arranged in artistic motifs. It often suggests lace and remains popular in Indian and other Asian metalwork. It was popular as well in Italian, French and Portuguese metalwork from 1660 to the late 19th century. It should not be confused with ajoure jewelery work, the ajoure technique consisting of drilling holes in objects made of sheet metal. 

The oldest form of traditional filigree has been archaeologically dated to the ancient Mesopotamian city of Midyat in 3000 B.C. Specific to the city of Midyat in Mardin Province in upper Mesopotamia, a form of filigree using silver and gold wires, known as "telkari", was developed in the 15th Century. To this day, expert craftsmen in this region continue to produce fine pieces of telkari. 

Throughout the centuries the tradition and work of filigree has been adapted and spread throughout most of Asia and Europe, with each region developing their own intricacies and designs. 

As beautiful as traditional wire filigree is, it comes with a tremendous cost, at times ranging well over a few thousand dollars. One factor in regards to the price of such work is that the fabrication of these elaborate pieces (depending on the intricacies and size of the design) could take anywhere between a few days to well over a few months on end. Another factor is the cost of the overall materials - the gold and silver wires, as well as any beads and elaborate mineral stones and diamonds that may be incorporated. Another thing to note in regards to this form of filigree is that it requires an extensive amount of care to avoid things such as chipping and any discoloration due to oxidation of the metal.