The Origins of Filigree
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. The word "Filigree" derives from the Latin words filum (wire) and granum (grain), and in traditional wire filigree it's commonly used as an indicator in regards of the thickness of the wire in the hands of the filigree maker. 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.
Cons of Traditional Wire Filigree
As beautiful as traditional wire filigree is, it comes with a hefty cost -- at times ranging upwards of a few thousand dollars, and it has a lot of drawbacks, such as:
1. Production Time - 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.
2. Cost of Materials - the use of pure gold and silver wires, as well as any rare beads and elaborate mineral stones and diamonds that may be incorporated in traditional filigree pieces accounts for these pieces being often times very expensive for everyday consumers.
3. Durability Issues - in regards to wire filigree, it requires an extensive amount of care to avoid things such as chipping and any discoloration due to oxidation of the metal fibers.
Why Silk Filigree is the Better Option
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:
1. Quick Production 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
2. Affordable Cost of Materials - since we utilize silk rather than gold/silver wires in terms of the production of all our pieces, we therefore cut down the cost of materials which in turns also drastically cuts down the overall retail price(s) that our customers have to spend.
3. Durability - a 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.
4. Unlimited Design Opportunities - 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.
5. Affordability to End Customer(s) - A few hundred dollars versus having to spend a couple thousand dollars