Filigree is a word that originates from the Latin 'Filum' (“thread”) & 'Granum' (“grain”). It is the art of artistically making a pattern of delicate intricacy by working with super fine gold or silver wire. How fine you may ask? Astonishingly, as fine as the diameter of human hair. This technique requires steady hands and a great deal of experience to produce it… After the pattern is finished, the filigree is heated and soldered with gold powder to seal the design. Filigree jewellery has been present in a variety of European cultures since medieval history, and while it has largely declined, this tradition remains as integral part of contemporary culture in Portugal.
Last July, I had the opportunity to visit Portugal. I instantly fell in love with their people, language, their tiles and & their romantic ‘Fado’ music. However, what truly seduced my eyes the most was their traditional filigree jewellery. While in Portugal, I could not miss the opportunity to visit the Filigree Museum in Lisbon and learn more about this amazing craft. I left the site so inspired and eager to bring a little bit of this amazing culture to New Zealand.
After some research, I ended up in Alcina’s shop on Rua do Ouro (Gold Street) in Lisbon’s city centre. Alcina was hanging out with two of her girlfriends & chit chatting over a glass of white wine when I arrived. I bust out my best Portuguese up to date and express my desire of purchasing some of her filigree work. Fast forward, two and a half hours later, no wine left and fluent in Portuguese by this point; Alcina kindly helped me curate a selection of stunning Portuguese filigree earrings to bring back to New Zealand.
Each of these One-off earrings is handmade in Portugal with a Sterling Silver base & plated in 10K Gold.