Its great when previously showcased businesses come back and tell us more about what they do. This is a piece written by Ruth Seba of Seba Silver. In it Ruth outlines the incredible craft techniques and traditions of this beautiful 400 year old business.
What is filigree?
The term Filigree refers to intricate jewellery made with delicate twisted threads. Filigree is generally worked in silver or gold and many countries have a rich filigree heritage- Spain, Malta, Italy, Greece, India and Nepal, among others, all have heritage that includes filigree work.
Filigree is an ancient tradition that has been dated back to the 3rd Century BC in the Greek culture. Here at Seba Silver the Seba family have been able to trace their own filigree heritage back at least 400 years. Adolf and I are proud to be keeping the family tradition alive and sharing our work.
The art of filigree involves curling, twisting and plaiting fine pliable threads of metal, and uniting them at their points of contact with each other. A fine silver powder is mixed with borax (flux) to unite the delicate threads. Heat is controlled by the use of a blowpipe, too much heat and the delicate patterns can easily be damaged or destroyed. The use of a blowpipe enables precise control over all aspects of the soldering process.
A framework is generally created that will give form to, and protect the more delicate motifs that are used in filigree designs. Frames are created using bands of flat silver, these give consistency and rigidity to the designs that are being created. The artistic filigree motifs that are created are often compared to lace making, both traditions involve ancient techniques, a steady hand and a lot of patience.