Silver Filigiri Work

Silver Filigiri Work


The main centres for this craft are Cuttack in Odisha and Karim Nagar in Andhra Pradesh. Traditionally the ingots were beaten on an anvil and elongated into long wire by passing them through a steel plate with apertures of different wire gauges. Each filigree jewellery piece actually combines several component parts.The space within the frame is filled with the main ribs of the pattern which is usually a creeper or flower, forming itself into small frames of circles, flower petals, and the like. Karim Nagar in Andhra Pradesh has long been noted for its silver filigree work. This traditional craft requires delicate workmanship. The products made include ashtrays, boxes, cigarette cases, trays, bowls, spoons, pill boxes, jewellery, buttons, paandans,, and perfume containers in the shape of peacocks, parrots, or fish. The jewellery made here has twisted silver wire as the base material; the articles have a lacy, trellis-like appearance which gives them a rare charm. Two or three wires are wound together after heating and then bent into various shapes to get patterns. The components are fixed together by a special method in which small square strips of an alloy of copper and silver known as tankam are spread to make the entire design, and then placed on the furnace. When well heated, dry paddy husk is sprinkled on it; this bursts into flames and melts the tankam pieces. The molten tankam penetrates into crevices and ensures the firm binding of the small pieces that comprise the whole. The block is then cooled in cold water. The smaller articles are directly moulded into various designs. For larger articles, smaller ones are made and pieced together. The main ribs are first fixed and the interstices are filled in with delicate tendrils or circular pieces which gives the article its special character. Karim Nagar has its own unique patterns and the elaboration in filigree is according to the pattern. A design with a high level of traceries is known as the Karim Nagar design. This is visible mainly in the perfume containers made in Karim Nagar, a product for which the place is famous.

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