Indian filigree jewelry is a very unique style of jewelry. Antique filigree work was done many centuries back in India and was popularly known as “Tarkashi”. The filigree jewelry is mainly done on silver. There is a lot of technicality and precision involved in filigree work. It requires a great amount of patience and an eye for minute details. Filigree craftsmen are specially trained for this kind of work on jewelry. Filigree work was done in many parts of the world like Egypt, Spain, Cyprus, Italy, etc.
Filigree work is done on pure silver and has many technical stages. First, pure silver is made into very fine wires by passing it through a wire drawing machine. Before technology came into scene, this was done by hammering silver on an anvil made of iron or steel. After this, the two thinnest wires are heated and wound around a rotating wheel machine known as “Charkha” and are flattened again to make it as a single wire. This wire is then bent in different ways to give it many different forms and shapes.
Different parts and shapes are made and are then joined together to make one piece of jewelry or Tarkashi item. Filigree is used in not just jewelry but also for making decorative pieces like boxes, trays, bowls, spoons, vases with flowers, purses, showpieces, plates, tumblers, etc. The filigree jewelry is popular in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh in India. The filigree work in India is highly inspired from the one that was done in Greece in ancient times and has maintained and modified that style beautifully.