Filigree is the art of making silverware and ornamental means which are obtained by arranging a large number of silver bars within the tiny frames such as tears, leaf, honeysuckle, silk and flower buds.
Filigree is one of the most distinguished and yet finest Iranian metal industries. It owes its reputation to the artists and craftsmen who have attempted to create valuable works by means of very simple tools but with a lot of patience.
Filigree making has a long history. Before the Pahlavi Period this art has been practiced in Zanjan as the native art of this city and during the reign of Reza Khan. When lots of the craftsmen emigrated from Zanjan to Isfahan and Tehran, it spread to the other parts of the country.
In order to supply filigree bar, 100% Karat silver is transformed to the silver bar after being melted, then it is heated and passed through a die. Dying continues until the needed thinness is obtained, now it is called filigree tape. Having prepared a frame identical to the shape of the product in question, the filigree maker puts the mould on a copper plate and covers all over its surface with wax. Then he puts a tape, with a width a little more than the filigree tape, round the mould so that it may obtain the same form as that of the frame and sink in the max. Having passed this stage, he sets the filigree screws in proportion to the design in question next to each other by a little tong. Having set and arranged the filigrees all the surface of the frame is covered by “tonka” powder (which decreases the melting point of silver solder) and solder powder and melt the solder powder by heating which causes connection of the screws. The soldered parts ought to be polished in such a way that the connection points may not be visible. Fineness and at the same time cleanliness of the work in the art of filigree affect the quality and worth of the products.
This entry is supplied by the Iran Culture, Heritage and Tourism Organisation – Isfahan