The seed of tradition has always flourished in climates rich in culture. However, they become most timeless when the inevitable blossom appears in an art form.
For Sardinia, it is the thin coils of gold intersecting in light lines, forming designs suspended in time, symbols of ancient tradition and magic.
Filigree: A Latin name originating from filum (thread) and granum (granule), an art with centuries of history, born in the workshops of the first Egyptian goldsmith masters and exported throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East by the Etruscan people.
A myth is its invention by the fairies, the Janas, who wove the wefts in the moonlight on enchanted looms, then added precious stones and coral to give each piece of jewelry magical powers capable of making young women fall in love, but not only. The filigree was, in fact, an element capable of connecting man with the supernatural world, able to protect from evil spirits, creating an interweaving of identity and myth, and telling a story capable of making typical Sardinian jewellery immortal.
Despite its very ancient origin, it was between the 15th and 16th centuries that filigree reached its maximum diffusion, worn in everyday life by Aragonese noblewomen, who used to adorn their dresses with jewellery made with ‘fil y grana’ because of the particular use of the grains. It often happened noblewomen themselves gave the jewellery to their maids so that it became part of the young girls’ trousseau, acquiring symbolic meanings to mark the stages of life, such as marriage, the birth of a child, or the death of a loved one.
The filigree is an integral part of traditional clothing, an elegant adornment of ceremonial women’s and men’s garments. The embroidery appears as jewellery imprinted in the fabric, and the filigree is gold thread embroidery. The goldsmith’s production of filigree includes various elements, from gilded and adorned buttons to large brooches, earrings, chains, and pendants. Some of the best-known examples are ‘sa Mura’ (the blackberry), earrings or pendants in the mulberry tree shape worn to announce a child’s arrival to the community. Su Lasu, a typical pendant from the Campidano area formed by su Froccu (the bow), sa Gioia, and su Dominu (the woman’s domestic power), tied around the neck with a black velvet ribbon.
Today, the art of filigree still lives on, shaped by the hands of true master goldsmiths who, in their training, learn not only the practical techniques but also the local history and traditions, which are indispensable for faithfully reproducing the ancient traditional jewellery.