Silver filigree is the traditional art of Orissa and claims its origin from the Mughal period in India. The famous silver filigree work of Cuttack in Orissa is regarded as a speciality all over the world.
Silver filigree is a style, which may be of two types, ornamental and decorative. Its preparation process involves pure silver pieces to be melted in order to make fine silver wires drawn through a wire-drawing machine and then pressed into different shapes. The smaller articles are directly moulded into various designs. For larger ones, smaller components are made and pieced together. Here the main ribs are first fixed, then the interspaces filled in with delicate tendrils or circular pieces, which gives the article its special character. The distinction comes from the contrast of the thick ribs, against the fine granular surfaces, bringing out the exquisite artistry of the design.
The beauty of a silver filigree product lies in faultless setting of the frame and form, the proficiency with which the corrugated wires and strips are symmetrically set in, the fineness of the soldering with which small, isolated pieces are joined together and in appropriate spacing between any two pieces of wire and strips fastened to the frame. The thread like silver wires are used for making ornaments, hairpins, eartops, necklaces and other jewellery items and decorative items like boxes, trays, bowls, spoons, penstands and ashtrays.