Beading with Filigree
by Cynthia Deis
review by Gail Dennehy
|If you have
come here to the Guyot website, you, like I, admire the gentle curves,
shapes, and lines they have pressed and sculpted in metal.
Filigree isn't new. Used
both for beauty and strength, the metal designs have appeared in buttons,
figurines, purses, headpieces, and jewelry for centuries. The ancient
technique of producing them involved long hours of delicate hand work over
In the early days of the
Industrial Revolution, the emerging middle class craved all the luxuries
of the rich, including filigree jewelry. Some enterprising manufacturer
discovered that filigree could be made easier and cheaper by stamping it
out of sheet metal with a press and die.
By the middle of the
twentieth century, pieces with filigree integrated in them were quite
popular and, when I grew up in the early fifties, they were still found
easily in antique shops and my grandmother's dresser drawer. Today,
because of its beauty and the ease with which it can be embellished with
beads and gems, it is widely in use and most of the stamped filigree is
produced in factories in France or the United States.
Cynthia Deis has written this Lark Books edition of “Beading with
Filigree,” to introduce the hobbyist to the treatment, shaping, and use
of filigree. She begins with an in depth discussion of the materials a
maker might find herself working with. The filigree itself might be of raw
or natural brass, antiqued brass, plated brass, or even solid sterling
silver. There are the beads, pearls, and stones in all sorts of colors and
shapes. Findings are the metal parts used in jewelry making and may
include clasps, toggles, end caps, crimp covers, ear wires, and jump
rings. Stringing materials can be chains, string, wire, or monofilament.
So very many things to chose from, and Cynthia gives them all attention.
Finally, you must have on hand some pliers, epoxy glue, and a can of spray
paint or two, and you are ready to either construct your own design or to
practice on any of the thirty-one designs from Cynthia's own collection. A
virtual panacea of filigree jewelry projects for all levels of skills.
Wait a minute, what about technique? Cynthia hasn't forgotten any of the
basics. She shows how to wrap a loop of wire, open and close jump rings,
use crimp tubes, and sew beads to filigree.
When she has done all this, Cynthia shows the reader how to change the
metal finishes on your filigree pieces by bending and shaping the filigree
into the piece you need for your creation. The instructions the writer
provides for each of her projects are clear and complete. Each one
includes a detailed materials list and a list of techniques involved. She
references the page number to go to find how-to information.
Her designs are lovely
and range from simply elegant to colorful and fun. The author offers the
hobbyists ways to use their own creativity, and the techniques they learn
in the book, to adjust the designs to their own tastes.
All in all, this a nice comprehensive introduction to the use of filigree
in jewelry making. It made me go out and start shopping for squares,
circles, and ovals of filigree.