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The history of Kandari Filigree

My name is Dian Cahyadi I am a student of product design in bandung
institut of technology (Indonesia). I have started my writing about
filigree and focus about Kandari Filigree. It’s a traditional
filigree of south Sulawesi (south celebes) It’s hard to find out more
about filigree history, what, when, who, where, and how’s filigree
begin become one of jewelery style. I’d like to find out more about
it, and I thank you if you want to tell me a litle about it and
support me to finish my writing for my final study.

Thank you for your help and kindness
best regard
Dian Cahyadi

Hi Dian, I’m not an expert, but when I was learning about historical
techniques using blowpipes for soldering/fusing of precious metals,
they suggested that filigree was the easiest style of jewelry to do
with a blowpipe technique. Because there is such a small mass of
metal to heat in filigree, soldering/fusing with a blowpipe and
candle is possible. This may be why, historically, this technique
has been used, and why it has developed into more of an art form in
locations where the newer technology of gas torches is either unused
or unavailable.

Good luck with your research!


Hello Dian,

I was also a student of Industrial Design in 1995 and had to do a
paper on on Jewelery. I chose Ancient Greek Art and learned a lot
about Filigree from that. I am not an expert but I hope I can help
you a little with some about the history of filigree
although I have not located many references specifically about
Kandari filigree yet.

I hope this helps with your 5 “w=B4s” (what, when, who, where, and why
filigree become a jewelery style. ).

I think it is important to look closely at your countries history in
order to trace the origins of your specialized filigree work there.

The early history of Sulawesi is in fact that of South Suluwesi
where Kandari is located. The lack of a written form of the language
there before the 13th to 14th centuries means that there are no
chronicals from before that time. South Sulawesi would have served
as a gateway to the Molucas Islands which were important to the
ancient spice trade. There Arab, Persian and Indian traders would
have stopped to trade their goods for spices etc,. before continuing
on through the straights of malacca to China. The Chinese traders
would have headed west through there as well. The people os
Sulawesi were fabled sea farers as well and would have sailed to the
north of Australia, the islands in the pacific ocean and to the west
coast of Africa.

The filigree in gold and silver in Indonesia today seem to have
their centers in Sumatra, Bali and in Kendari The few resources I
was able to locate mentioned that the filigree from Indonesia
resembles traditional Islamic jewellery of the middle ages.
Techniques to make having been introduced to Sumatra by Ottoman
metalsmiths in the 15th century or earlier.

Filigree in Greece at least evolved during the classical period of
Greek art, which started around 475 BC. It was also well known in
Mesopatamia, Egypt and Byzantium. The word Filigree actually derives
from the latin filum “a thread or wire” and granum “a grain or

Below is a quote from an online encycolpedia at

  filigree , ornamental work of fine gold or silver wire, often
  wrought into an openwork design and joined with matching
  solder and borax under the flame of the blowpipe. Filigree is
  used as a decorative treatment for jewelry or other fine
  metalwork. It was made in ancient Egypt, China, and India.
  From the 6th to the 3d cent. B.C. the Greeks practiced the
  art, and the Etruscans were noted for fine granular work.
  Saxons, Britons, and especially the Celts in Ireland were
  skilled at devising intricate and ingenious designs in the
  Middle Ages. The Moors in Spain did much exquisite work in
  silver. Filigree is employed today in Mediterranean areas, as
  well as in Mexico, India, and Scandinavian countries. Antique
  examples are to be seen in the Vatican, the Louvre, the
  British Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum.