Karimnagar Silver FiligreeKarimnagar Silver Filigree is renowned not only in India but all over the globe. It is an ancient art form of Karimnagar. The Intellectual property rights protection or Geographical Indication (GI) status was given to this art form in the year 2007.
Twisted silver wire is used to make various items which bestow a trellis-like appearance of 'jali' or net. Thin strips of silver wires are arranged in zig-zag patterns or loops filling the space between thicker silver strips. These silver wires are very finely soldered to give a clean and delicate look.
Birds, flowers, tray, bags, trees, leaves etc are carved deftly by craftsmen. However, nowadays more practical items too are made which may be key chains, tea-trays, ornament keeper and cigarette boxes.
Lace Like Filigree Work of KarimnagarThe difference between ajoure jewellery work and filigree work is that while filigree suggests lace like patterns made by soldering silver and gold wires, ajoure jewellery work involves punching, drilling and cutting of holes through a piece of metal.
In the Spanish word filigrana, 'filar' means to spin and 'grano' means the principal fibre or grain of the material. There are some artisans who have been making filigree work for generations now. Also, you will be surprised to note that no two works of Karimnagar Silver Filigree will be identical. Every item is totally exclusive and intricate with close attention given to minute details.
Making of Silver Twisted Wire for Filigree WorkThis is quite an interesting process. Pure silver ingots are placed into a wire-drawing machine. Fine hair-like wires are required for filigree work. Two of the thinnest wires are heated. Then they are wound around a charkha and flattened. These are twisted together and arranged into zigzag patterns around the thicker strips which make the ribs of the design. These are carefully soldered into shapes such as leaves, creepers, birds and animals.
The Nizams of Hyderabad patronized this art form. The art form defines fineness, patience and passion. Silver Filigree of Karimnagar (SIFKA) Handicraft Welfare Society addresses the needs and other issues of artisans engaged with this craft. In Karimnagar, about 200 families are engaged in filigree work. There are design workshops organized by the Central Government for artisans and exhibitions where they can show and sell their products.
Silver ornaments with intricate designs are also quite in demand here. It is believed that filigree art form actually originated in Elegandla about 200 years ago. Craftsmen in Karimnagar became adept at this art and have brought the place on the world map as far as the demand and popularity of this craft is concerned.
The silver filigree craft started dwindling a few years back. But establishment of Silver Filigree of Karimnagar (SIFKA) Handicraft Welfare Society in 2008 under the PM's Employment Guarantee Programme (PMEGP) and Geographical Indication (GI) status has brought back the art. As the demand for the art form has increased at the national and international level, the artisans keep busy giving shape to their dreams! They make new and useful articles such as jewellery, trinket boxes and trays.
Filigree Art in museumsState Heritage Museum in London has displayed silver filigree items for the visitors. They are also on display at Salar Jung museum in Hyderabad. These items are gifted to ambassadors and dignitaries too on their visit to India. For instance, Bill Gates was given a miniature globe on his visit to Hyderabad while former President George Bush was presented with a miniature veena. The artisans has been awarded by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (which comes under Union ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises).
The silver filigree work encompasses the beauty of India as a whole - the intricate threads that are soldered so carefully are reflective of the strong bonds of love that all Indians share with each other. The exclusivity of each item shows that just like our great country India, each one of us too is special and unique. Silver filigree work makes every Indian proud of the exquisite art form that is still alive and much in demand even after 200 years of its origin in Karimnagar region of Telangana. The love and passion of the artisans shines through their inimitable craft!