Silver Filigree Ring with Sparkling Inset (No6)
Weight: 4 g Size: N (British standard)
Period: middle of the 20th century
Origin: Balkan, Adriatic Coast (Kotor)
This is very elaborately made silver filigree ring with the central inset made of glass paste in burnt umber colour with sparkling effect. The upper part is of oval shape made in twisted and convoluted silver wire applied with small silver pellets (grains) and tiny silver lozenges. Thus the opulent framing is formed for the central inset, which is also of oval shape. Collet setting for the inset is made in filigree. The inset is rather thick so the setting is of corresponding height giving to the ring prominent three-dimensional effect.
The ring appertains to the urban type of the local jewellery and according to the style it can be dated at the middle of the 20th century, when filigree technique was still normally practised in towns alongside the Adriatic coast. It is probably made by one of the jewelers from Kotor.
Glass paste insets were traditionally used for ornamenting Balkan silver jewellery. They took over the role of precious stones after the pervasion of Ottomans which provoked the impoverishment of the local society. Silver jewellery with glass paste insets reached the apex of popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries. In that period glass paste insets in various colours were usually imported from Venice (Murano), and the jewellery decorated with them was affordable only to very rich families. Although at the beginning of the 20th century emerged fashion of silver jewellery with precious and semiprecious stones, glass paste insets were still commonly used for ornamenting filigree jewellery into the middle of the 20th century.
The urban type of the local jewellery emerged around the middle of the 19th century. It developed in the subsequent period, following the European trends in jewellery design. Although adopting foreign trends, local jewelers always adhered to the traditional filigree and granulation techniques for producing silver jewellery.
Filigree is a genuine local craft used to be practised in many small towns alongside the Adriatic coast, Kotor included. Demanding, difficult, and highly elaborated, filigree technique reached the peek of perfection in this area. It used to be the obligatory part of the master exam for every apprentice. From the second half of the 20th century filigree technique was gradually ceasing and today it is practised very rarely.
For additional reading please see Balkan Silver.