Apart from crafting a collection of beautiful parols that benefits the scholars of Steps Dance Studio, Mark Wilson also got his hands busy by creating delicate fine jewelry during the pandemic. After taking inspiration from basket-weaving for the “Cordillera” line, working with precious stones for “Mariquit,” and religious emblems for “Talisman,” he now spotlights the art of contemporary filigree in his latest collection.
“Filigree is something that I discovered in Baguio, starting with this set of earrings,” the interior and lighting designer behind the wonderful works of Caro Wilson says. “In Baguio, in particular, the belt and knots in the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s are made a lot of filigrees. So there’s a deep bench of talent when it comes to making filigree.”
An age-old craft, filigree is a form of intricate metalwork usually seen on jewelry. Its process involves “splitting silver wire into the thinnest possible strands—and then, within a thicker, sturdier silver frame, arranging the finer strands into pleasing arrangements.” This jewelry work dates back to ancient Greece. While many think this art was brought to the Philippines by the Spaniards in the 1500s, Ramon Villegas, an antique jeweler and historian, states that the country’s filigree work on jewelry stretches way back to the days before colonization, in the form of amulets and talisman.
Mark’s newest designs highlight specific filigree technique: the spider coil and double coil. According to him, he took the old techniques and modernized them by incorporating his brand’s logo and producing pieces in different sizes of circular discs, reminiscent of the tambourine jewelry.
“We are lucky to be working with two that are masters of two techniques that especially fascinate us: spider coil and double-coil,” he says. “Double Coil is achieved by spinning pure 1000/1000 silver closer than a spider web, creating a metal field with gossamer translucency. Our filigree collection is based upon contemporizing these two ancient techniques.”
Visit Caro Wilson’s website to see more of Mark’s contemporary filigree jewelry.