Filigree demonstration and workshop

Our last full day in Porto would be visiting Gondomar and a workshop and museum of Filigree.  So, what is Filigree?

“Filigree is intricate metalwork.  Usually with very fine strands of gold or silver or both that is twisted then applied to a frame of various shapes, filling them with a delicate tracery. The foundry to the final piece goes a long way passing the stick of gold or silver by a drawing process, decreasing the thickness of the wire, twisting them between two wooden planks. The process involves beating, cooking and bleaching.  Finally, the detailed task of filling the frames is usually performed by women, called “bottle filling.  The finishing process is to weld all the components and final assembly operations.


The minutia of this jewellery work, which nowadays is supported by a single machine – the cylinder, as well as the heat of the fire that heats the threads and connects them, result in different types of ornamental pieces or sacred art, such as shrines, caravels, boxes as well become pieces of personal use such as rings, earrings, medallions and crosses.

These pieces have gained international recognition since the actress Sharon Stone, the godmother of one of the cruise ships that rides on the Douro River, showed off her gold-filigree heart pendant while she strolled the streets of Los Angeles. Mr. António Cardoso is the craftsman-goldsmith who created it, from the AC Filigranas workshop.

Filigrana production in Gondomar  dates back to the second half of the 18th century. The proximity of the raw material – coming from, for example, the hills of Pias and Banjas – made the region one of the most notable centers of Portuguese goldsmithing. Even today, in 2019, Gondomar is responsible for 60% of the production of national jewelry.”



Filigree workshop



Silver and gold threads. Steady hands required






heating the thin stands of wire




Steady Hands makes beautiful art






The heart a beautiful piece of jewelry








I found this link online to show you in more detail how they make the stunning Filigree Jewellery.

The process of making Filigree Jewellery

I was fascinated watching  the artisans making the stunning jewellery and really disappointed that I somehow didn’t purchase anything.  I was looking at a butterfly broach but someone else had already purchased it.  Will have to go back one day.

Of course we were treated to some coffee, juice and heart shape puffs.  I had the coffee but not a puff as they  were not gluten free.  I did ask everyone if they were yummy and the answer was yes!


Heat shape puffs

While having our coffee we wandered outside to watch the local community enjoying the weekend along the river.


Beautiful Gondomar

Back to the ship for lunch then we had an afternoon to do whatever we wanted.  Muriel and I packed our bags and then headed into the wonderful City of Porto.  That will be the next post.


“Pelas maos de mestres guardios de uma sabedoria secular aprendemos a dominar a natureza e os segredos dos metais mais nobres e pela imaginacao indomavel de homens e mulheres devotos a ourivesaria, demos lugar a mais pura das criacoes. a filigrana.
Ontem, tal como hoje e amanha, o nosso compromisso e e sera sempre, preservar aquilo que temos de mais autentico…a nossa arte.”

Translated to –

“From the hands of guardian masters of a secular wisdom we learn to master the nature and secrets of the noblest metals and by the untiring imagination of men and women devoted to jewelery, we have given way to the purest of creations. the filigree.
Yesterday, as today and tomorrow, our commitment and always will be to preserve what we have most authentic … our art.”



45 thoughts on “Filigree demonstration and workshop

  1. Pingback: #SeniSal Roundup: Oct 14-18, 2019 ~ Esme Salon

  2. I love filigree work and those examples you photographed were lovely. You were so lucky getting the chance to get up so close and personal with the process.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We visited Portugal last summer but didn’t make it north to Porto. My daughter and I would have loved to try filigree!! It’s so intricate and beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

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