Has living in an area with a rich filigree history influenced your path?
Definitely, Gondomar, where I come from, has a rich filigree heritage. People often associate filigree with Viana do Castelo and the famous Viana-shaped hearts but actually the centre is here. My mother was a known jeweller, I was lucky to learn from her.
Could you explain some of the filigree techniques?
It involves using the thinnest threads of gold to fill the structure of a jewellery piece with a pattern using techniques such as the spiral (rodilhão), scale (escama) and others. The delicate lace-like work is then bound together through careful soldering.
Do you have any special filigree pieces?
When I decided to dedicate myself totally to filigree I took a three-year course and then trained as a teacher in the Cindor institution. I love three pieces I made during this period; an animal’s paw, a pendant and a bracelet. They are my lucky charms.
What advice do you give to students attending your courses?
Filigree cannot be explained, it must be felt, like love. Apart from the technique, I try to help them connect with the gold threads so they understand the huge difference between a handmade filigree piece as opposed to a less refined machine version.