Filigree and gilding

Even more popular than enamel decoration was filigree, where the ornamentation is made up from very finely twisted wire, usually gold thread. In most Irish examples, this wire is soldered onto a thin strip of gold leaf or gold foil backing plate. This in turn is sometimes mounted inward in relief so that the surface lies flush with the object, or by hammering from behind. This latter repousse technique creates a decorative ridge on the object, onto which the backing plate is attached.

Another form uses a combination method. This hollow-platform technique involves setting a were also popular, such as niello, a dense black metallic substance that was widely used by the Romans for the inlay of silver. Inlay is produced by cutting or casting a depression or groove into the surface of the object, and then adding the inlay material. This champ/evé technique was favored by the Irish, while the Britons and Anglo-Saxons preferred the cloisonne method, where the inlay is soldered directly onto the unprepared surface.

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