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By Diane Small
It’s something you could imagine Byzantine princes wearing. Or maybe it’s part of the booty that would be spilling out of curved wooden treasure boxes in Aladdin’s cave, sparkling amongst the pearls and coins. But sadly, gold filigree jewellery is something of a dying art.
Rooted in ancient Mesopotamian history, delicately intertwining the minute gold and silver threads that comprise the filigree is an art that needs years of practice to master.
The craft of filigree was passed down through the centuries from the Mesopotamians to the Ancient Greeks and Romans, to the Southern Europeans and today, yet only a few artisans are truly skilled in the making of filigree jewellery. Some of them are part of the design team of Andrea and Ansula Usai, the married couple who work under the brand name of Kokku Jewellery.
Taking the name of their brand from the Sardinian amulet that protects infants from the ‘evil eye,’ Kokku has a special meaning for the couple, as they believe it was this amulet that saved one of their children’s lives after becoming very ill.
Grateful for a full recovery, the Usais created Kokku to ‘give back’, and so it is an ethical brand through and through–not only because it’s handmade and preserves artisanal traditions, but because each piece is comprised of recycled gold whenever possible.
Recent collections include Fedele stackable rings, handmade from 18k gold, and Koro, which includes intricately designed earrings, a necklace and ring.
The ancient beauty of Kokku designs has attracted a star clientele, including high profile Italian designers and personalities, as well as international stars such as Eliza Doolittle. With such continued patronage, it seems the ancient craft of filigree will be preserved for generations to come.
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