West African Filigree

Course Description

About this course

Filigree is a common technique in West African countries and is a specialty of Senegalese jewelers. The focus of this demo-centered virtual class is to make a traditional filigree ring.

Attendees will learn how to make a frame, how to prepare the wire into small filigree units that will be used to fill the frame, how to properly install them, to prepare the solder, to solder everything together, and finally to form and finish the ring. All while using very few tools!

For more information about virtual courses, visit our Virtual Course FAQ page. 

Please read the Materials & Tools tab! 

Meet the Instructor

Matthieu Cheminée

Matthieu moved from Paris to New-Mexico when he was 19, where for seven years he studied Navajo, Hopi and Zuni jewelry techniques. He was immediately drawn to stamping, making concho belts and bracelets. He then moved to Mali, West-Africa and worked for a few years with the Fulani, Touareg and Bambara jewelers. 

In 1999, Matthieu settled in Montreal Canada and continued his studies by going to a jewelry school and learning a more classical part of the trade. Over the years, Matthieu has returned to Africa regularly.

In 2014, Tim McCreight and Mattheiu Cheminee created the Toolbox Initiative, a non-profit organization that helps jewelers in West Africa through the gifts of donated tools.

“I have been stamping and making stamps since the beginning and have developed a form of stamping design by creating patterns that fill the entire piece of metal. This is called “tessellation”.

Matthieu has written two books,  “Legacy, jewelry techniques of West Africa“  and “The Art of Stamping”, both published at Brynmorgen Press.

Visit Matthieu's website or instagram page for more info on his work.

Materials & Tools 

The following supplies will be used for course demonstrations and objectives. A suggested item and/or vendor has been provided below for reference. Click the vendor name (in red) to be redirected to a page where you can find the item. The quantities needed for each item are listed first. If ordering, please be aware that some items may come in larger quantities than needed for this class. We recommend not opening an item's packaging until the day of the workshop. Student participation during or in-between class sessions is strongly encouraged but not required - observers are welcome.

Raw/metal materials (note wood sizing is approximate but stay close to the measurements):

  • 1 x 10"x6"x3/4" pine or cedar wood
  • 2 x 4"x2"x2" pine or cedar wood
  • 24 feet x fine silver round wire - 0.4mm (Rio Grande)
  • 12" x sterling wire - 0.7mm x 1.2mm or 1.2mm square (Rio Grande)

Hand tools:

Torch setup:

Other/miscellaneous items: 

  • hard/stable work surface
  • escapement files - optional
  • safety glasses 
  • ruler
  • old files/nail setters/chisels
  • fine point permanent marker 
  • glass jars/containers - for oil and vermiculite




Matthieu Cheminée


April 5 -7, 2022


6:00 PM -8:00 PM


2 days

Basic and above

No Class Dates

April 6

Virtual - Eastern Time Zone
Add to My Calendar