The thin layer of gold covering some jewels is called filigree. As if these fraying jewels were re-tying their precious threads according to a precise design. Like filigree, a watermark is something master papermakers added to their white sheets of paper: a metal weave to create the outline of a bishop, or a bull’s horns, each one a small emblem of one’s shop. Visible only through transparency.
In the end, a filigree can be, so to speak, anything that barely emerges, that marks just the surface. Something in the paper yellows, as it does in the sewn-together leathers that we wear. But something else remains hidden. Those looking for the watermark in ancient books can also recognize the work of time in the scratches and small nicks on a leather bag, just like patient goldsmiths or paper masters who revise their brands every day.