History of Karen Hill Tribe silver product
In 1963, Karen village was just and isolated village with only a small hermitage monastery of Kruba Wong, the monks well-known for his Buddhism knowledge, devotion and practice. His pilgrimages where he lectured and meditated went through many area of North of Thailand and left a great impression in many hill tribe village including Tak, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai and Lamphun provinces. Through his action, devotion and personality he gain high respect and many sympathizers from the hill tribe community.
In 1970, a Karen hill tribe from many place decided to move to this place nearby the hermitage in hope to closed to the Buddhism lecture and monk, Kruba Wong. Their subjective were to observe religious precepts and practice with him. Due to his reputation and influence he become an influential leader and religious adviser for all affairs of their life. The population increased and it soon become a larger Hill tribe village with mostly Karen who strongly believed in Buddhism.
The history of the Karen’s silver craft from this village started with the journeys of the 2 Karen Hill Tribe, Ja-Po and Mor-Da. They went as salesman for their product to Myanmar. There, they learn about art and silver craft. At their village in addition to encourage silver craft the Buddhism monk. Kruba Wong taught them how to more advanced tiered golden umbrellas. The Karen Hill Tribe village combine their devotion for Buddhism with their newly discovered silver craft art. They started by using “Ngern-Taeb” ( Indian Rupee coins containing 80% of silver ) to making Lord Buddha hearts and place in Buddha statues. Later, they began to make beautiful valuable jewelry to represent the class and social status of owners. The patterns on silver jewelry mostly imitate natural simple things that are part of their daily life, like rice, fish, leaves and Pod Duang ( ancient Thai round coin shape like a grub ) which represent and symbolize the deep and necessary symbiosis between life and nature. The village silver craft become well known not only for the quality of silver but also from their special technique to oxidize silver and unique pattern which indicate the long tradition of Karen Hill tribe to respect and live in coexistence with nature.
Being between 99.5% and 99.9% pure silver, their silver product has a higher silver content than 92.5% sterling silver. It's merely the solder used to fuse the silver components together that makes up the last fractions of a percent. Consequently, it has a weight, bright satin color, and feel, all of its own.
Every piece is handmade and unique. The hand-hammered and chased details are wonderful and you can actually see evidence of each piece having been formed by the hands of a silversmith. Although these pieces are not usually hallmarked in any way, we can guarantee their origins.