In the mountainous region along the border between Thailand and Myanmar live the indigenous people from six different tribes known collectively as the Hill Tribes. The largest of these tribes is the Karen Tribe; they live in houses that are on stilts, made of bamboo or teak. Traditionally Hill Tribe people supported their families by slash and burn agriculture, which required them to move their villages often in search of fertile fields. It is now no longer possible for them to continue this semi-nomadic lifestyle, as the Thai Government now prohibits the clearing of hillside land. With these restrictions the tribal people found that they had less land on which to support their families.
In the early 1960’s, their Majesties took to help the Karen tribes to develop an alternative to farming to support their families. As part of the Royal Project of Thailand, silversmiths where sent to pass along their knowledge of jewelry making to the farmers. The first generations of Karen silversmiths were taught to handcraft designs using high-content silver (99% silver content), with traditional hill tribe techniques, including hammering, stamping, weaving, stringing, oxidizing and polishing. Often the pieces are engraved with unique patterns, symbolizing plants, animals, or geometric designs that show the connection to their land and spiritual world.
FusionBeads.com offers a beautiful selection of Thai Hill Tribe Silver beads and pendants. Using these beads in your jewelry will definitely give your jewelry a unique one of a kind quality. Below are just a few of the great inspiration pieces we have made using Thai Hill Tribe silver.
Easy Living Bracelet pairs African turquoise and opal with multiple Thai Hill Tribe Silver flower charms.
On Top of It Necklace features Swarovski Crystals and Pearls with Thai Hill Silver Leafy Bead Cap for an elegant cluster necklace.
Western Dreams Bracelet uses Thai Hill Tribe smooth and flower stamped spacer beads along with Swarovski Crystal.
If you love the look of silver, try incorporating some Thai Hill Tribe Silver into your next beading project!
Happy Beading – Cody