My mother is a goldsmith and I used to hate all kinds of jewellery just to be different. Then I realised that I had something in my back pocket that might come handy one day. The Chinese and Thai silver pieces were very attractive and they were everywhere in the Thai markets, both old and new. I remember exchanging beautiful, antique silver medallions with the Hill Tribes for a pack of cigarettes and getting a few strands of generations old beads as a gift on top of the deal. Now this kind of silver is in museums and the beads in New York galleries.

The first beads I bought in Thailand were blue and very worn. In those days beads, even old ones, cost just a few coins a strand. This lady wanted 100 baht for hers! I spoke no Thai and she spoke no English but somehow I understood that the beads were from Rome. Okay, another expensive import and they are blue too........ not really my colour. Curiously I was attracted to the dull lustre of the beads and bought them even though they were expensive. With a 100 baht in 1983 you could buy lunch for 5 people.

Then one day, as I was wearing my blue beads, an antique dealer told me that the beads were from Banchiang dated 2000BC and quite rare.

« Previous Next »