The Silver Village

The silver I use in my jewellery is all hand made and polished with rice husks to give it an attractive antique sheen. The workers still use tools that have been handed down for generations, and their work methods have remained much the same through out the centuries.

My silver village is 150km South of Chiang Mai. The villagers are White Karens, silversmiths, originating from Burma and Southern China. In the village every cottage is a small silver factory. The work is done by women and girls, whilst the men spend their days smoking cheroots in the hammocks, probably designing some future master pieces. Design work seems to be very demanding. It requires plenty of cigarettes and incredible amounts of liquid refreshments, when done properly.

Karen huts are simple bamboo dwellings on stilts. The work area is under the house, which in other villages is reserved for household animals. The White Karens raise no animals, as they are vegetarians. This makes the village unusually clean and free of flies.

When visiting other hill tribe villages, one has to be on constant lookout for piggy dung and guard ones belongings from pet monkeys. There are dogs galore roaming the dirt roads, pigs digging for roots and chicken droppings on every chair and bench.

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