|Tibetan Gem Stone Jewelry
Tibetan jewelry and art is very symbolic. It is part of everyday life and a reflection of
Tibetan jewelry is quite beautiful, with vibrant colors, but stylish and simplistic. The colors most used are bright reds and light blues but you will also find green and yellow. Tibetans actually value their jewelry based on its color, size and symbolism. Tibetan jewelry, including silver and gold jewelry, also tends to be much larger in size than the jewelry made in most other countries.
Most of the jewelry makers today can be found in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, particularly in the old part of town. Many jewelry makers have been here for centuries and the business remains within the family, the skills passed down through the generations.
The Tibetans have been skilled silversmiths for many years. In fact Tibetan silversmiths and goldsmiths were believed to be one of the wonders of the medieval world! Documents uncovered in China from the 7th Century write in praise of their skills.
The jewelry is made of the highest-quality silver with antique turquoise, coral and amber often used. Tibetans believe that turquoise and coral have healing qualities as well as believing in the protective properties of gem stones. Most of the semi-precious gems are found in the Himalayas with some of the gems e.g. blue lapis being imported from Afghanistan.
The silver used in Tibetan jewelry is 92.5 % silver and some Tibetan silver jewelry has a rustic, unfinished look to it. Hand made using hammer and chisel; it is unique in its charm.
Tibetan Buddhists can be seen walking around wearing their prayer beads, called malas. Malas are prayer or rosary beads used for reciting repetitions of prayers or chants called "mantras," and are used during meditation. They have been used for thousands of years in Tibetan, Chinese and Indian Buddhism. Similar beads are used in Christianity. They are made from an assortment of semi-precious stones as well beads and Yak bone.
The Tibetan jewelry style had a major influence on other cultures, particularly those ferocious warriors known as The Mongols.
The Mongol Empire existed for almost 150 years, up to the end of the 14th century, with the Great Mongol Empire being founded by Chinggis Khaan. The Empire included northern China, Turkestan, Middle East, Russia, Ukraine, Caucasus and Iran.
The Mongols were reconverted to Tibetan Buddhism in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. So we find the Mongol taste in jewelry is similar to the Tibetan with a love of turquoise and salmon colored coral.
Mongol earrings. High grade silver with turquoise and coral. The long life knot at the top is a frequently used motif in Mongol as well as Tibetan Buddhist design.
If you wanted to buy jewelry hand made in Tibet today, you would need to be careful. A lot on the commercial market is actually made in Nepal. However, you can always make your own Tibetan style jewelry using authentic gem stones.
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- First Published: October-19-2011
- Last Updated: October-19-2011
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