• English speaking customer support only

    Toll Free - USA & Canada only:
    1-800-464-1640

    International:
    +66-39303404

  • Change Language

    • Language image for EnglishEnglish
    • Language image for FrenchFrançais
    • Language image for SpanishEspañol
    • Language image for ItalianItaliano
    • Language image for GermanDeutsch
    • Language image for RussianPусский
    • Language image for Chinese中文
    • Language image for Japanese日本語
    • Language image for Arabicالعربية
    Change Language
  • USD

    Change Currency

    • EUR = Euro
    • GBP = British Pound
    • USD = U.S. Dollar
    • AED = United Arab Emirates Dirham
    • AUD = Australian Dollar
    • BHD = Bahraini Dinar
    • BND = Brunei Dollar
    • CAD = Canadian Dollar
    • CHF = Swiss Franc
    • CNY = Chinese Yuan
    • CZK = Czech Koruna
    • DKK = Danish Krone
    • EGP = Egyptian Pound
    • EUR = Euro
    • GBP = British Pound
    • HKD = Hong Kong Dollar
    • IDR = Indonesian Rupiah
    • ILS = Israeli New Shekel
    • INR = Indian Rupee
    • IQD = Iraqi Dinar
    • JOD = Jordanian Dinar
    • JPY = Japanese Yen
    • KRW = South Korean Won
    • KWD = Kuwaiti Dinar
    • MXN = Mexican Peso
    • MYR = Malaysian Ringgit
    • NOK = Norwegian Krone
    • NZD = New Zealand Dollar
    • OMR = Omani Rial
    • PHP = Philippine Piso
    • PLN = Polish Złoty
    • QAR = Qatari Riyal
    • RUB = Russian Ruble
    • SAR = Saudi Riyal
    • SEK = Swedish Krona
    • SGD = Singapore Dollar
    • TWD = New Taiwan Dollar
    • USD = U.S. Dollar
    • VND = Vietnamese Dồng
    • ZAR = South African Rand
  • Category
    Category
    • Birthstones
      • January Birthstones
      • February Birthstones
      • March Birthstones
      • April Birthstones
      • May Birthstones
      • June Birthstones
      • July Birthstones
      • August Birthstones
      • September Birthstones
      • October Birthstones
      • November Birthstones
      • December Birthstones
    • Cabochon Gems
    • Top Grade Gems
    • Star Gemstones
    • Cat's Eye Gemstones
    • Drilled Gemstones
    • Color-Change Gems
    • Gemstone Carvings
    • Fancy Gemstones
    • Huge Gems
    • Untreated Gemstones
  • Shop By
    Shop By
    • Gemtype
    • Color
    • Shape
    • Weight
    • Size
    • Date
    • Clarity
    • Price
    • Origin
  • New Arrivals
  • Cabochons
  • Pairs
  • Lots
  • Calibrated
  • Help
    Help
    • Accounts
    • FAQ's
    • Shipping
    • Returns
    • Payment & Checkout
    • Security & Privacy
    • Customer Reviews
    • Gem Certification
    • Guarantee
    • International Orders
    • Switch to Mobile Version

The History of Thai Silver Jewelry

Silver Fire Opal Pendant
Silver Fire Opal Pendant

Thailand is world-famous for its exceptional silver and fine artisanal jewelry designs. The history behind Thailand's well-developed silver market runs deep through many generations of Thai people. Originally, the majority of Thailand's silver craftsmanship was for the production of fine silverware and decorative items such as trays, ladles and bowls. Through modernization, the industry brought about a shift in demand for finer silverwork and jewelry design.

The northern region of Thailand is most famous for the production of fine silverwork and jewelry, though silver craft is also abundant throughout Central and Southern Thailand. Northern Thai silver is renowned for its high level of purity (often up to 99.9%), and for its fine craftsmanship, typically featuring unique and intricate ethnic detail. The detailing of silver designs native to Northern Thailand incorporates many techniques, encompassing influences from ancient Hindu metalworkers, as well as Burmese refugees, Shan tribes and various hilltribes of Northern Thailand and the surrounding area.

Blue Topaz Silver Ring
Blue Topaz Silver Ring

The early Hindu settlers of Thailand were highly skilled in the art of metal-crafting. Although gold was their preferred medium, the ancient Hindu civilizations had a great influence on Thailand's silver craft as well. As Hindu traders slowly made their way from Southern and Eastern India, the techniques of skilled goldsmiths eventually spread to natives throughout Thailand. Hindu influence and methods that were formerly used to design fine gold jewelry can easily be seen in some of the most astonishing pieces of modern silver jewelry fashioned by Thailand's artisans.

After the fall of the Pagan (pronounced "Bagan" and not to be confused with the pre-Christian religion) Empire, many Burmese silversmiths fled to the capital of the Lanna Kingdom. For over 200 years, Lanna was an independent country, reaching south to Lumpang and extending north to the Shan State of Burma. The Kingdom of Lanna, now present day Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, inherited the fine Burmese silver-working methodology. Around this time, Shan tribes also began to establish themselves throughout Northern Thailand. The Shan tribesmen were also very skilled in the art of silver craft and many Northern Thai silver jewelry designs seen today draw their inspiration from Shan heritage.

Ametrine Silver Ring
Ametrine Silver Ring

Of the many hilltribes in Northern Thailand, none are as famous as the Karen tribe. The Karen tribe is actually one of the largest hilltribes in all of Southeast Asia. The Karen tribe has been hand making traditional silver jewelry for centuries, using methods that have been passed down for centuries from generation to generation. Many of the silver jewelry designs found in Chiang Mai, Thailand are handcrafted by silversmiths who are members of the Karen tribe. Many designs incorporate unusual traditional ethnic symbols or patterns, but nowadays, Western influences are creeping into their silver jewelry designs, in items such as necklaces, bangles and earrings.

Since the historical capital of Lanna was such a vast cultural melting pot, it evolved as a centerpoint for ethnic groups of Thailand, Laos, China and Burma. Here they shared and learned many different styles and methods of jewelry-making artistry. The same handcrafting methods used hundreds of years ago are still used today by many of the world's finest silver jewelry artisans.

Modern Thai Silver Gemstone Jewelry
Modern Thai Silver Gemstone Jewelry

Today, handmade silver jewelry and ornaments can be found throughout Thailand, in places from ritzy five-star hotel gift shops to small shops located in Thailand's many 'open-air' markets. The highly developed art of silver jewelry-making has because a source of local pride, not only for the Thai people, but also for the many other ethnic groups of Thailand and the surrounding areas, including Burmese, Laotian, Chinese and the Karen and Shan tribes of Northern Thailand, all of whom have helped play an important role in the growth of Thailand's fine silver jewelry and craft trade.

  • First Published: August-08-2014
  • Last Updated: December-12-2017
  • © 2005-2018 GemSelect.com all rights reserved.
    Reproduction (text or graphics) without the express written consent of GemSelect.com (SETT Company Ltd.) is strictly prohibited.
English speaking customer support only

Toll Free - USA & Canada only:
1-800-464-1640

International:
+66-39303404

Save Money
No shipping Fees for Additional Items!
$6.99 Worldwide Shipping

Update Translation
 
Current Value
New Value

Creating Account...

Close window to continue

Facebook did not provide your email to login.

Please allow Facebook to provide your email or sign up an account with GemSelect.

GemSelect Gemstones
X Close Window
Colored Gemstones
X Close Window
Colored Gemstones
X Close Window
Colored Gemstones
Size and Weight

Gems are always measured in Millimeter (mm)

Dimensions are given as;
length x width x depth,
except for round stones which are;
diameter x depth

Select gems by size, not by weight!
Gem varieties vary in density, so carat weight is not a good indication of size

Note: 1ct = 0.2g

Size Comparison Chart