March 16, 2012

Thailand Treasures! Jewelry & Crafts - PART I

It's been already FOUR months since our trip to Thailand.
In this post I'll share with you some pictures from the jewelry and crafts I saw in the trip.
The first ones are from my birthday, November 24th! That day we took a long tour through the North of Thailand, and the first visit was to this amazing "all white" Temple in Chiang Rai.

Then we visited the hot springs of Chiang Mai (not very impressive for me), where I bought this lovely bracelet - for its price I was almost sure it wasn't silver, but the simplicity of its wire twisting made it an interesting piece!
(If you go there, have in mind that it's almost impossible to get real silver, being so close to the hot springs = sulfur! all the pieces would be black if not extreme care is taken, so be cautious with what you pay for!)

After the hot springs, we visited the "golden triangle", the point where Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar (Burma) intersect. We crossed to the Myanmar border for an hour, which wasn't enjoyable, unless you are interested in buying fake purses or cobra whisky (!).

Then, the night started to fall down, and we arrived to a "Long Neck Karen" tribe (originally from Myanmar, now also in some regions of the north of Thailand).

In that place, no daylight meant starry night and time to sleep, so, in a hurried visit we could briefly interchange some smiles and gestures while admiring their traditional jewelry - I even carried one of their super heavy brass necklaces.
It looks like it does, but the necklace doesn't enlarge their necks: it compresses their rib cage and clavicle making an illusion of a long neck instead.

I've read that the reason for this tradition could have started as a way to protect their necks and legs from possible tiger attacks, or as a way to deform their bodies to make themselves less appealing to slavery, or even just for beauty purposes, which I think has to be the right one! They look really beautiful walking slowly and gracefully to balance their bodies.
It could sound a little bit extreme from a western point of view, but I don't see it all that different from all the crazy things we do to accomplish our beauty canons.

There I bought a nickel bracelet, it seemed to have been made just by cold processes like chiseling, hammering and foldings. The metal is so soft that it's easy to open and mold around the arms or legs.

We then visited a wooden workshop at Chiang Mai, with very impressive works, from tiny boxes to colossal carved wood panels.

At the biggest Chiang Mai craft fair I saw stands with handmade repousse Nickel works, from little bookmarks to huge thai royal scenes.


Wait for the Part II with: Paper Parasols, Amulets and nature treasures ;)


  1. so interesting.. yes, why not compare the long necks with the ridiculous IMHO extremely "long" high heels in our society!
    I love the wood carving!!
    and the second bracelet so soft as you described , loved it too. Everything pretty amazing!!

    1. lol, yes! high heels, silicon, botox, bleaching, tanning, liposuction... the list is endless!
      I hope you enjoy Part II too :)


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