Thai Hill Tribe Silver
Tribe Silver, known world wide for its high quality and
delicate designs, comes from Northern Thailand.
The "Hill Tribes" in this region have been practicing
their silver crafts for centuries. This area is
often referred to as the Gold Triangle, as it is
situated near the borders of three nations (Thailand,
Laos and Myanmar).
There are six distinct Hill Tribes, each
with its own style of dress, unique cultural practices,
and jewelry designs. The Tribes are known in their
native land as the Karen, Mien, Hmong, Akha, Lahu, and
the Lisu tribes. The silver jewelry and beads of
the Karen tribe are perhaps best known. For this
reason, "Hill Tribe" and "Karen Hill Tribe" are often
used interchangeably, although doing so is inaccurate.
Silver is such an important part of the
cultures of the hill tribes that it is often used in
lieu of paper money. The peoples here also wear silver
jewelry extensively for cultural and religious purposes,
but also to convey to others their status in the
Hill Tribe silver is usually 95-99.9%
silver, in contrast with sterling, which is 92.5%
silver. As such, if often satisfies the standard
of "fine silver." This high silver content is
necessary, for the silversmiths form their pieces from
hammered sheets of silver and wire. Doing so
requires a level of metal malleability that the sterling
alloy, with its higher copper content (7.5%) cannot
Each Hill Tribe silver jewelry piece,
being handcrafted, is unique.