The jewelry making art and tradition of the Himalaya region is centuries long. In the past, the greatest center for the jewelry production of the Himalaya region was Lhasa, capital of Tibet. It was common to find part-time craftsmen in the villages, and full-time gold and silver smiths in larger cities. This, however, did not mean that the part-time craftsmen were any less skilled than the full-time jewellers. In the middle of last century, the craftsmen in Lhasa were mainly either Tibetans or Nepalese. The Newar craftsmen of the Kathmandu Valley were highly valued and important jewelry producers in southern and central Tibet. During the 19th century and the first half of 20th century, visitors from western countries described the Newar craftsmen the most skilled jewellers, casters and metalworkers in Lhasa. The Newari artisans were in especially high demand in Lhasa, and were often commissioned to work in Lhasa. Some of the Newar craftsmen continued to work in Tibet even after the Chinese invasion of 1950, but many returned to Nepal. Newar jewelry craftsmen were especially known for their skills in stone setting and filigree work. The jewelry making craft is passed on from one generation to other.
During my trip to Nepal in October this year I had the opportunity to see also, how the Nepalese craftsmen create their beautiful jewelry. As we arrived in the village and the house of a craftsman, a friendly older lady in a pretty red dress, the mother of the artisan, led us to the work room. This was a simple space, and included the necessary jewelry making equipment and tools, a table, and a chair. In the corner of the room was an altar with a deity figure, incense, and flowers. As I observed the craftsman giving final touches to a silver ring with turning vajra on top, I realized that this process included so much more detailed work than I could have ever imagined. Now I have even more respect for this beautiful jewelry that has a very long history, and that carries so much meaning and dedication in it.
Below is a short clip of making a silver filigree earrings and a bracelet.
Below ready silver filigree earrings and bracelet made in above video clip.
ABOUT THIS BLOG
Welcome! :) My name is Monika. I am interested in crystals, different cultures, and good stories. As a linguist I have always been fascinated with semiotics and symbols, and how people of different cultures interpret them.