Sunday, February 21, 2010

The characteristics of hilltribe silver

The hilltribe artisans work exclusively with 99.9% silver, also known as fine silver. After working with it, there is a slight contamination with the elements which would bring the actual silver content between 95-97%. This extremely high silver percentage – a little higher than the international sterling silver of 92.5% - makes the metal very soft and malleable, significantly more so than its sterling silver counterpart. It’s also a lot more tarnish resistant, although in our humidity, tarnishing still takes place.

Separately, hilltribe pieces are always handmade. As a result, no two pieces are completely alike. A hammered piece may not come out exactly the same way we want it, even with a sample given. Such is the nature of handmade work, and we’ve learnt to love the little idiosyncracies that comes with working with the hilltribe artisans. In contrast, 92.5% silver, the international hallmark for sterling silver, can either be handmade or casted. If handmade, it’s likely to have the same organic idiosyncracies that hilltribe silver has, but if casted, the consistancy is a likely to be a lot higher.

1 comment:

Richard said...

Interesting fact silver made in Thailand is only made in villages outside of the main cities by Hilltribe families. Most patterns have been in there family for many years and can only be made by large order. There are no stores or one central place to purchase Hilltribe silver in variety other than from the large wholesale shops in the city. Mondays and Fridays are the days families will bring their goods to the main shops for sale and to pick up new orders. A trip to a silver village is a real eye opener to see how families work together to make beautiful silver pieces of art. All Handmade.