The Spirit of Himalayan Jewelry
Modern jewelry originating from the Himalayan regions—such as Nepal or Tibet— is steeped in tradition, originality and visual distinction. The aesthetics vary considerably ranging from bold pieces featuring vibrant turquoise and red coral gemstones on a backdrop of elaborate silver filigree work to a simple yak bone or conch shell pendant displaying a Buddhist or Tibetan symbol. Regardless of the design, the artisans take great care in their workmanship and often employ crafting techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation. We offer an extensive array of handmade pieces ranging from designer caliber silver Tibetan cuffs ornately adorned with gemstone to simple yak bone pendants engraved with the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra.
In Tibet, in particular, jewelry (and gemstone) served purposes beyond just decorative. The ranks of government officials in Tibet, prior to the mid-20th century, were actually signified by an earring and its corresponding material. Turquoise, not gold, signified the highest rank. Also, certain stones were used in correlation to specific Buddhist deity practices such as Medicine Buddha and lapis lazuli. Mila amber, red coral, turquoise, lapis lazuli, carnelian and agate are the favored gemstones often seen in traditional Tibetan or Nepalese jewelry. Conch shell is also used as it is one of the eight auspicious symbols. Gemstones and metals were commonly believed to have medicinal, symbolic and protective qualities. A good example of this is turquoise. Turquoise was believed to purify the blood and absorb toxins. Additionally, it was believed to have changed color according to the health of the wearer. Another example is gold or silver. Gold is considered to be the “hot” metal of the sun, while silver is a “cool” nocturnal metal of the moon which was metaphorically made of solidified moon beams. Nepalese artisans use unique metal compositions to create their pieces. Brass is often used to represent gold or gilt so that it mimics antique designs. The silver used in many Nepalese pieces is a blend consisting of approximately %63 silver and is a metal unique to the region.