Hand-made ancient gold preserves local craftsmanship

Hand-made ancient gold

Hand-made ancient gold

Not only is gold precious but it is striking when created in delicate designs. In Thailand’s northern province of Sukhothai, an ancient gold is reproduced, thanks to the influence of local history and antique objects and remains.

The origin of the ancient gold dated back not that long ago in this Rattanakosin period, where a local woman tried to produce a gold bracelet for her client by imitating a knitted bronze one.

The entirely hand-made process makes it exclusive and the technique can’t be found elsewhere.

Gold reproductions come in all types of ornaments such as necklaces, earrings, rings or even clutch bags, belts and neckties.

Surprisingly, the handicraft of Si Satchanalai goldsmiths is neither from a specialist school nor written in textbooks but rather passed on from generation to generation. The process is not a new one, but new designs are often created.

Due to his appreciation on Thai fine art, Kobchai said he first started the elaborate handwork when he was only 14. He now has more than 10 years of experience.

“Crafting gold is like creating art. When I’m making a pattern on gold, it’s like I’m drawing a picture. I’m proud when a product I make comes out beautiful. Patterns also change every year,” said Kobchai Nainang, a local goldsmith.

Unlike other 96.5 per cent machine-made gold, Si Satchanalai ancient gold is made of 99.99 per cent gold bullion, which is melted in a rail-like mould, then rolled to make strings like golden-silk threads. The strings will later be knitted, made into shapes and assembled according to the designed pattern.

Unfortunately due to rising gold prices, the ancient gold business in the province is in decline, leaving only the four main local gold operators in business. Of a total of 10, six of the operators had to shut their doors. About 100 local goldsmiths meanwhile have said they would still carry on with their precious handiwork.

“Our goldsmiths are locals of Si Satchanalai District, so every product here is purely made from our local wisdom. It’s our legacy,” said Patsita Assawawongyai, a local gold shop owner.

An individual gold accessory will take at least three days to finish, and only highly-skilled goldsmith with the best eyesight and aged 30-45 years is required for such elaborate masterpiece.

Hopefully, the economic slump and fluctuating gold prices will not carry away with them this beautiful local heritage. (TNA)