Silver is a precious metal but the Thai don’t use it silver monetarily. They make silver jewelry and other items to use as dowry and gifts. They believe that wearing silver bracelets and necklaces can help them avoid catching a cold or getting sick.
“Silver is a valuable metal. In the past, silver was used as currency but poor families commonly didn’t have access to it. Now every family keeps silver as a precious asset and a good luck charm. They have a folk remedy to treat flu and fever by wrapping a silver coin, the white of a boiled egg, and some loose hair in a handkerchief and rubbing it over the neck and back of the sick person,” Tong Van Hia, a shaman in Mong hamlet, Son La province, explained.
The Thai have a wedding custom that the groom must give silver jewelry and items to his bride and her parents as wedding presents. Rich families will prepare many silver wedding presents.
“According to Thai custom, the groom’s family prepares a bun of artificial hair and a silver brooch for the bride to tie her hair. If the groom can afford it, he will give his bride silver bracelets and key chains. The gifts for his parents-in-law must include some silver coins,” said Shaman Tong Van Hia.
|Thai women prefer wearing silver jewelry to festival.
Silver accessories adorn Thai women’s beauty. A Thai woman uses a silver brooch to tie her hair into a tall bun on top of her head to indicate that she has gotten married. They wear silver rings, necklaces, bracelets, and chains and their blouses have silver buttons in the shape of butterflies.
“Thai women must wear silver bracelets, rings, and brooches. For celebratory events we must have silver waist chains. We even borrow silver chains from others to wear when we are singing. It’s thought to be most beautiful to wear 4 to 5 chains on your waist,” said Quang Thi Loi in Giang Lac hamlet, Son La city.
At present, there are several types of jewelry made from a variety of different materials, but silver remains valuable in the life of the Thai.