The history of Bhutan | Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel | The cultural heritage | The 13 traditional crafts | Making metal ornaments

Tröko: Making of metal ornaments

In this trade gold, silver and copper is usually made into jewellery. There are two main types of Bhutanese jewellery: the first uses semi-precious stones like turquoise, coral or etched agate (zee); the second uses the finely worked but mostly heavy silver and gold adornments for broches (koma) for women's dress (kira*) as well as for bangles, necklaces and rings.

 

Besides jewellery, richly decorated containers are important products of the wrought-iron master craftsman. The best pieces are reserved for religious use or are seen as status symbols. The most important working tools a fine pair of sheet pliers, a soldering pipe, a wire-drawing block, stencils, gravers, burins and chisels, hammers, putty, pump drills and metal scales.

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Like the blacksmith, the master of precious metal working also only needs a few tools. They, too, often work close to their clients.
Photo by Guy Van Strydonck


Gau, silver, fire-gilding, turquoise; size: 17 cm x 12 cm x 5,5 cm; loan from the National Museum, Paro
A gau, containing prayers, small statues of saints or relics, is worn around the neck for protection while traveling. This piece is made of filigreed and imbossed silver, which is finally partly engraved. Forged ornamental wires were soldered on at the indents on the piece. The precious stones are set in glueing wax.