Ye Min Paing joined a goldsmith workshop as a teenager and learned how to create simple designs for earrings, chains and rings. Unfortunately, he had to put this career on pause after only a short time in order to help his mother with her work. Recently, Ye Min Paing was able to return to his craft, joining Turquoise Mountain as an apprentice in their jewellery workshop and graduating from their apprenticeship program last year.
Silver and Goldsmithing
‘Pantain’ is the art of gold and silversmithing. For centuries, Myanmar goldsmiths were renowned for their hand-crafted jewellery. Nowadays, complex decorative designs using handmade filigree, open-wire work, and other traditional methods are hard to find and machine-made production dominates the offering. The skills needed to craft a jewellery piece by hand are at risk of disappearing. Each purchase helps to sustain this industry.
The Mogok valley in upper Myanmar, sometimes referred to as the “Valley of Rubies”, is famed for its large depository of precious and semi-precious stones. All ISHKAR pieces are crafted using semi-precious gemstones that have been sourced directly from women in this area who hand cut them in traditional workshops close to their point of origin. This way we are able to ensure a shorter and more transparent supply chain as well as fair pay for these women.
Decades of international isolation and sanctions have left Myanmar one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, with a third of the population living in poverty. Through technical, design, and business training, Turquoise Mountain is supporting over 400 artisans to connect to international markets, and to generate sustainable incomes. Turquoise Mountain’s apprenticeship programme in Myanmar is also training the first generation of female goldsmiths in the country who learn from the masters of their craft.