Stories of Silver & Silk was created in 2012 by two women who shared a vision to work in design dedicated to help preserve local knowledge and traditions.
“It all started with a shared passion for design and tradition,” says Titipa Tanskul, co-founder and general manager of Stories of Silver & Silk. “For us, silver and silk give a sense of Asia, so Stories of Silver & Silk offers unique handmade silver jewellery made by local Thai hill tribe artisans.”
Working with her co-founder, Lucija Perko, a Slovenian designer who has fall in love with Thailand and lived in Thailand for more than 10 years, Tanskul shared their inspiration and belief towards their way of working.
“The silversmiths traditionally pass their knowledge from generation to generation. It is their expertise and skills that bring our design ideas to life. We believe in a sustainable and responsible approach to design where products can truly connect the artisans with consumers thus helping to preserve beautiful Thai arts and crafts.”
All products are hand crafted with silver by traditional tools and techniques, which have been used by the Thai ethnic Karen hill tribe people in northern and north-eastern Thailand for centuries.
Many objects are created by first cutting the shape on a fine silver sheet. Silver is alloyed with other metals to improve its durability. Brass alloy is often used to increase the hardness of silver products. Nickel is not allowed in their jewellery. The uniqueness is the matte texture of the silver surface.
“Adding patterns is a great way to manipulate silver surfaces and the results can be surprising, as well as unique. We also developed our own texturing technique by pressing the silver sheet with the fire tree seed pot to create a slate-like texture,” says Tanskul. “Our designs are mostly minimal and simple aiming to represent a human inner peace.”
Stories of Silver & Silk hopes to lessen social inequality by creating opportunities for low income workers in rural communities to lead a sustainable lifestyle without disrupting their traditional ways.
“Most of our silversmiths’ main occupation is farming, which generates seasonal income,” says Tanskul. “We support them by giving an additional career to earn more income from producing jewellery pieces, through which they can generate extra income all year round.”
According to her, Stories of Silver & Silk’s main customers are 30% domestic and 70% international, comprising of the US, Germany, Italy, the UK, Australia, Canada, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Asian market is also growing.
In the past the company had focused on offline marketing but Covid has changed all that.
“We had the opportunity to join events with the DITP such as Maison & Objet, Milan Design Week, Taiwan Design Week, Singapore’s The Finest Thai, but when Covid struck across the globe, we needed to be more proactive through online channels by using our own website, Facebook, Instagram and Line OA as the way to find more new clients as well as to maintain existing ones,” she explains. “We also joined other marketplaces, such as Etsy and Pinkoi.”
Tanskul believes companies nowadays can no longer focus only on income. They have to consider how their business supports society and the environment.
“This way of thinking gives us strength and a broader perspective,” she says. “Having a local community and society involved in our business requires building mutual understanding of the environment that affects their lives. This is a good opportunity for us to learn.”
For those interested in jewellery products, Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair (BGJF) is one of the world’s most renowned and longest-celebrated gems and jewellery trade fair organised by Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP). The fair will be held from 7 to 11 September 2022. For more information visit: https://www.bkkgems.com/
For more information about Stories of Silver & Silk, please visit https://storiesofsilversilk.com/
Photo courtesy of Stories of Silver and Silk
Words by Natthinee Ratanaprasidhi