Tibetan Ornaments, Tibetan Jewelry
When you stroll down the famous Barkhor street, your eyes will be drawn to a variety of captivating Tibetan ornaments, such as rings, bracelets, necklaces, made of red and yellow Tibetan coral, Tibetan carnelian, yak bones, Tibetan silver, Tibetan copper, turquoise and other natural elements. All the materials are unique to Tibet and bear magic of this holy land, which makes Tibetan ornaments seem naturally imbued with a mystical flavor.
Long-standing and unique Tibetan ornaments are featured by simple, unconstrained motif, diversified styles and patterns as well as brilliant colors and bold, wild designs instill high fashion. With little need for complicated craftsmanship, a wild, trendy bracelet or necklace can come into being simply and harmoniously by joining several natural stones, corals, and a yak-hide string. They are formed from ancient times under the influence of climate in the area, people's production activities and the religious culture.
The most common Tibetan ornaments are broad and delicately designed silver bracelets, peacock-blue yak-boned necklaces inlaid with turquoise, and dangling earrings made of red coral and Tibetan silver, etc. Tibetan ornaments present the special Tibetan crafting techniques, including enchasing, inlaying, and wire drawing. In a broader sense, Tibetan ornaments also include living and religious articles, such as snuff bottles, whose hollowed-out designs demonstrate the craftsmen's skills; prayer wheels, which can be found throughout Tibet; barrels to hold rice for offering before Buddha images; sea-snail-shaped ritual horns; and splendid-colored Thangka paintings. All these have become popular.
Compared with ornaments from other regions, the finer crafts of Tibet feature irregular shapes due to the natural quality of the materials, their splendid colors and rough, but unique handcraftsmanship. The designs mostly derive from religious beliefs and the lifestyle of the Tibetan people, the symbols convey special meaning and the deeply-hued Tibetan silver is a mysterious temptation. Genuine Tibetan silver products are handmade by Tibetan silversmiths and each is unique. The originality satisfies the modern spiritual desire of the wearer and their demand for particularity and individuality. And, largely due to the inexpensive prices, these objects are in chic.
Tibetan ornaments also convey unique Tibetan culture. Many of the Tibetan silver bracelets are carved with the six-syllable mantra ("Om Mani Padme Hum"), which in Tibetan Buddhism is believed to have the ability to eliminate disease, fear of death, prolong life and increase wealth. Some pendants are in the design of Vajra, which in Buddhism is a ritual instrument for subduing demons, believed to dispel all sins and bring people power, courage, and intelligence. Amulets are often silver or bronze small boxes inlaid with pearls or precious stones and are used to contain clay or metal images of Buddha, Tibetan pills, Buddhist paintings or photos of a living Buddha. Another example is Tibetan opals, which fall into 12 categories according to the number of cat's-eyes one contains, each representing a particular meaning. For example, a one-eye opal represents brightness and wisdom, and a two-eye opal represents harmonious marital relationship and happy family life.
The Tibetan ornaments, previously of a sort only seen adorning Tibetan women, now prevail in many large and medium-sized cities in China, having gained particular favor among students and working women seeking to express their individuality. They can be easily found at bustling districts in large cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. However, the best place to buy Tibetan ornaments is still the Barkhor street in Lhasa, where is full of a strong flavor of Tibetan culture.