What Type of Jewelry is the Island of Bali Famous for?

The Jewel of an Island

Beautiful, bountiful and boundless Bali! This incredibly gorgeous abode is known for its colourful birds, lush and verdant trees and fragrant flowers. A variety of wildlife exists on the island which has a generally hot and humid climate. The rich traditional customs and folkways of Bali’s people ensure that plenty of tourists visit this tolerant and heavenly place each year. While Indonesia is mostly Muslim, Hindus thrive in Bali where they migrated after Indonesia’s Islamic invasion. These Hindus celebrate their religious ceremonies with devotion and among the art dance and craftsmanship come out on top. 

A Cult of Culture

Bali also has a mining industry, and the island is renowned for its gold and silver reserves. Most of the artisans make gold and silver jewellery from the two precious metals. Balinese jewellery is famous throughout the world for its intricate designs which are a treat for the eyes. The jewellery reflects the Spirit of the East via its mysterious mandalas and natural patterns. The jewellery comes in a large variety of choices. Some of the beautiful works of artisanship are relatively modern in their likeness while others imitate olden times. 

Art & Artisanship

Most of the goldsmiths of Bali operate with a base metal that is 22 karat in its purity. This sort of gold can be bent and shaped as the artist pleases with little difficulty. The details of the gold jewellery make each artwork simply mindblowing in its beauty and aesthetic style. Three methods reign supreme in Bali jewellery. They are filigree, granulation and “jawan”. The first one consists of tiny hollow spheres and wires twisted around to make a view merely superb. One finds it incredible to even conceive of the fact that filigree is crafted manually. As for granulation, it comprises very tiny dots of metal evenly distributed all over the jewellery. The third and last craft uses small silver spots to make the word refinement take on its true meaning. 

The Eyes of the Beholder

The local people of Bali adore a vast array of chromatic mediums. Yet precious stones are rarely found on the island. The jewellery thus does not sport many colours. However, the national dress and customs such as making mandalas use plenty of hues which in themselves more than make up for this lack. Among some of the jewellery to come out of Bali’s high culture may be included: earrings, flower rings, tortoise, starfish, sphere and teardrop ear pins, ear hoops and nose clips. 

High Civilization 

When you delve into the history of the island’s artisans and their work, you find that it extends way back into the mists of the past. The beginnings of this gold and silver work reach to the 5th century BC. “Susa” has also been a part of the early traditions. This consists of an alloy which combines gold and copper in a fixed ratio. The Majapahit Empire ruled this region in the distant past. When the agricultural conditions improved with the rice paddies flourishing, the surplus caused the culture and civilization to flower. Such was the level of economic prosperity that minor criminals were given punishment by confiscating their gold savings. The motifs on the gold and silver jewellery evolved. 

A Tour of Treasure Island

As history moved forward in its arrow-like manner, people from elsewhere and their cultural ways mixed and melded on this island to create even more beautiful and graceful artistic forms. Today, Bali is known for its creativity in craft and caring of others. If one seeks peace of mind, this is the place to go to. Nobody wants to leave after sightseeing in Bali without purchasing some of the jewellery. The silver beads are especially up for grabs. Visit Bali and check out the jewellery which does full justice to one’s vanity and senses. After all, money doesn’t matter where one’s passion is concerned.


What Exactly is the Nature of Bali Silver?

Beautiful Bali

Silver is a precious metal mined from the Earth’s bowels and often used to make beautiful jewellery. Like gold, it has a distinct lustre though it is not as costly. The jewellery handcrafted from silver contains varying percentages of silver metal mixed with an alloy. Rarely do you find pure silver in a piece of jewellery? That is because pure silver while very precious and beautiful also happens to be brittle and hard to manipulate by the artisan. It cannot be moulded into intricate patterns. The silver needs to have some fillers added to it to make it more malleable and ductile for that to take place. Then it can be better moulded according to the heart’s desire. 

The Sophistication of Silver 

Among the world’s most intricate and beautiful jewellery is Bali silver jewellery. This contains less silver content than Thai silver jewellery, but it has more intricate patterns to it. Whereas Thai silver has a lot of silver content (95% to 98%), Bali silver contains 6% to 3% less silver content than Thai silver jewellery. It is indeed a paradox that whereas Thai silver is more precious, it is also more straightforward in its design due to the problematic nature of the medium. Bali silver is far more elaborate in its complexity. Also, it is stronger in its material strength. Yet there is another catch to Bali silver, and that is that it can become dark with time very quickly. This is a downside, but you forget about any such drawbacks when you notice this jewellery’s exquisite beauty. 

Style & Elegance

Whereas Thai silver is made into such patterns as plant leaves and snail shells, Bali silver is twisted and turned by the silversmiths into points, borders and various ornate designs. Bali silver is shaped and handcrafted in a very detailed manner. The artisans doing the delicate artistry have to be very careful lest a moment of blunder ruin hours of dedicated work. Bali silversmithing has been a steady industry since the past two and a half millennia. Bali has always been famous for its gold and silver products which the tribes reside there specialize in. 

A Method in the Making

Bali’s artisans concentrate on carving their silver jewellery with the same effort to celebrate a traditional or religious function. First, a series of tiny points (granulation is the name given to this process requiring patience) and thin wires are connected with a base. Very rudimentary instruments are used to accomplish this task. The silver bullets are melted with borax to purify them. Then come the moulds into which this molten silver is poured. These, in turn, are flattened and rolled with tools to get the right dimensions. A hand saw is used to slice the silver into different forms. Finally, imprints and beating tools are used to round the edges. A tamarind fruit with a sponge-like consistency is employed to burnish the silver to add some finishing touches. This process converts the silver into a darker shade of grey, further rubbed to lend some shine to the metal. The result is some of the most divine designs anyone could gaze upon with sheer delight and pleasure. 

The Lore Behind the Legend

There is a great deal of mythology and legendary folklore behind Bali silver making. Tales have been passed down the generations regarding how the Hindu gods descended upon this Earthly plane to instruct humanity in civilization’s jewellery-making arts. After the Islamic Conquest of Java, the Hindu population migrated to Bali where their silversmithing skills continue today.