Posted by byHillTribe on July 10, 2012

Longan harvest season begins at Na Sai Karen Hill Tribe Village

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It’s been a while since our last visit to Na Sai Village, a Thai hill tribe village predominantly made up of the Karen tribe, the same Karen hill tribe village that at one time busily crafted each individual silver jewelry components we’ve all come to know as “Hill Tribe Silver”. Our visit today is not about silver but more about what’s coming up in a couple of weeks– harvest time for the Logan ลำไย plantation การเก็บเกี่ยวลำไย.

This is suppose to be the mother-load harvest of the last decade for some families, including a large Karen family we’ve known for many years. Everyone’s excited, including us! That’s awkward considering we’re now receiving more orders to manufacture silver beads than we have in the previous 6 months. In actual reality, we should be very excited to get back to hammering and string out silver beads and jewelry but this year is much different. Our Karen families have been waiting for this year for a very long time. Like any other plantations, the biggest harvest season doesn’t come every year and even if it did, the price for the fruit doesn’t always make it profitable. This year is different. Not only did the Longan tree yield more fruit, the price is also at the highest per Kilogram than any previous year. The Eakarak, Karen family is expecting to realize profit of nearly 1 Million Baht for this year’s Longan Harvest season. Manufacturing silver beads will have to put on the side burner for a couple of weeks… we can understand why and certainly hope our customers will too.

Longan fruit nearly ready for harvest.

Our Karen artisans are the hardest working people we know. Often it seems that’s about all they are focused on– work. family. future. profit. survival. Don’t get us wrong; just as in any society, there are always some rotten or over ripe people that bring a bad name to their people. There is still much needed education in the village as euphoria of ignorance still remain, pushing many adolescents to drugs and prostitution. Fortunately this is rare enough that it doesn’t concern us any more. None the less, the world seems to rotate differently in Na Sai Village and we’re only an hour away from the big city of Lamphun.

“Out here time move slower, thunder is louder, stars are brighter, skies are clearer and 1 Baht can actually buy something,” Mr. Sak reminded us. On this particular day, we are envious of such wonderful atmosphere. Then we asked, how long will it take to harvest the Longan– “about 1 month,” he continued. “It takes a group of 4 all day to harvest all the fruit from 1 Longan tree,” he adds, “it may take us longer than a month this year considering the volume…” Counting only what our Karen families have in total, there are 880 Longan tree ready for harvesting. WOW. There looking for help so we may just be headed back up here with our own team to help our friends. Anybody interested– they’ll pay a labor fee of 3 baht per Kilogram! Maybe more if you’re a foreigner. LOL.

That said, we have to strategize our inventory and manufacturing procedure. Being that this too is our peak months of the year, we have to carefully plan how our artisans can benefit from both worlds– their Longan and also their skillful hands as silversmiths. Going head on and hammering out each order as normal is out of the question. Good thing the Karens produced more women than they do men. As it so happens, the Karen hill tribe women are just as useful, often more resourceful than their men. No offense but this part is true at least for the village of Na Sai, Prabhathuaythom, Lamphun, Thailand. So in conclusion, from the next 45 days, we will be relying on the Karen women of Na Sai to produce our silver– for the most part. We look forward to seeing the results and instead of thinking of this as a setbacks, we will look at this as an opportunity to see the difference in outcome of quality as well as reliability. We’ve work with these Karen families from Na Sai for many years– they are part of our extended family. That is we eat, play, giggle, laugh and cry together when the time come. Today we’re excited and when the Longan season is done and every fruit is cashed in, we will be joyfully laughing, celebrating and looking forward to a brighter future than before.

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Posted by byHillTribe on July 10, 2012

How hill tribe silver is used to make beautiful personal jewelry

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Handmade Jewelry: New Thai Hill Tribe silver pendant necklaces!.

It’s wonderful seeing some of our beautiful Karen hill tribe silver used in designs around the globe. This particular blog contains jewelry made by a loyal customer from Sacred Earth Jewelry. We want to give her support for her good work– Thank you so much for your support. We want to leave her name out as she is not aware we are blogging about her work. Please feel free to see some of her design and give her some support by clicking on the title link above or here: Handmade Jewelry: New Thai Hill Tribe silver

Seeing our customer’s creative handy work make us want to do more. We know the market is down right now and this is true not only for us but also for all of our customers. We know because you are ordering much, much less than before. Sales are down for everyone but this is no excuse for us to stop thinking of how we can continue to help you, our customers and the backbone of our business, the hill tribe artisans. We’ve worked with the Karen hill tribe at Na Sai village for nearly 10 years and just recently went on a trip to show our support and check in since it has been nearly a year since our last visit. What we saw reaffirms our notion that many silversmiths have now moved on to concentrate on their farms and plantations. The younger adults, particularly men have moved into bigger cities to find jobs to earn income for their family. During the big silver rush, many Karens were deceived by the constant workload that came about and sold property and plantations. These families are now struggling to get by as silversmithing is now a small portion of the income flow at Na Sai Karen Hill Tribe Village. It is a sad story we too did not expect to write about. More on this very soon as this blog is dedicated to Sacred Earth Jewelry and we want to keep like so.

Thank you for all your support Sacred Earth. We wish you all the best with your inspiring jewelry designs and hope to continue being your hill tribe silver supplier for many year to come. God bless!

Sacred Earth Jewelry utilizes gemstones and hill tribe silver

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