The lantern festival girls pass in a graceful glitter of laughter and jewellery. Searching the multitudinous crowd, suddenly looking back he finds her waiting in the waning light.
Silver wares evolved over thousands of years amongst the Qiang, Miao and Tibetan minority peoples in southwest China – see our Stories. The designs are inspired by the natural environment, mountains, rivers, trees and wildlife.
The mountainous area, still remote today, was historically connected to the outside world only by the “Tea horse road” a network of narrow paths winding through the mountains of Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou in Southwest China, barely wide enough for a horse in many places. The silver is mined in the LongMen “Dragon Gate” mountain range in Mao county in Ngawa Tibetan/Qiang autonomous prefecture in northwest Sichuan, which was also the centre of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
Traditional Craftspeople use Fine 99.9% pure silver both for its softness and the cultural value of pure silver. By contrast Sterling silver is defined as only 92.5% purity.
Pure Silver is traditionally valued for medical purposes, both to prevent disease, and to purify boiling water. This isn’t just superstition: Silver has been proven in modern times to be anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal and is now used by NASA in space as well as water treatment systems on earth.