What's the Difference Between Bali Silver, Thai Silver, Tibetan Silver

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A lot of jewellery designs from the past and present use ornate Silver beads.  Do you know the difference between the types of silver beads on offer, and could you be buying a cheap alloy instead of real silver? To find what to look out for read on.

Sterling Silver beads of Bali origin are quite ornate and made by hand. They are very distinctive and add a nice touch to many jewellery designs. Bali beads usually have an intricate raised design with scrolls, dots and filigree work. The finished bead is usually oxidized to produce an antique style effect, and then polished.

Real Silver, when bought from the original producer or a bulk importer, is sold by weight; and the price can fluctuate daily according to the trade value of silver on any given day. When buying from a European or American re-seller supplier, Silver beads can be either purchased by weight on by the piece. The price you pay will depend upon the price your supplier obtained their supplies at. Depending on the market fluctuations, and the amount of Silver beads you use, you may wish to consider buying in Silver beads in bulk if you find a good price and a design you are likely to use again and again.

Thai Silver may also be referred to as Thai Hill Silver or Karen Hill Tribes Silver. For the newcomer the varying ways to describe different types of silver can be very confusing, so becoming educated about the varying ways that different silver brands are described can be empowering. Thai Silver made in northern Thailand by the hill tribes is made by traditional methods passed down the generations.  In some ways Thai silver is similar to that from Bali, however the main difference is that Hill Tribes silver is usually 95%to  98% pure and therefore its colour is slightly lighter that that of Bali Silver or general sterling Silver.

As the Thai silver is more pure in quality and will have less of a mix of metals, the silver is softer and therefore the designs found on Thai Silver are simpler that those of Bali Silver beads. Karen Hill Tribes Silver is often found in more natural organic shapes such as leaves, fish, shells and dragonflies. Thai silver is also not so heavily oxidized as its Bali counterpart.

Tibetan Silver was originally from a region of Chain famed for its old style traditions, heritage and craft work. Today however, with the explosion of trade around the world, and the increasing demand for cheap goods, there have been a lot of products marketed as Tibetan Silver which contain no Silver at all or very small quantities mixed with metal alloys. Frequently these types of products can be found on the internet auctions sites and should be avoided.

As Silver will tarnish over time,  once you have invested in silver beads or made your silver jewellery, it is a good idea to keep your  jewellery in an air tight container or invest in a anti tarnish jewellery case.


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