Bali is known for its silver.
All Balinese silver products are handmade and some of the techniques are over 400 years old. In the olden days, silver was utilised for detailed ceremonial bowls and ornate boxes, but never jewellery.
This has changed in the last three decades when the demand for silver items developed together with tourism as people coming to the island searched for silver items, which they could bring back to their countries as gifts or decoration for the house.
Because of this strong tradition of crafting objects from silver, I felt it would be a sin not to check what is actually happening with Balinese jewellery. Supported by Nemanja’s camera lens, I knew that we would be able to take some nice photos of the silver scene in the place where most of silversmiths have aggregated – Celuk.
A trip to the source
I typed the name of the village in my smartphone, calm that Uncle Google will guide me through the thick roads of Bali.
When I arrived at the street that was supposed to be my destination, I realised that it was a road with wholesale jewellery shops left and right, all of them associated with their own silver factories.
I stopped to get my smartphone and figure out the place where I was supposed to meet Nemanja and his girlfriend, Jelena, and as soon as I came to a halt, an older Balinese man pulled over next to me.
He smiled a toothless smile and in immaculate English asked me if I was looking for beautiful silver jewellery. Sure, I was, and his smile got even wider when he said that he could take me to a shop that produced the best jewellery around!
I was already late to meet Nemanja but I figured, Why not? Never say “No” to an adventure as you don’t know what can be waiting for you. So, I said, Yes!, and we moved down the street to a big, ornate building where his shop was.
Chest of treasure
Inside, it really looked like a treasure trove.
Intricate designs of various kinds of jewellery shined from every corner and the array of unbelievable items for everyday use was a simple surprise. Everything beautifully displayed for buyers’ admiration with well-trained staff ready to help.
I could spend there a fortune and I know I will. I’m just waiting for my friends to come to Bali because the prices vary significantly if you buy in bulk. And the differences can be quite serious. For example, a pair of earrings can drop from $55 down to $15! In order to get the lower price, there’s a minimum spent of circa $370.
Considering how many amazing pieces I’ve seen there, spending this money is going to be easy. It’s well worth waiting to share the fun with people I love!
“Strange” is a flexible matter
Looking like a modern arts theatre, the place turned out to be yet another jewellery shop. What differentiated it from the other shops, was the most peculiar jewellery on display, obviously intended for eccentric, rich people. This shop is completely otherworldly, especially that it is Bali that we’re still talking about.
He didn’t manage to take more than a couple of pictures before a security man appeared in front of him, saying that taking photos was not allowed.
Encouraged by the beauty that we have seen that day, I looked into another fertile source of jewellery-making in Bali – the expats! There is a vibrant accessories production trend happening on the island and the foreigners are at its forefront. This is what the next jewellery blog post will be about. Stay tuned!