It would be a shame to travel to Bangkok, Thailand and not visit one of its most magnificent Buddhist temples, the 13th century Golden Buddha Temple. Thailand is also home to featured jewelry designer Chalermkwan Veerasilp.
Thailand is not only one of the premier locations to find masterfully skilled silversmiths but the country is also one of the world’s leading exporters of precious gemstones with the province of Kanchanaburi holding large amounts of blue sapphires.
Consequently, the region is also renowned for superlative gem cutters and according to the Thai Gem Jewelry Exchange Commission in 2009 the country exported $9.4 billion worth of jewelry and gemstones to the United States of America, Japan, Israel and Belgium.
In the midst of these strides there is a bit of controversy and debate brewing in the Thai jewelry industry, as well as the jewelry industry in general, regarding designers’ use of Computer Aided Design (CAD) software.
With the pressure to maintain its position as one of the world’s leading jewelry exporters, many Thai jewelry artisans are faced with implementing CAD in order to produce their designer jewelry quicker.
However, many Thai artisans like Veerasilp prefer to work by hand as it makes the pieces more personal and not as structured thus allowing for distinctive jewelry.
Working with .950 and sterling silver charms and beads fashioned by Thailand’s Karen hill tribe artisans, Veerasilp beautifully highlights traditional floral motifs, concentric circles and spirals in silver hoop earrings, silver pendants and cuff bracelets.
She explores a varied range of designs combining symbolic, fish-shaped sterling silver charms with black and brown leather cords to create informal charm bracelets in one instance; and in another instance an incredible spiraling sterling silver ring that is reminiscent of orbitals.
The former interior designer’s style is built upon delicate simplicity blended with small, intricate minutiae. “I worked as an interior designer for five years in Bangkok. When I received my degree fifteen years ago from the Bangkok Rangsit University, I had also studied techniques applicable to every line of art,” she says.
“I had grown bored with interior design and I decided to design jewelry after working part-time with a jewelry dealer. When I started to design jewelry on my own, I wanted to have an open field of creativity; I wanted to explore my own ideas.
I buy gemstones from markets and itinerant dealers from various countries. My goal is to enhance the materials with my design skills. I draw the shapes on paper and string the materials by hand to create unusual and beautiful items. I love my work and really give it my best. My motto is 'do the best for today.'”
Photo 1 (top right): .950 Silver Concave Bubbles Cuff Bracelet
Photo 2 (center): .950 Silver Hill Tribe Riddle Cocktail Ring
Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Hill Tribe Sun Pendant Necklace with Tourmaline