has prompted goldsmiths in Yangon to gradually begin using
advanced techniques that allow them to create lighter and
more exotic jewellery.
"Yangon-based goldsmiths have started making light and
modern gold accessories based on customers' tastes," said Ko
Tin Aung Moe, a proprietor or the Thitsar Shin goldsmith
workshop in Sanchaung township.
Goldsmiths who once relied on handcrafted workmanship have
begun using casting and moulding machines because they
reduce the workload and improve quality.
The technology can be used to make small, fancy designs as
well as traditional heavy accessories.
Sophisticated testing equipment imported from Singapore can
also be used to determine the purity of gold more accurately
than ever before.
Pure 24-carat gold is too sort to use for gold accessories,
50 it must be alloyed with copper and silver of the finest
quality to increase durability .
The ratio and colour of copper and silver vary according to
the taste of the customers and the goldsmiths.
Copper is used to harden the gold and enhance its colour,
while silver is used to make it more pliable and malleable.
The mixing process involves combining the different metals
and heating them rapidly for 15 minutes.
A 21-carat mix of gold and silver is normally used with
jewellery in which precious stones are set.
"Thc demand for lighter gold accessories has soared because
artisans are now able to use modern equipment to make
smaller, more exotic designs," said Dr Aung Kyaw Win, the
proprietor of the Golden Palace Goldsmith and Jewellery
Centre in Latha township.
Despite this rise in demand, traditional handmade products
remain less expensive than exotic designs made with updated
"I am certain that exotic designs have come to be preferred,
over traditional designs due to the forces of globalisation,
" Dr Aung K yaw Win said.
"Any goldsmith can be successful and get a good reputation
if he is industrious, trustworthy and honesr;y, and can
create fashionable and modern designs," said Ko Maung Maung
Lay, a goldsmith from Shwe Bon Net Than Goldsmith and
Jewellery shop in Tarmwe township.
He said the quality of the gold, the workmanship and the
design are critically important in making gold jewellery.
Although machine-made gold accessories are popular in
Yangon, many people who live upcountry still favour solid,
heavy gold jewellery made by hand.
"I don't think traditional, handmade gold jewellery will
disappear anytime soon because it is difficult to put rubies
and sapphires of different sizes into accessories that have
been made with a standard mould," said Ko Maung Maung Lay.