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 PUSH IS ON TO PRODUCE LIGHTER JEWELLERY


 
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CUSTOMER demand 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 technology.

"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.

 

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Prepared by DPS. Last Modified: 23 May, 2008 (slm)

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