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Hill Tribe Silver Jewelry Project Ideas and Photos

I love the look and heft of Hill Tribe silver and use it in a lot of jewelry projects.  Made by the Karen Hill Tribe in Thailand, these handcrafted silver pendants, charms and beads make truly beautiful rustic necklaces, anklets bracelets and earrings.  I thought other jewelry makers might be interested in seeing some pictures of artisan jewelry I made with Thai Hill Tribe components.  Perhaps these photos will stimulate project ideas and get your creative juices flowing as you decide how to use Thai Hill Tribe silver pendants, charms and beads in artisan jewelry projects.

Hill Tribe Silver Leaf Necklace With Sleeping Beauty Turquoise
This wire-wrapped necklace, earrings and bracelet set with faceted rectangular Sleeping Beauty turquoise beads was sold as a set.  You can see the Hill Tribe leaf pendant and leaf charms in the necklace and earrings...but did you realize the wrapped tube beads in the bracelet were also Hill Tribe silver?  I was so proud of this set, not only because of the beautiful components, but because I made all the findings myself out of 20 gauge sterling silver jewelry wire - from the earwires to the hook and eye clasp.  I can't recall if I made the headpins myself, but I'll bet I did!  If I had decided to make another set like this, I couldn't - it was a truly one-of-a-kind set, because each Hill Tribe silver pendant, charm and bead is different.

Wire-Wrapped Hill Tribe Silver Rose Pendant Necklace With Pearls
This blue green freshwater pearl necklace I wire-wrapped with fine gauge jewelry wire - probably 24 gauge sterling silver wire.  The pearls are gorgeous, but the centerpiece is the masterpiece - a Hill Tribe silver rose pendant on a bail I handcrafted myself, flanked by two Thai Hill Tribe beads.  This is a rustic yet very feminine necklace design. It's slightly more delicate than most of my other wire-wrapped jewelry because of the finenness of the sterling silver wire, which is necessary to use because of the tiny pearl drillholes.

Thai Hill Tribe Leaf Pendant Necklace With Leopardskin Jasper
This is another of my favorites.  The necklace has three flat leaf charms by the Thai Karen Hill Tribe serving as pendants.  They're medium size, not small - which might put those beautiful 20mm pillow rectangle leopardskin jasper beads in perspective!

I strung Bali sterling silver tube beads to space out the central pendant area, and turquoise rectangle tube beads along the strand for contrast.  In this design, the simplicity of the silver leaf charms contrasts the complex, colorful matrix of the jasper and turquoise, while never departing from the organic look.  The necklace was strung on soft but strong 49-strand beading wire.

Men's Hill Tribe Silver and Black Onyx Necklace
This is a men's black onyx and faceted Hill Tribe silver bead necklace.  The contrast with the shiny silver beads and the glossy black onyx beads makes it look very dramatic.  I love these faceted Hill Tribe beads and bought a bunch of them when they were available.  Unfortunately, except for some of the more common spacer beads, you have to get Hill Tribe beads when you find someone selling them, because you don't know if you'll ever find them again.  So when I used up my stock, that was it.


Hill Tribe Silver Charms and Beads Anklet With Garnet
This is a cute red garnet coin anklet with a rather exotic goth or emo look.  The Hill Tribe silver beds and charms include a Thai silver fish, a geometrical spiral charm, and two sunflower charms.  Irregular shaped beads go well with a lot of Thai silver jewelry designs - they seem to emphasize the organic uniqueness of the components.  Organic, because every Hill Tribe silver piece is handcrafted and different in subtle ways from each other, even when they're made using a mold.  (See Hill Tribe Silver Pendants for more information on how these pieces are made.)


Hill Tribe Silver Charm Bracelet With Carnelian
Here is a Hill Tribe silver charm bracelet made with red carnelian square beads and folded Hill Tribe cube beads. Each bead is mounted on a head pin and attached to the sterling silver curb chain.  Note that its length is adjustable - you just fasten the lobster claw clasp on any link in the chain. I imagine this could work as an anklet or necklace, as well.

If you ever get a chance to pick up Hill Tribe folded beads - I've seen them in bicone, cube, and rectangle shape - go for it - they're really unusual and lovely.  The only problem is, their hole size varies a lot, since it's formed by the merging of the folds.  So you'll either need smaller spacer beads to flank them to disguise any gaps, larger beading wire, or to wire wrap them as I like to do.

These are just some of the projects I made with Hill Tribe sterling silver pendants, beads and charms.  I really loved working with them and have just a few pieces stashed away for future jewelry designs.  I hope you like them and are inspired to try your own rustic necklaces, bracelets, anklets and earrings with Thai Hill Tribe components.



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