:: Wholesale prices (to shops) are listed :: Retail prices (to individuals) are double ::
Don Purple is Indigenous Piercing Where? (aka Indigenous Piercing Wear),
which we help distribute and sometimes have pieces on consignment.
He travels extensively in Southeast Asia, focusing on Northern Thailand
Purple collects ethnic jewelry and has tribal and Thai craftspeople work on both his designs and reworkings of traditional designs. Each piece has been hand crafted for comfort, aestetics, and joyous use. The prices are very reasonable; most of the time these style of jewelry are sold as collector items or novelties, but as Purple says, these pieces are meant to be worn. The jewelry not only supports the traditional artisans, but helps to ensure that such crafts are continued actively today.
Here are some of Purple's words about one of the tribes that he works with who traditionally make the silver bent arrow design (also shown below): "The Hmong tribe (are) a migratory people whose quest for independence has led them from their origins in China to Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and most recently to the US. The Hmong place high value on silver-materially as a symbol of wealth and metaphysically it is believed to bind a person's soul together. Over the past centuries in China and Laos, oppressive threats and unstable political environments by thier "home" countries have driven the Hmong to vehemently defend their freedom. The Communist takeover of Laos in 1975, for which the Hmong fought against the Communsits, resulted in a forced migration of asylum seekers into Thai refugee camps and eventual resettlement in the US."
Here are his words about the Karen tribe, who wear jewelry such as the cup design (also shown below):
"Political oppression in Burma has driven many Karen to seek asylum in Thailand, where they now comprise the largest hilltribe group. Waist-to-knee tattoos among the men are a show of manhood and serve as a shild of protection against animal bites, illness and evil spirits. Women tattoo the backs of their hands to ensure manual dexterity in weaving and other handwork."
Erica's note: Now is a time of great cultural upheaval; with the importation of Western commodities, ideas, religions, morals, and economic ideals, tradional ways of life are being abandoned at an alarming rate. Supporting ancient ways means our childrens' children will inherit the wisdom that we have learned from our ancestors. I believe that abandoning ancient knowledge for a global, homogenized culture is a mistake. Our diversity is the key, not only for our survival as a species, but for our evolution. Indigenous Piercing Wear, in my mind, is aiding not only those tribes that make and wear the jewelry, but also contibutes to the enlightenment of people in our own country. The aim in not to represent a people only by the ornaments that they wear, but by using that interest and appreciation of an aesthetic that may strike a cord in you, as a launching off point to then edify your own and as many other minds as possible, so that we can better help each other.
The following pages contain pieces, new and old alike,
similar to those that Don Purple has collected on his journies within SE Asia:
Our newly acquired page as well as
the ethnic jewelry of SE Asia page both have ethnographic pieces listed.