The Shakya family has been creating beautiful jewelry throughout Nepal and Tibet for generations. It is their family heritage. For generations fathers in the Shakya lineage taught their sons traditional jewelry making skills and travelled through out the region making their legendary pieces to provide good incomes for their families.
When China invaded Tibet in 1959 this age old tradition was threatened and Tej Shakya’s father recognized that their traditional skills and livelihood were endangered. In the 70’s he took it upon himself to train one of his sons, Tej, in business as well as in jewelry making. In 1977 his sons then ventured into their own business and opened their own shop in Kathmandu, hoping to appeal to the tourist trade. At this time, they produced all the jewelry themselves but as their business grew, they invited other Buddhist Newari families to work with them. After 37 years 14 families now have a consistent income as a result of their courage to change. The sons have pooled their resources and worked together and after years of hard work their business is quite successful. Tirtha, the youngest of the sons, still does most of the design and finish work and setting of stones but he trains others in design interpretation and production techniques.
Like many artisans the Shakya family has been concerned that the younger generation will leave their traditional trade. Fortunately, as the average wage for skilled jewelers is now higher than that of many other jobs, young educated Newaris are beginning to return to jewelry making. Now Tej’s son, Shrawan, has taken over the business from his father and with that the Shakya family is confident that their traditional skills will be passed on to the next generation.
Ganesh Himal has always had the goal of preserving traditional art forms and has worked with Tej and his family since 1984 to help keep their skills alive. As silver prices have risen and their traditional work became too expensive for the fair trade market we have worked with them to move into lower priced metals. With that move we are able to keep the work alive and the prices low to our customers. As a result we are thrilled to be working with his Tej’s son Shrawan and to be keeping these 14 families of traditional jewelers working to provide you with an amazing assortment of beautiful silver, brass and white metal earrings and pendants! Please see our brass and white metal jewelry sections for their goods!