These painstakingly handcrafted, fine silver earrings are beautiful, unique, eye catching and timeless. There are created — piece by piece — by Blanc de Noir & Co. artisans in Laos. (And so are these.)
Silverwork goes back centuries in Laos. Blanc de Noir preserves and celebrates this part of Laotian culture by making exquisite pieces using traditional techniques and motifs with a subtle modern hint. These motifs once were reserved for royal use during ceremonies and for special occasions.
The ball or drop at the end of each earring is a representation of the Dok Phikoun flower which is indigenous to Laos and is very special to the Lao Buddhists and its people. In the beginning of Lao history, the Dok Phikoun motif was used in jewelry pieces reserved only for the Lao royal family. The flower is believed to bring the wearer good luck, good health and protection.
These earrings represent a very strenuous, intense labor-of-love art form, where each unique piece is handcrafted, hand cut and handwoven by highly skilled artists. One piece of jewelry can take up to several weeks to make.
To create the Dok Phikoun flower, Blanc de Noir artisans hand run fine silver (see more about the silver below) through a flattening tool until it becomes a delicate fine silver wire. The wire is placed through a spindle to create the spiral to make the flower. This step takes precise skilled handwork. The spiral has to be uniformly cut by hand and adjoined with tiny silver beads at extreme high heat to create the centerpiece to the signature Dok Phikoun.
A single flower is created through this process, and many more is delicately made to be soldered to a base of thicker strands of silver woven together like fabric. Each piece has a story and is truly a timeless handcrafted tradition that the Blanc de Noir family is proud to preserve.
The complexity and intricacy to make this special handcrafted design has slowly made this art form fade from the Laos culture's existence. The Blanc de Noir artisan family strives to keep this ancient art form alive by teaching younger Lao artisans and families their history and handmade craft. Their Dok Phikoun jewelry is the same as ones worn in ancient traditional ceremonies, usually in gold or white silver.
ABOUT THE SILVER
Blanc de Noic & Co. mines its silver in Laos to maintain the purity of its roots and to also have that reflected in its pieces. To keep the purity of their silver high — 95 to 99.9 precent — they use less alloy metal when mixing it, compared to the standard 92.5 percent sterling silver which usually is mixed with 7.5 percent cooper.
ABOUT BLANC DE NOIR & CO.
Blanc de Noir & Co. is a family owned business that began with a handful of made-to-order pieces more than 40 years ago. That started out as a way to keep food on the table and help keep the family afloat during struggling times.
Just enough raw silver could be afforded each month to make a few pieces. When the pieces were made, then sold, the family would in turn buy more raw silver and repeat the process. And decades passed.
The Blanc de Noir family's passion grew to preserve a culture that was once almost lost. In ancient times, these pieces were worn by Lao royalty and very few silversmiths had the skillset to complete this task. With pride, the Blanc de Noir family has made its life's mission to keep this ancient art form alive, which proved difficult for the first several decades due to the high poverty in Laos and rollover effects of the Vietnam War.
Now, with more than four decades of experience in making its unique handmade pieces, the Blanc de Noir family strives to continue to grow and build its legacy, as it tries to teach its Lao youths and struggling rural families this ancient trade. And, quality is everything.
In turn, its legacy has not only breathed life into a once almost lost tradition, but it has taught families and Lao youth a lifelong skill and trade that they can pass on, while giving them the ability to take care of their own.
Blanc de Noir hopes are this art form will one day spread throughout the world to be enjoyed and worn by many. Every handcraft piece embodies the pinnacle of Lao history and handmade work.
Blanc de Noir's passion leads it to create historical pieces that you will wear with pride. There's always a story, a face and a family behind each handcrafted piece. The hopes are that its stories will spread from its jewelry throughout this world, as it continues to help Lao youths and struggling rural families.
A portion of the proceeds goes directly to the artist who made the piece.
Every Blanc de Noir handcrafted piece embodies the pinnacle of Lao history and handmade work.