Goldsmith(Shwe Ba-Dain):Mostly Ethnic Rakhine people make it for their living in Yangon

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Goldsmith(Shwe Ba-Dain) is one of the ten Myanmar Traditional Arts and Crafts.It’s well-known as Pan Sel Myo(Ten Kinds of Flowers) in Myanmar culture.

 The ten kinds of flowers are:

(1) The art of making items in gold or silver,goldsmith(Shwe Ba-Dain) or silversmith(Ngwe Ba-Dain)

(2) The craft of  blacksmithing(Pa-Be)

(3) The art of making items casts or wrought from bronze,copper or brass(Pan-Te)

(4) The art of painting(Pa-Gyi)

(5) The art of carving woods or ivory(Pa-Bu)

(6) The art of stone sculpture(Pan-tamot)

(7) The art of making decorative work in relief with stucco(Pan-Taut)

(8) The craft of of turnery(Pa-Pwut)

(9) The art of making lacquerware(Pan-Ywun)

(10) The craft of a mason (Pa-Yan)

Ba-Dain is indeed something that Myanmar could be proud as this kind of art has been existed in Myanmar for the past one thousand and two hundred years.

Goldsmith and Rakhine

Now mostly ethnic Rakhine make goldsmith and gold enterprise for their living  in Yangon except some white-collar workers and government servants.They have been making the enterprise for decades.They may be 7 out of 10 in goldsmiths, and the rest are Mon and Burman.Most of Rakhine who had to drop out  in rural areas migrated aiming at a better life in Yangon.Among the jobs to choose without higher educational level,Ba-Dain is the best one for them because gold pieces they can earn for crafting is more valuable than Myanmar currency(MMK),which is ever declining in value.Gold is international and the price of it is stable while MMK is floating every year. Most of middle class in Myanmar buy as an investment. Moreover, a goldsmith can earn a moderate amount of income within 2 to 3 years depending on their hardworking.

How to be a skilful goldsmith

Firstly,to have remarkable level of craftsmanship and knowledge, a master goldsmith is trained in numerous types of basic metalworking, including the sawing, cutting, forging, melting, casting, beating, soldering, filing, engraving, embossing, enameling and polishing of precious metals and gemstones. An apprentice had to study the craft up to 2 or 3 years under a master goldsmith to be a master craftsman.

More income than that of government servents and staffs

Now there are more than 100 successful Rakhine master goldsmiths(owner of goldsmith studio) in Yangon.Among the masters,some have nearly 100 goldsmiths in his studio including rubber mold makers,polishing and diamond fitting technicians and so on.Now female technicians are more and more than before.There are two types of payments for goldsmiths.Some  are paid by salary per month and some are paid by workdone of items.A diamond fitting technician can earn 4 lakhs to 6 lakhs MMK plus commission per pieces of items.A skilful goldsmith can earn at least 2 lakhs MMK per month.

Daily routines for the owner of a goldsmith studio

The daily routines of a master goldsmith are; managing of the studio such as receiving orders from jewellery dealers,placing the orders with goldsmiths according to their skills respectively,receiving the items of  jewellery which have been already finished by the goldsmiths,and calculating the amount of prices of items and closing the orders of the dealers.

U Zaw Thein Lwin ,Master goldsmith, checking  mold designs in his studio in Yangon

Future of goldsmiths

Now Myanmar goldsmith  enterprises replace modernized designs and techniques to compete with foreign made jewellery rather than manual works.Accordingly, production systems are also changing day by day.Actually,goldsmith is the art and culture of Myanmar and mostly ethnic Rakhine make it for their living in Yangon.In accordance with the development of the country,the people of Myanmar will be able to buy jewellery,and the life of goldsmiths will grow in the near future.

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