Crafty destinations

Silver carving craft in Lao Xa

Lao Xa is the home of traditional silver carving of the Mong in Dong Van district, Ha Giang province. 
Silver jewelry made in Lao Xa is not only a luxury accessory for the Mong to wear on special occasions such as festivals, New Year holidays, and weddings, but also used as a symbol to bring luck, health protection, and happiness.

Silver carving is a traditional craft that plays a very important role in the cultural life of ethnic people in Dong Van plateau. Silver jewelry is a popular dowry item that Mong parents give when their children get married. For that reason, silver carving has been maintained and developed by the Mong.


The delicate Mong necklaces are made by Lao Xa craftsmen.

Lao Xa silver carving craftspeople.

The silver smelting stage.

The tools used to carve traditional patterns and motifs of the Mong.

The delicate carvings on a traditional Mong necklace.

To create a piece of silver jewelry, the Mong use many tools including bellows, molds, hammers, pliers, and chisels for the pattern.

67-year-old Mua Se Sinh has been carving silver for more than half a century.

High-quality silver-carving products created by Lao Xa craftsmen. 

In Dong Van, Lao Xa villagers have preserved a unique craft of silver carving and jewelry making. These people have created popular silver carving products for generations. Every time the local people want to order a piece of silver jewelry, they go straight to Lao Xa.

Silver carving has been preserved by generations in many families. With the desire of preserving their ancestors’ tradition, silver carving skills are only taught to children and grandchildren in the family. Mua Se Sinh is one of the last silver engravers in Lao Xa. The 67-year-old craftsman is the most well known silver carver with more than half of a century of carving. Mua Se Sinh said that he was taught by his grandparents and parents to learn how to carve silver at a very young age. To create a piece of silver jewelry, the Mong use many tools including bellows, molds, hammers, pliers, and chisels for the pattern. His family has to use raw silver without impurities to make high-quality products.

High-quality silver-carving products created in Lao Xa are made using a multi-stage process. From silver burning, casting, manipulating shapes on the anvil to patterning and polishing, silver carving requires craftsmen to be gifted, skillful, and meticulous. The silver craftsmen must also be persistent for many years to pursue a carving career and achieve the quintessence of silver craving skills.

Silver-carved jewelry made in Lao Xa has unique cultural characteristics. Silver jewelry here is not only delicate but also diverse in types and models, including rings, bracelets, and necklaces.

By Viet Cuong        Translated by Hong Hanh

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