About Niki Passenier’s Hill Tribe Silver Collection:
Niki Passenier has been in the jewelry and bead business for nearly two decades, and from the start she exclusively dealt in jewelry and fine silver beads she designs herself and which are skillfully handcrafted by the artisans of the Karen Hill Tribe in Thailand, where she lives with her family. The same tribal artisans she started with almost two decades ago are still working for her today. About her long-standing relationship with the tribal artisans Niki shared the following:
“Together we have come a long way, as I have been working with the same Hill Tribe families since the start of my business in the mid-nineties. My close collaboration with the tribal artisans has always been based on principles of fair trade, long before it became a fashionable buzz word in today’s global market. In my business dealings, as in life, I have always believed in treating people the way I would like to be treated, with fairness, honesty and respect. The fact that the same people still work for me since the early days of my business is a testimony to this.”
“For centuries, the Karen tribe has practiced the ancient craft of silver jewelry making. In recent decades, the existence of the Karen tribe has been severely threatened by the ruthless Burmese military dictatorship. In order to survive, many fled from the violent conflict to remote villages in Northern Thailand, where they continued to practice their ancient skills. The Karen people are very grateful for your appreciation of their art, as it contributes to the preservation of their unique traditional skills and livelihood.”
Niki Passenier’s collection is an eclectic but harmonious assortment of contemporary and traditional designs made from ‘fine silver’, which is the trade term for 99.9% pure silver. Fine silver has the unique quality of not tarnishing like sterling silver and lower grade silver alloys do (sterling silver is an alloy containing only 92.5%), and is therefore the first choice for high-end jewelry designers. Over the years Niki has introduced many, if not most, new contemporary designs in the Thai hill tribe silver as initially they only made their traditional tribal designs for her.