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Jewelry scene in Hanoi, Viet Nam

Hello Folks First a sincere thank you for all the help,
assistance, and enjoyable reading from all of you!!! Now the
question, I’m hea ding over to Hanoi for a few months starting in
December 2001 and was int erested in any pointers, tips, and insights
into connecting with the loca l jewelry making scene in Hanoi or the
surrounding countryside. I’m a st udio jeweler and have experience
working and traveling in remote locals a nd primitive techniques. In
a guidebook, I found a street in old town-- Pho Hang Bac-- street of
the silvermakers and on it is a cheap hotel that will fit my budget
(miniscule). I know we had one poster that used to l ive in Saigon.
Anyone know of any good villages, materials, unusual tec hniques or
interesting styles??? Any help will be greatly appreciated…

Mark Kaplan
132 Benefit Street
Providence, Rhode Island

Dear Mark,

I am the one who used to live in Saigon but I don’t know what is
available in Hanoi. However one thing you must remember is if you
value your own style do not take them with you or show them while
you are there. Unless you want to see the world bombarded with
thousands of them in a few weeks time. Original studio jewelry was
not anywhere to be seen in the south and copies of all the famous
designers were available everywhere and any picture you took in is
copied in a few days at a fraction of the cost. I was probably the
only foreigner who didn’t take advantage of this and that is
probably because of knowing the other side of things.

But good luck with seeing primitive methods and poor working
conditions, lots of them to see. The gold shop owners are very very
rich but their jewelers who do the work are some of the poorest paid

Sharron in Bahrain until next Summer only!

Hi Mark, Lucky you! We had a fascinating stay in Hanoi a couple of
years ago. We found the people friendly and helpful. Most do not
speak English, German is a useful language as many people in
Government and aid organisations were educated in East Germany in the
60’s and 70’s. Food is good and cheap, but be aware of "tummy bugs’.
Accommodation in the ‘old quarter’ is fantastic, cheap, and fun to be
right amongst the ‘action’. We stayed in the Star Hotel, 26 Bat Su,
on the top floor, 89 steps up, with a fabulous view over the
surrounding streets. The most recent issue of Lonely Planet about
Vietnam is invaluable. We have some interesting contacts if you mail
us off list. Cheers from ‘down-under’, Jenny Gore, South Australia.