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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international mushroom consultants. MEMOIRS about husband Pieter Vedder, who was a SCIENTIFIC PIONEER in Mushroom Cultivation Education. His practical handbook is in 9 languages and is called the MUSHROOM BIBLE: https://mariettesbacktobasics.blogspot.com/2020/08/modern-mushroom-growing-2020-harvesting.html

Friday, April 12, 2013

{Have YOU Ever Seen the Making of Silver in Kotagede, Indonesia?}

Just would like to ask if any of you ever have seen the making of silver in Kotagede, Indonesia?
Our travels as international consultants did give us many opportunities for getting to see unusual things. Living and working in Indonesia, we already did purchase several hand made silver items in the past but we actually never had observed in great detail how this was coming about. Usually a team of about six men, in the 'Silver City' of Kotagede near Yogyakarta on the island of Java, Indonesia would work at our favorite SS silver shop. We had ordered a coffee set on a tray and that took those six men about six weeks to make. That was in 1992...
Many techniques of making silver have remained unchanged for centuries. You can click on the hyperlink for info. Such as is evident here where a worker starts out on a mount of tar and using a long nail... This looks rather rough for creating such beautiful pieces in the end!
This is the work shop where our items came about. Look how they have to squat down or sit without any back support. People in the USA, Canada, Europe or Australia don't realize how lucky they are for having work conditions in a much more favorable environment. These men were farmers that worked in the rice fields in the morning and in the afternoon they worked as silversmiths. The younger generation is not following in their footsteps and as you can read below this post in a publication from The Jakarta Post, December 11, 2009, it is a tarnished future of Kotagede silver; mainly due to the economy.
We treasure  those pieces that we obtained while we were working and living there. Not just hastily bought tourist souvenirs but carefully selected designs that we had made as we had time for them to create it.
Lots of friends were thinking that silver was dirt cheap over there but one must realize that precious metals like gold and silver are directly linked to the US Dollar and therefore have a world market value. What was cheap for our standards is the labor done by those six men. If that would have to be calculated at our hourly wages, no one person could afford any piece of jewelry or other item!
This is the man that sat squatted down, on the left... all the silver that is being spilled, they do catch and it is being reused of course as it is too precious. That is me standing beside him while husband Pieter took this photo. Our best friends John & Becky from Dublin, Georgia have been with us to this very silver shop and work place in June of 2001. That was our last consulting work period. Just prior to 9/11.
Each person has a different task...
Guess that my dear friend Johanna Gehrlein and author from the book  Rosen-Bestecke  (Rose Flatware) would far better be able to explain their detailed work...

Related links:
{Splendid book about Silver Rose Flatware} | previous blog post with mention of author Johanna Gehrlein from Silber-und-Rosen-Shop
The tarnished future of Kotagede silver | The Jakarta Post, December 11, 2009


  1. i cannot imagine how hard these people work for very little reward. you are right, we in the US take so much for granted - and then whine about it, too.

  2. Goodness! That looks like hard work! Makes my 'office job' seem like a piece of cake!
    Hope you are enjoying some lovely weather Mariette and wishing you a most wonderful weekend!
    xo Catherine

  3. Dear Mariette
    These poor souls have such a hard life compared to in our parts of the world as you mentioned.
    Sadly their economies are quite different and the country has been effected by people at the top. I won't say too much.....
    Hope you're both well and things are good with you.
    Shane ♥

  4. Dearest Mariette,
    a very interesting post! It is really such a hard work they have to do...
    Have a happy weekend,
    Love and hugs

  5. Liebe Mariette,

    von meinem Besuch bei dir,
    bleiben liebe Grüße hier.

    In Liebe

  6. Dear Mariette,
    Bless these hardworking people. Interesting how they make the silver in such primitive conditions. It was good that you gave them work.

    Hope your weekend is lovely xoxo

  7. Hello Mariette, There are a number of silver workshops in Taipei, although they look more like what you would expect in America--not quite like this, but still rather Old World, with lots of hammers and punches, etc. It is amazing the amount of craftsmanship that can be achieved with simple or primitive tools.
    --Road to Parnassus

  8. Dear Mariette,
    thank you so much for this very interesting posting. In fact silversmith all over the world work inh the same manner. In Germany silversmiths also use a tar like substance to hold the silver sheet before they start their work. And for shure they also collect every silver dust and litter because it makes at the end of a day a considerable amount of meltable precious metal. I really enjoy to see this Indonesian silversmiths at work. So plain as their workshop looks so amazing are the skills of those men. So nice that you have your precious silver tablets from Indonesia with this knowledge how they emerged. Thank you so much for sharing from your adventurous live and for mention my book.
    Hugs and greetings, Johanna

  9. Just like with food, most people don't consider where things come from or what it took to get to where it is for purchase. These guys certainly have to work so very hard for so little pay. The benefit of course is for the consumer. I do love the look of silver much more than gold. Wishing you a wonderful day. Tammy

  10. Good Morning Mariette, Yes I have heard of Indonesian silver, but I have never seen it made, but I do know the jewellery they make is quite beautiful.
    The images you showed us reminded me of workers in India.
    I am always humbled when I return from India, I look at my life and it reminds me how lucky I am.
    Have a lovely weekend Mariette.
    Best Wishes

  11. Dearest Mariette,
    Wow, neither have I heard about silver in Indonesia nor seen these silversmith; we sure owe to these hard working people for precious silverware. I don't have any silverware but might be worth to have one. Hope the economy there is getting better.

    Sending you lots of love and hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

  12. Dearest Mariette,
    I thinking the silver M kotage de Indonesia these men were fameris worked in the rice fields very much like to in Japan too.
    Your pieter took nice photo and friends them silver shop and work place in june of 2001.
    Hugs and love to you always!

  13. Liebe Maritte,
    ich habe auf Java und auch auf Bali bei der Herstellung von Silberschmuc
    zugeschaut. Ih war erschüttert, unter welchen Umständen die Menschen hier
    arbeiten mussten.
    Liebe Abendgrüße schickt

  14. What incredibly skilled professionals. You may have a nice weekend.


  15. Dear Mariette,
    I love silver and I just can't imagine working in conditions like this. They do what they need to for survial, but that doesn't make it right. Makes one look at silver a bit differently.
    These workers are honorable.
    Have a nice weekend.
    XO CM

  16. Lieve Mariette,

    Tijdens onze rondreis(1997)bezochten we ook een werkplaats in Yogyakarta waar zilversmeden de mooiste voorwerpen maakten,wij stonden er met onze neus boven op en heb hun handenarbeid met veel interesse gade geslagen.
    Later kwamen wij met het reisgezelschap in grote winkel terecht waar het een en al bling,bling was....deed bijna pijn aan mijn ogen,toch was ik erg blij om daar als toerist een mooi sieraad voor mijn schoonmoeder te kunnen kopen.
    Ik had wel door dat het absoluut niet mogelijk kon zijn dat al die mooie sieraden en zilveren gebruiktvoorwerpen die daar verkocht werden in die kleine werkplaats gemaakt konden zijn.
    Maar de verkoper was blij met mijn aankoop,zo ook mijn schoonmoeder met het geschenk.

    En dan die gehurkte zithouding of lotushouding......naar mijn mening is dat een ontspannen houding voor veel Aziaten.
    Denk zelfs dat het een betere houding is om je rug te ontlasten dan de westerse zit houding onderuit gezakt in een luie stoel.
    Onze Thaise schoondochter kan ook uren zo in hurk of lotus houding zitten.
    Wij brachten ook een bezoek bij Nederlandse dame die op Java een kleinschalig lederen damestassen atelier runde met Javanen als personeel,zij vond het maar niks dat haar mensen in die hurkhouding zaten te werken en liet haar vriendin(ergotherapeut) uit Nederland overkomen om stoelen voor hen te maken op maat,en wat was het resultaat:de stoelen werden wel enkele dagen gebruikt, maar de ene na de andere stoel stond binnen 3 weken op elkaar gestapeld in een hoekje van dat atelier en de mensen zaten weer op de grond.
    Tja....denk ik dan:daar moet je nou een Hollander voor zijn om mensen hun houding die ze al eeuwen lang toepassen te willen veranderen.....


  17. Dearest Friends,
    Thanks for your interest in this vanishing art work. It breaks our hearts to see people having to make a living in such primitive circumstances. Of all things learned from being an international consultant, it is to never ever complain about life in the Western World! We are all spoiled rotten and most don't even realize it.
    Have a great weekend and enjoy the spring!

  18. Beautiful pictures..... things haven't changed from the 1980's when I lived in Indonesia. We brought many pieces back to the United States when we left. I was only a teenager then. I was born and lived my first 8 years here in North Dakota, USA. But I lived in Indonesia for 10 years and it will always be home in my heart. Even still when I'm asked where I am from, my first thought is to say Jakarta, but instead I pause and say the City in North Dakota where I now make my home.

    Thank you for bringing wonderful memories to light, and so I can show my kids another piece of my childhood.



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