A Brief History of Handmade Philippine Jewelry
The skill of the Philippine artisan in jewelry making is well established throughout history. For example, in Egypt, there was a discovery of gold jewelry that was found to have originated from the Philippine Islands. This was probably due to a trade route existing between ancient Egypt and the Philippines. There are mines in the Philippines going back to at least 1000 B.C. These mines contain gold, silver, copper and iron. This is where some of the gold that was brought to the pharos was mined. Punt is the ancient name for the Philippines during this time. The Egyptians described it as very far away, in a direction of east west. Large quantities of gold were brought back from Punt or the Philippines, to Egypt.
The famed explorer Fernando Magellan discovered the Philippines in 1527. Magellan wrote that the inhabitants were "gilded" in gold jewelry. The Spanish arrived to colonize the Philippines in the 16th century. They found Philippine people lavished in jewelry. The jewelry was handed down from generation to generation, as heirlooms. Large pieces of gold jewelry and ornaments were bestowed as part on an inheritance. Magellan noted that the Philippines owned so much jewelry that the mines were neglected, and could produce much more of the precious and semi- precious metals that they had previously produced.
The tradition of Philippine jewelry making is preserved today and can be found in Philippine home-based businesses. A rising commerce in the Philippine economy is the home-bases business or cottage industry. You can find the manufacturer of exquisite jewelry centered from the home or craftshop. A craftshop is when several artisans are employed together under one roof and can have from 8 to 10 people who specialize in jewelry making. Whether centered in the home or craftshop, the person responsible for jewelry making is given special attention to thorough training, becoming that of an artisan. These artisans make a full time living out of the jewelry they make.