My today's post is about unique and unusual jewelry. Look at the yellow and black necklace that I am wearing on the photo above and try to guess what it is made of. The material is of natural origin, handmade, not expensive, light, durable, eco-friendly. Any ideas?
Well, the necklace is made of paper. Disappointing? Not for me. The paper used is not that ordinary paper that we all are accustomed but so called lokta paper that is indigenous to Nepal. It is produced from the bark fibre of the local plant Daphne bholua or Daphne papyracea which only grows at an altitude of 1600-4000 m on the southern slopes of Nepal’s Himalayan forests. Interesting, the plant has a unique feature which allows it to regenerate to maturity again within 4 to 5 years after being cut. If the lokta was allowed to continue growing past maturity it would dry up and begin to decay, preventing any new growth so, harvesting lokta actually helps nature and neither the forest is destroyed nor harm is done to the fragile forest ecology.
Lokta paper is humidity and insect resistant and very durable: trust me, it is not that easy to tear a sheet of this paper. In ancient times religious texts and royal edicts were recorded on lokta paper. Tibetan monks used it for their manuscripts and for printing sacred texts. Nowadays it is widely used as wall paper, bags, envelopes, notebooks, boxes, photo frames, lamp shades.
Last weekend I visited a handicraft fair and there was one stall that was crowded with girls and women. What attracted their attention were bright and colourful necklaces and earrings displayed there. It was simply not possible to pass by. As it turned out all those jewelry were made of lokta paper. I had a little chat with the guy at the stall. His name was Shri Bhushan Manandhar, and he was the artisan behind the jewelry as well as the Managing Director of Nepa Bhon, a company that manufactures lokta paper crafts.
Manandhar started making jewelry only a few years ago out of a need to utilize the lokta scrap paper that was left after using it for other products. "I didn't want to throw away the remnants and I didn't have the needed machinery for recycling either. So I started making beads out of the pieces. Then came the necklaces, earrings and other accessories," he said. Seems that it was a great idea. The jewelry is unique, not expensive, beautiful and water proof. With so many colours and designs to chose from it is easy to find a matching piece for any outfit. Personally I bought three necklaces and two pairs of earrings.
Besides the jewelry there were also other things on display: boxes, photo frames, vases and mirror frames. I was especially impressed with the vases and mirror frames. Aren't they amazing?
Look at close ups. Wow! So much work!
I was actually thinking about buying this vase
Nepa Bhon has a shop in New York too. I especially asked Manandhar about location in case some of my American readers will get interested in the lokta paper crafts. The shop is situated at 106 Macdougal Street.This is not a sponsored post, I just really like the jewelry and the lokta crafts and wanted to share the information with my readers.
Have a nice day!