The goldwork tradition in Phetchaburi province was assumed to have been a legacy of court craftsmen of the Bangkok period as several kings ordered the construction of palaces in Phetchaburi. King Rama IV constructed Phra Nakhon Khiri Palace (Khao Wang); King Rama V constructed Phra Ram Ratchaniwet Palace; and King Rama VI constructed Mrigadayavan Palace.
Because of these palaces, traditional craftsmen were gathered in Phetchaburi and high arts from the royal court were introduced to this province, bringing forth a school of Phetchaburi goldwork that produces gold ornaments and utensils that mix the court tradition with a local flair.
Phetchaburi goldwork is a national cultural heritage that is passed down for generations and bears distinctive designs.
Ancient Phetchaburi goldwork includes pine nut and button patterns, pawalam bracelets, and pikul, taen and tabai rings. Each design or detail is delicate and requires great skills to put together. Phetchaburi goldwork is often decorated with precious stones, such as a set of nine gems (nopphakao): ruby, emerald, sapphire, topaz, moonstone, garnet, zircon and chrysoberyl.
One of the most famous goldsmiths of Petchaburi Provice is Mrs.Nueng Phaengsikham who was awarded as a Thai National Artist by Ministry of Culture, Thailand. Her Petchaburi goldwork became widely known throughout the world. After she passed away in 2015, young Petchaburi goldsmiths have been supported and encouraged to continue their craftsmanship and skill.
Photograph: Mrs.Nueng Phaengsikham of Phetburi. Thailand National Artist in Visual Arts (2012)