Handmade silverware was highly prized during the 11th century when royal silversmiths created works of art considered the finest in the region. The earliest documented account of Cambodian silverware came from a Chinese emissary in 1276 who remarked on the ‘very special design’ of local ornaments.
The region’s location made it a melding pot of South Asian, Middle Eastern and Chinese influences, resulting in unique styles of decoration. The Khmer obsession with silver is clearly illustrated by the famous Silver Pagoda at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, which features a floor of tiles made from 5,809 kilos of silver.
After the devastation of the Pol Pot regime, it was feared uniquely Cambodian techniques had been lost, but recently the craft has experienced a revival. Entire villages are once again devoted to silverware, and uniquely Cambodian patterns are re-emerging.
Local silversmiths from the communities surrounding Siem Reap are contributing to silver’s resurgence in the Kingdom, and among the authentic creations available at our market, you’ll find silver statues, hand-carved bowls and ornate trinket boxes.