Oversized jewelry is often worn by women from Tibet and Nepal. This jewelry, while beautiful, is often rustic, with uneven edges. A closer lookwill reveal that this jewelry is made, not by a machine, but by hand.

To appreciate the workmanship of Nepalese jewelry, it isimportant to understand the history of the craft. Many of the jewelry craftsmenin Nepal are actually from Tibet. They fled from Tibet to Nepal when the Chinese took over Tibet in the 1950s. Descendants of these craftsmen continue theTibetan jewelry-making tradition in Nepal today. Furthermore, many who makethis traditional jewelry are women, not men.

In both Tibet and Nepal, jewelry is important in dress,spirituality, and life. Tibetan and Nepalese jewelry also protects the wearerlike an amulet, and most of the metals and stones are believed to have uniqueproperties.

Nepalese jewelry is commonly made from copper or silver, butit can also be made from gold. Most pieces of Nepal jewelry are quite heavy,due to the quantities of metal used to make each piece. This jewelry is oftensold by the gram.

Turquoise and coral are the most common stones used inNepalese jewelry. Turquoise stands for the sky and the sea. Other stones commonin Nepal jewelry include lapis lazuli, tiger eye, garnet, and agate. Manybracelets and necklaces are also made from yak bone.

Many piece of Nepalese jewelry are actually representationsof Sanskrit words. These words carry particular meaning for the wearer of thejewelry. The symbol for Om is often incorporated into jewelry. Om is the sound the universe makes as the planets travel through space. This sound hasrelaxing and healing properties. Wearing this symbol reminds the wearer of thepeace that can be found by keeping harmony with Om.

The most common mantra on Tibetan and Nepalese jewelry isthe mantra, om mani padme hum. This mantra literally means, hail to the jewelin the lotus. The eight auspicious symbols are also popular symbols in Buddhistjewelry from Nepal. The ten-fold powerful mantra symbol (the Kalachakra mantrasymbol) is also popular. Bracelets carved from three metals are said to havehealing properties.

Dzi beads, or God beads are a very important part ofBuddhist jewelry. Use of these beads can be traced back to 1000 B.C. Thesebeads come in different shapes and sizes, each one capable of serving adifferent spiritual function. Dzi beads have the power of amulet, which meansthey carry sacred powers. Some are used to protect the wearer from evilspirits. Others protect against natural disaster, or increase energy levels.Some will bring good reputation and some promote decency.

This culture of jewelry making has been around forcenturies, and has a long an rich history among the people of Nepal and Tibet. In both Nepal and Tibet, jewelry stops being something 'fashionable' and is alsospiritual.