Vintage Ear Gauges

How we discovered them

During a trip to Mae Hong Son near the Myanmar border 12 years ago, we came across a Karen hill tribe village in which most of the woman had stretched ear lobes.

After speaking with them, we found that they had made their own piercings in the village using the most basic hand tools from small square sheets of hand beaten solid silver or aluminum.

Fascinated, we asked if they could give us a demonstration of them actually making them but alas - they could only giggle and laugh – I guess they thought we’d lost our minds!

Luckily a few of the ladies offered to sell us their old plugs which were now too small for them to wear as they had stretched up a few sizes.

This first pair is made from solid silver and are just under 1 ¼” [31mm] with a wearable area of 8mm. Obviously they had a lot of use judging by the great patination and smooth flares. The silver is 95% pure and is the same material used to make the popular Karen silver beads. Weight is 27 grams.

The two pairs below are made of hand beaten aluminum the first pair being 1 1/8” [28mm] with a wearable area of 8mm and weigh 8 grams.

The second pair are just over 1” [26mm] also with a wearable area of 8mm and weigh 6grams.

If you are interested in acquiring some vintage collectible ear gauges from Northern Thailand let us know and we’ll gladly source some for you on our next trip up to Myanmar.