Buying Thailand Amulets Safely
Genuine Thailand Theravada Buddhist pendants or not?
After selling Thai pendants for a couple of years now I noticed some things. I of course tried the Ebay route but was met with a lot of dissatisfaction because the buyers are of a different type than I was used to working with online at one of the thailand pendant sites I work with. This article will be an overview about buying Thai pendants and what to look out for basically. There are a lot of foreigners and Thais’ alike that are selling dubious gold, brass, bronze, copper and clay pendants that are basically worth less than the dirt or metal they’re made with. Worthless Thai amulets.
Initially my friend was given some Thai pendants by her grandparents who had quite a collection. There were hundreds of antique pendants we looked through and we were given a sizeable amount. We were left with instructions to give them away and sell them if we wanted but these were very decent pendants with a lot of power as believed by Thai people.
Thais believe that certain pendants that were blessed by certain monks are extremely powerful. Powerful how? Good luck, protection from evil and physical altercations. There are Thai pendants for protection of body, family members, health, against knives and bullets, sharp things like glass and machetes… There are pendants to protect against natural disasters. There are Thai pendants that bring money in. There are pendants that give businesses great luck and fortune.
How in the world do you know if you’re buying a genuine, blessed Thai pendant if you find a web site online that is selling them?
Good question. In short, you don’t. There are some things you can look for to ensure you’re getting a genuine article, but Thai talismans are easily faked and there are quite a few charlatans out there that will dupe you given half the chance. It’s a sad state of affairs, but, like every country there are those that believe in good karma and those that don’t. Here, most everyone believes in good karma - but that trend is blown away when you look at those selling the sacred Thai pendants online or at the markets.
Things to look for when shopping online to ensure you get a quality, blessed, genuine Thai Buddhist pendant that is worth the money you pay for it:
1. The pendant store has more than one photo of the item and can take another one for you if you request it. This would prove the person actually HAS the pendants and could ship them to you if he/she wanted to.
2. The pendant store has an account with Paypal or Moneybookers or some other means with which to accept money for the amulets. A Paypal account needs to be registered with a verified bank account which means that Paypal could track someone that was cheating buyers out of pendants bought online.
3. The pendant store has ten or more pendants - each with a separate page for each amulet. This means someone spent the time to create individual pendant pages and maybe means there is a better chance they actually are selling the items and not just listing them all on one page with little effort put into making the site.
4. The person selling the pendants appears genuine, knows English well enough to tell you exactly what you need to know.
5. The pendant store doesn’t list wild claims on the site. Ridiculous claims made to incite buyers to buy on emotion are usually a good warning sign that the pendant site might be bogus.
6. There is some history to the pendant if it’s old, or some explanation who the Thai pendant features on it - and the reasoning behind it. Does it feature the Buddha on a coiled Naga (serpent)? Or, Luang Por Tuad? Why? A good site will give you a history of the amulet. Look up on Google the keywords the pendant seller uses to see - is Luang Por Tuad really a monk? Maybe not. Challenge the site by trying to prove the things it displays are true.
7. Email is answered promptly, courteously and without some urgency for you to buy something.
8. Jatukam (jatukum, jatukarm) pendants are worthless. They were a fad that has completely gone away here in Thailand. Foreigners don’t know this fully yet and are still buying them. They are worthless as mud here and they are being thrown away in canals and behind buildings because they are totally worthless in Thailand now. Jatukam pendants are large, round about 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter and are made of clay or have metal coatings over clay. Please don’t buy them or listen to ANYONE that says they are worth something. They aren’t worth $1 USD.
9. Amulet prices are too high or too low. An old pendant might be worth as much as $500 USD. There aren’t that many for sale. If someone is selling 30 of them - probably they are fake. If selling 5 - that’s more credible. If the price is $10 and free shipping then that’s probably a fake. The cheapest pendant I sell is about $15. The most expensive I sell on a regular basis is under $80. If you’re interested to see the range, see Thai Amulet Sales.
If you follow these tips you should find yourself in possession of a quality amulet. There is still a chance you will find a fake amulet. The best way to ensure the pendants are quality is to come to Thailand yourself and buy them at a temple. The second best way? Find someone you trust that buys pendants at a temple and that you believe in. I try to be that person when I sell amulets. I do my best to offer people a realistic price for genuine Thai pendants that they can’t get anywhere else. To my knowledge nobody is selling these pendants that I do from Wat Tum Sua. Nobody, just the temple it’self. The best route is to find someone you trust.