Thai Beliefs about Thai Amulets
[Page updated: 10 July 2019]
Thais in Thailand are about 95% Theravada Buddhist and believe strongly in Buddha, as most of the population was raised with these beliefs since infancy. Many Thai children, even as young as a month old, wear some sort of Buddhist Thai pendant around their neck - for protection, good health, good luck, and aesthetics. Many other children don’t wear any pendant at all, and I would say - overall that most Thai kids do not wear any sort of necklace with Thai pendants.
Thailand’s northeast has a higher rate of practicing Buddhists - and, as a result, a higher number of Thais wearing Buddha, Monk, Kwan Yin, Ganesh, and Luang Phor Tuad pendants than other places in the country. Southern Thailand is one place that less Thai pendants are worn per capita. A large portion of southern Thais are Muslim and not Buddhist at all, so they don’t wear any of the traditional Buddhist amulets, but they do wear jewelry of all sorts. Southern Thais tend to wear Jatukam Ramathep amulets, Nong Kwak, Kwan Yin, and Ganesh.
What are Thai Amulets Made of?
Thai pendants are made of an almost infinite variety of substances including:
- white gold
- white jade
- green jade (jadeite)
- black petrified wood
- brown petrified wood
- wood - teak, and other hardwoods
- elephant tusk
- tiger teeth
- graveyard soil
- dried blood
- stainless steel
- polished steel
These materials and just about anything else you can think of can comprise an amulet. There are probably a million different styles of Buddha pendants in Thailand.
Thai Amulet Value
The Thailand pendant business is vast - and comprised of generally two lines of business. Authentic, and inauthentic… fakes. It is difficult and usually impossible to tell real from fake amulets. The value of an pendant is rarely divined by just observing and assessing it’s material content. There are few solid gold pendants at all. There are more solid silver amulets, but the value of each really has no correlation to what they are made from. Solid silver pendants are usually 1,500 THB and more in price.
Instead, the value of Thai pendants is all in the reputation of the creator of the amulet, along with the subject of the pendant (Buddha, Luang Phor Tuad, etc.).
Amulets made by revered, respected monks in the Thai Theravada Buddhist Monktocracy are going to be worth more than pendants made by Somchai Somporn at the local Buddhist temple (wat). Thailand’s monks are in a heirarchy of respect, usually depending not on their merits as much as which temple they are part of in Bangkok. Bangkok monks at famous temples enjoy higher status than other monks - generally. Yes, I’m speaking in generalities, but just in general, without looking at specifics.
Amulets made from compressed dirt and clay can command prices in the millions of Thai baht. In US Dollars, sometimes an pendant can sell for 1 million dollars - it is not unheard of. The reason is that there are certain pendants said to have more power than others. Buyers pay for the power of the amulet, to help them through life. You can often see on television, high society Thais wearing pendants that are worth millions of baht. Amulets are something of a status symbol for many Thai people as well. Instead of a simple stainless-steel case, Thais buy fancy gold plated cases that cost even more than the pendant itself did.
Thai Amulet Power
There are Thai Buddhists that believe in the power of amulets, and there are those that do not. Buddhadasa Bhikku from Wat Suan Mokkh in Thailand’s southern city of Chaiya, was one monk that refused to be part of the pendant idea. He died years ago, but even today his temple sells no pendants inside or outside the temple grounds. There is no pendant for this world-famous monk that refused to take part in the politics of Buddhism in Bangkok. I have also never seen any figurines or pendants for forest monk, Ajahn Chah.
Most Thais fall somewhere between the two extremes, and I would guess that most Thais do believe in the power of certain pendants to help them through life. Some pendants are for protection from evil spirits. Some pendants protect against accidents. Some protect against violence from other people - bullets, knives, clubs. There are Thai pendants specifically for love - to help you become attractive to others so you can find a mate. There are fertility amulets, giant phallus like pendants that a couple in love believes could help them conceive a healthy child.
There is virtually no end to the uses for amulets. They are seen as the cure-all to help with problems of all sorts.
Online there are scrupulous and unscrupulous Thai pendant sellers. Unfortunately for the buyer, he or she usually doesn’t know which they are dealing with.
At Thai Amulet Sales (.c0m), we do the best we can to help you see and understand that we are offering pendants for people across the globe, because otherwise most of you wouldn’t be able to get authentic pendants from Buddhist temples.
Thai Amulet Scams
Just by a quick review of some of the pendant sites online that sell Thai pendants in their pendant stores, and EBay ads, we can see that much of the information is completely wrong regarding the pendants they are selling. If the information is false, can the pendant be any good? We don’t think so.
One of the biggest scams running appears to be claims that the pendant itself, or the pendant cases are made from pure gold. That is a fallacy in 99.x% of all pendants sold from Thailand. There are very few solid gold cases in Thailand, Thais don’t usually wear them - and neither should you. Gold is a soft metal, like lead. It can become misshapen over time and it will look worse than a cheaper, gold-plated pendant will over time.
So, for all intents and purposes, lets go with 99% of all gold cases you see in Thailand are gold - plated, not solid gold. This includes every pendant and case you see on our site. We have no solid gold cases, and further - no solid gold amulets. Solid gold amulets, if they exist in Thailand, are only found in Bangkok at exclusive pendant trader shops - and they probably were not made by monks or for Buddhist temples, they were probably created by pendant vendors that wanted to claim a higher value pendant and profit when they sold it.
Do you know how many times we saw a solid gold Thai pendant at a Buddhist temple in Thailand?
Never. There are plated gold pendants - and I think we have just 2-3 of them on our entire site. One is a lovely 24K gold plated Jatukam pendant with Buddha on the front. One of our favorites.
Really, they are very rare. Please don’t believe the ads you find online where people are claiming their pendants are 100% pure gold and selling them for less than $300 or so. The price of gold at the moment is astronomically high - $1,500 per ounce, and you will not find a gold pendant for less than $300. You couldn’t, someone would need to be selling it to you and losing money. How many sellers do that? Nobody, right.
Now, there are solid gold pendants found in Thailand. Where? The jewelery shops. Jewelers make Buddhist jewelry, it is unblessed and basically worthless to Buddhists, but when put online - foreigners think these are real pendants that mean something. They are not. Thai jewelers’ pendants are worthless, except for the materials.
Thai Amulets Summary
That was a little about the state of Thai pendants in Thailand. There are authentic and inauthentic amulets. Good pendants come from the Buddhist temples and are not usually solid gold, nor do they have solid gold cases.
One thing you might look for when trying to find an pendant seller you trust is whether they are hyping the pendants to be something amazing - or not. There are sellers that try to get your emotions aflutter as a catalyst to get you to purchase something. There are other pendant sellers that just present the facts and let you decide. Some sellers are just out to make as much money possible from people that are uninformed about the true nature of Buddha and other Buddhist amulets. Some sellers are really trying to help you acquire an pendant that is genuine and right for you.
We are the latter.
If you just found us - why not shop around and see if there is something small you might want from the hundreds of amulets, necklaces, and bracelets we have here on Thai Amulet Sales? Purchase something small and see if we deliver on our promise. When we do, then you’ll feel more confident to order higher priced items.
Best of life to you!
Vern and Joy
Below are some samples of the variety of Thai pendants that exist:
Some Chu Chok pendants above.
Tiger pendants are popular at some temples. Wat Tum Sua (Tiger Cave Temple) in Krabi, for instance.
This is a solid silver designed Luang Phor Tuad (famous monk) pendant from Thailand. LPT is one of the most highly revered Buddhist monks from Thailand, and the subject of many Thai amulets.
Trimurti style amulet. Buddha with 3 heads.
Sothorn style Buddha is very popular. We bought many of these pendants at the famous Wat Phra Mahathat temple in Nakhon. This is solid silver and has a very unique design on the reverse side.
Many Thais wear Takrut amulets. These are hollow tubes that are filled with something - soil, bone, or in this case rolled sacred (blessed) prayer scrolls.