Thai Amulets in Thailand - Overview
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 amulet around their neck – for protection, good health, good luck, and aesthetics. Many other children don’t wear any amulet 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 amulets than other places in the country. Southern Thailand is one place that less Thai amulets 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.
Thai amulets 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 amulets in Thailand.
The Thailand amulet 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 amulet is rarely divined by just observing and assessing it’s material content. There are few solid gold amulets 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 amulets are usually 1,500 THB and more in price.
Instead, the value of Thai amulets is all in the reputation of the creator of the amulet, along with the subject of the amulet (Buddha, Luang Phor Tuad, etc.).
Amulets made by revered, respected monks in the Thai Theravada Buddhist Monktocracy are going to be worth more than amulets 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 amulet can sell for 1 million dollars – it is not unheard of. The reason is that there are certain amulets 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 amulets 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 amulet itself did.
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 amulet idea. He died years ago, but even today his temple sells no amulets inside or outside the temple grounds. There is no amulet 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 amulets 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 amulets to help them through life. Some amulets are for protection from evil spirits. Some amulets protect against accidents. Some protect against violence from other people – bullets, knives, clubs. There are Thai amulets specifically for love – to help you become attractive to others so you can find a mate. There are fertility amulets, giant phallus like amulets 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 amulet sellers. Unfortunately for the buyer, he or she usually doesn’t know which they are dealing with.
At Thai Amulet Sales (.com), we do the best we can to help you see and understand that we are offering amulets for people across the globe, because otherwise most of you wouldn’t be able to get authentic amulets from Buddhist temples.
Just by a quick review of some of the amulet sites online that sell Thai amulets in their amulet stores, and EBay ads, we can see that much of the information is completely wrong regarding the amulets they are selling. If the information is false, can the amulet be any good? We don’t think so.
One of the biggest scams running appears to be claims that the amulet itself, or the amulet cases are made from pure gold. That is a fallacy in 99.x% of all amulets 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 amulet 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 amulet 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 amulet trader shops – and they probably were not made by monks or for Buddhist temples, they were probably created by amulet vendors that wanted to claim a higher value amulet and profit when they sold it.
Do you know how many times we saw a solid gold Thai amulet at a Buddhist temple in Thailand?
Never. There are plated gold amulets – and I think we have just 2-3 of them on our entire site. One is a lovely 24K gold plated Jatukam amulet 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 amulets 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 amulet 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 amulets 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 amulets that mean something. They are not. Thai jewelers’ amulets are worthless, except for the materials.
That was a little about the state of Thai amulets in Thailand. There are authentic and inauthentic amulets. Good amulets 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 amulet seller you trust is whether they are hyping the amulets 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 amulet 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 amulet 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 amulets that exist:
Tiger amulets 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) amulet from Thailand. LPT is one of the most highly revered Buddhist monks from Thailand, and the subject of many Thai amulets.
Sothorn style Buddha is very popular. We bought many of these amulets 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 will wear Takrud amulets in 2017. These are hollow tubes that are filled with something – soil, bone, or in this case rolled sacred (blessed) prayer scrolls.