Makassar Silver Craftsmanship

In Makassar, there exists a community identified as "Logam Borong Makassar", which in this blogpost is called "LBM". The community focuses on the hand-made silverware industry. Members of the community do any handycraft made of silver and gold. There has been so many products sold domestically - rings, necklaces, bags, and plaques.

If you happen to be in the city of Makassar for a transit or a visit, make sure to spare a few hours to visit the location where the LBM community gathers. The distance to the community location is only about a 1-hour journey to the south if you are from Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport and approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to the east if you are from Soekarno-Hatta Port in Makassar city.

LBM has been on so many domestic events. The members of LBM are all neighbours in Borong, the city of Makassar, Sulawesi Selatan province. The location is around the center of the map attached below.

Almost all houses inside the area do handycrafting. All streets inside the area such as "Jalan Perak (literally translated as 'Silver Street') and "Jalan Emas" (literally means 'Gold Street') emphasize that the area are dedicated for silver and gold craftsmen.

LBM community is registered under Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (Indonesian: "Kementerian Pariwisata dan Ekonomi Kreatif" - formerly known as "Kementerian Pariwisata"), ensuring that their activities are legally guaranteed. Moreover, the quality of silver and gold crafts they produce is also reliable.

Some moments ago, I was lucky that I could interview one of the pioneers of LBM. Here is the excerpt of the interview (translated into English).

I see there are so many rings and necklaces in your showcases. Does LBM focus only on those items?

We make everything, depends on request. As long as we deal with the price, we sell. Those are all ready-to-purchase items. We display those items because those are the the fastest selling and the most demanded items.

What type of silver crafts are the most popular among enthusiasts?

Brooches and pins. Guests from outside the city, when they visit Makassar, often order a lot of brooches and pins. Additionally, rings and necklaces are also among our best-selling items.

What is the most intricate silver craft you have ever worked on?

This one! Perahu Phinisi ('Phinisi ship'). The handycrafting processes were so complicated. I had to scale every parts of it - the ropes, the pole, the ship's crew, everything. Let me take the item for you to see. Here it is. Do you see the complicated processes behind the creation of that? If you look every part of it, you know what I said.

I love the detail. How long did it take to handycraft this one?

Just less than 2 weeks. I spent around 4 to 6 hours a day to make this masterpiece.

Can you share a bit about the behind-the-scene in making this masterpiece?

Handcrafting the miniature of Perahu Phinisi is a meticulous and skilled process that requires the expertise of skilled artisans. In making this one, I began the processes by designing the miniature, carefully replicating the iconic details of this traditional Indonesian sailing ship. Once the design is finalized, I selected high-quality 925 silver materials to begin the crafting process. Using various specialized traditional tools, I meticulously shaped and molded the silver, paying close attention to every intricate detail of the Perahu Phinisi, such as its distinctive hull, sails, and rigging. I then used traditional silver-smithing techniques to join the different parts together, ensuring the miniature remains durable and aesthetically pleasing. After the construction was complete, the silver miniature undergone a careful polishing process to achieve a radiant shine.

By the way, do you sell abroad?

Our business has yet to embrace technology. Additionally, we face language barriers when it comes to promotion. In fact, many foreign tourists have seen our products on several occasions. The city government of Makassar regularly hosts international events, and we always set up stands there. However, that's how it is. Our main limitations lie in language and technology-based promotion. If only you could assist us with digital marketing, we would be extremely grateful to you.

By the way, do you sell this (Perahu Phinisi)?

I have prepared the answer to your question. I know that you will ask it. Hahaha. If we deal with the price, of course I will sell it. It is made of pure 925 silver. You know, it is all handmade. I put extra efforts to handycraft this one. I think anyone over the world can get this for US$750. The buyer takes responsible for the shipping. Not only this one ('Perahu Pinisi'), I sell all items inside these showcases. You take some pictures of these and promote that. I am thinking about promoting it on Youtube or on any other platforms.

At that time, I took my GoPro and took some footages of the processes of making the handycrafts.

I will soon post the footage on my website. Let's say, visitors of my website are interested in having some of your handycrafts. How do you deal with that?

First of all, thank you for the good news - that you are willing to promote our business. It's all by request. If anyone is interested in having some of our masterpiece items, we should establish and maintain intense communication about the design, the quality, the detail, everything. Any request is welcome. You need to help me in translating the request then I will make it. But remember that price that we deal applies to the handycraft and buyers take responsible for the shipping.