02 September 2016

Celuk Village, gold and silver city

Celuk Village in Gianyar, Bali, has been known for its gold and silver jewelry craftsmanship for a century. The village’s goldsmiths and silversmiths have been passing down their expertise to their descendants until today. The story of Celuk Village is documented in a book titled Jewelry of Bali. The beginning of Celuk’s traditions started when Nang Gati, a Celuk resident, went to the Mengwi Kingdom in 1915 to study metal craft. Upon his return, Nang Gati taught the first generation of craftsmen to make tools for religious ceremonies. The products of these craftsmen became accessories for the royal family and noblemen until the 1940s. In the 1950s, Bali began receiving tourists and a lot of art shops started popping up and selling the jewelry. However, the real boom only began in the 1980s alongside the boom in tourism. Celuk also became a popular tourist destination. Tour packages involved a Barong show in Sukawati, shopping in Celuk, lunch in Ubud and sightseeing in Tampak Siring and Kintamani. The boom paved the way for Celuk jewelry to be exported to various countries. The jewelry business in Celuk in the 2000s was not as shiny as before due to the rise of new silver jewelry sales points and tight competition from foreign businessmen who better understood foreign markets. The worst was when the Bali bombings occurred in 2002 and 2005. Celuk was in deep trouble. The situation motivated a number of young people to initiate the CDC in 2009 to revive business in the village. Aside from publishing a book and adding more variations to the designs, the CDC also held the Celuk Festival. The festival involved exhibitions, a fashion show and games.

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