This finely engraved breast plate or 'Lakkrau' represents a fraction of the wide repertoire of silver jewellery made, worn and exchanged by highland communities in northern Thailand. This type is used by the Yao women to fasten their tunic collars to their garments. Silver was valued more highly than gold by many highland communities. Silver jewellery was a way of investing a family’s wealth to be passed down as heirlooms. It was also believed to have protective properties. Today, where security maybe a problem, silver is kept locked away while aluminium is used as a substitute.Originally, highlanders from China, the Yao have recently began to move southwards into mainland Southeast Asia.