There are 19 officially recognized ethnic groups in Laos representing four ethno-linguistic families: Tai-Kadai, mon-Khmer, Hmong-Mien and Tibeto-Burmese.
The Hmong particularly value silver jewellery: it signifies wealth and good life.
Men, women and children wear silver — tiers of neck rings, heavy silver chains with lock-shaped pendants, earrings and pointed rings on every finger.
They are an estimated 66,108 Akha living in Laos including many sub-groups.
They have their own language, but no written alphabet.
The two predominant groups are the Blue and White Hmong with only 15 Black Hmong villages.