Often combined with lacquer to make hair ornaments, cutlery and jewellery, buffalo horn can be found all over Hanoi's souvenir and houseware shops. Items range from blinding white to tar black, depending on the horn used, but these differences in colour make each item unique. Animal lovers rejoice: to collect buffalo horn does not require the creatures to be harmed or slaughtered. Remember that buffalo horn must be hand washed and foods like mustard or vinegar can stain cutlery of lighter colours. When in Hanoi pick up a piece of buffalo horn and inherit the strength of the mighty water buffalo.
If you visit a craft or jewellery shop in Hanoi, you'll likely find buffalo horn, but you may not recognise it. A keratin substance similar in structure to human fingernails, buffalo horn is used to make everything from jewellery to eating utensils. Early Vietnamese cultures used buffalo horn for decorative effect and its colours can range from midnight black to white-streaked cream. Buffalo horn is subject to humidity and temperature changes so it is recommend that you remove jewellery before showering or taking a dip in your Hanoi hotel's swimming pool.