From war to peace: Cambodian goldsmith turns bullet casings into jewelry
PHNOM PENH – Every week, Cambodian goldsmith Thoeun Chantha turns about five kilograms of brass casings of AK-47 and M-16 bullets into jewelry.
For more than two decades, the 42-year-old, whose father was killed during Cambodia’s years of war, has run a workshop to turn symbols of violence into what he calls wearable pieces of art.
“I’m a victim of the war as a Cambodian who lost family members in it and now the world is at war too,” he said.
“I make this to show that the world doesn’t want war … we all want peace.”
The bullets are collected from shooting ranges and military training grounds around the capital, Phnom Penh.
Those deemed safe are melted and poured into a cylindrical mold before being cooled in a bucket of water.
The metal is then shaped by hand into intricate bracelets, necklaces, rings and earrings to be sold for $5 to $20 a piece at markets popular with tourists.
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