Technique: Jewelry Making OLD
THE TECHNIQUE : JEWELRY MAKING
Our Penh Lenh bracelets, earrings, and necklaces are beautifully and carefully handmade by young Cambodian artisans. Artisans at Penh Lenh use materials such as semi-precious gemstone beads and pendants, handmade gold-plated clasps and chains, and raw silk. The majority of the materials used to make these accessories are sourced from Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Bali, which are all located within the Southeast Asia region.
Artisans work as a team throughout the production process, and the time to make each piece of beaded jewelry varies depending on the piece; the production time can take 30 minutes to three hours. Penh Lenh’s artisans receive their production goals at the beginning of each day, and, based on the piece that they are making, they will often help each other with accomplishing these set goals. They receive a printed template so that they are aware of the design for the accessories, and everyone conducts their own quality checks. Once the artisan finishes a quality check, another artisan and product manager will conduct additional quality checks on the product. Penh Lenh also provides artisans with training for packaging, so not only is each piece carefully handmade, it is also packaged with care. Originally, a goal for the beading technique was to use it for the therapeutic benefits that it provides, such as for those who are recovering from experiences such as an illness. The caring, motivated, and passionate artisans have experienced hardships in life and can take pride in the fact that they are creating a beautiful piece of jewelry that is of high quality.
To create the cotton thread tassel, artisans begin by cutting sections of the thread. They meticulously ensure that the number of threads are consistent so that each tassel is exactly the same size. After the thread has been cut, the sections are carefully aligned; the tassel is formed by folding the threads in half and securing it with 14kt gold-fill wrapping wire. Once the tassel thread is tied to the wire made jump ring, the wire is pushed through a gold-plated brass cone and pulled as tight as possible. A brass bead is placed on the wire end, creating a small ring. A 14kt gold-fill earwire is placed on the ring as the finishing touch.
Each layered tassel earring is made individually, starting with the top tassel and working down. Production time for each pair ranges between one-and-a-half to two hours. To maintain them, it is best to avoid getting them wet. Production time ranges from 45 minutes to an hour to create the flat tassel earrings. If wet, hang or lay flat to dry. If tangled, lightly comb the tassels straight.
To make the beautiful gold necklaces, the artisans begin by cutting 14kt gold-fill chain. Clasps and extensions are attached using a wire-wrapping technique. Each chain has extension clasp options at 16, 18, and 20 inches. A tiny tassel is handmade, directly attached to a jump ring and placed on the chain. We are proud to work with talented female artisans at Penh Lenh as they create beautiful pieces of handmade jewelry.
Artisans at TAYO Collective use high-quality materials, including 14k gold-filled and 14k rose gold-filled hardware, sterling silver, opals, and locally sourced quartz and pearls, in the creation of their beautiful jewelry. The artisans cut the metal chain to the desired length, and clasps are attached using a wire-wrapping technique. The pendants are also crafted using the wire-wrapping technique. The intricate technique is passed down from women to women.
In 2013, Rachel Dodson founded Penh Lenh, which is based in the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. The organization has a mission of empowering marginalized and at-risk young females in Cambodia. Penh Lenh, which means “whole,” helps to provide a high quality of education, vocational training, career opportunities and professional skills, and finance and budget training to these young women who are part of the organization. This also ultimately benefits the larger community.
Located in the Philippines, TAYO Collective works with 15 female artisans who are survivors of the sex trade. The women range in age from 20 to 30 years. Through TAYO Collective, they have access to safe housing, dignified employment, nutrition and health training, personal development programs, and a tuition-free college education. Every piece of TAYO Collective’s fair trade jewelry purchased at The Little Market empowers the artisans to break the cycle of poverty and permanently escape the sex trade.