Published: 17:20, March 31, 2023 | Updated: 17:19, March 31, 2023
From war to peace: Cambodian goldsmith turns bullet casings into jewelry
By Reuters

Jewelry made from bullet shells are displayed at Angkor Bullet Jewelry in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, March 29, 2023. (PHOTO / REUTERS)

PHNOM PENH - Every week, Cambodian goldsmith Thoeun Chantha turns about five kg 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 mould before being cooled in a bucket of water.

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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.