Cambodian Goldsmith Turns Bullet Casings into Jewelry

Jewelry made from bullet shells is displayed at Angkor Bullet Jewelry in Phnom Penh on March 29.

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) — 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.

Thoeun Chantha