Buying Back the Bombs- when jewellery can transform
I believe it was about three years ago when I stumbled upon a brand that changed how I saw jewellery. In the world of fashion we are so often focused on appearance and fads. When I read the story of how this brand evolved it made me cry- it showed me that fashion and the products we choose to support can represent far more than just pretty little things, they are a means of transformation.
ARTICLE22 designs tell transformation stories of negative into positive. PEACEBOMB, the first collection in the brand, is jewellery handcrafted in Laos from Vietnam War shrapnel. A virtuous circle, each piece helps clear unexploded ordnance, making land safe and providing new metal to artisans. ARTICLE22 partners with artisans in off-the-beaten-track places to create modern heirlooms with particular provenance.
To understand how this initiative began, we need to look back. Artisans of Naphia returned to their bomb littered village in 1974 upon the close of the Vietnam War to find bombs, exploded and unexploded, and a crashed jet plan. One man learnt to melt the war scrap into spoons. A young woman named Elizabeth Suda founded ARTICLE 22 when she met the artisans in a rural village melting these US bombs into the spoons. With such profound respect for this innovation, she created the Peacebomb bracelet with the idea of ‘buying back the bombs’. ARTICLE22 has developed into a global business, selling an evolving collection of jewellery and home goods to customers in 40 countries. Since ARTICLE22 began working with the village in 2009, 12 families grew into 15 families, husbands and wives that make Peacebomb jewellery. They work part time and earn at least 5x the local hourly minimum wage, providing them with the disposable income for books, school, fuel and medicine that their subsistence farming livelihoods cannot. Artisans are agents of change, healing their land, making it safe to play and grow rice.
The brand has been recognized by global consumers and press as pioneering the transformation of weapons into jewellery and the tangible value of fashion that does good. We love the work that ARTICLE22 is doing and feel passionately about sharing their story. Please see below the link to their website to see more of their journey and the families and communities affected by this incredible project for change. Jewellery with purpose- wear, share, transform.