ARTICLE22 turns shrapnel into jewelry!

Posted on 07 December 2017.

This brand creates jewelry from the shrapnel of bombs dropped on Laos during the Vietnam War. This is a circular initiative that helps develop the Laotian economy while contributing to demining the country.

Jewelry with the words "I love peace" or "The bomb of peace, released and made in Laos".

Why not wear some shrapnel on your ears or around your wrist? This is the daring challenge taken up by the New Yorker Elizabeth Suda in 2010. Her jewelry brand, ARTICLE22, referring to the 22nd article of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, recycles metal from the bombs dropped during the Vietnam War into ethical and trendy jewelry. Sold worldwide today, this jewelry helps develop the Laotian economy while contributing to demining the country...
Per capita, Laos is the most bombed country in history: seeking to break away from Vietnam, the CIA dropped over two million tons of bombs on the country between 1964 and 1973. This "secret war" was officially recognized for the first time by Barack Obama in 2016.

30% of the bombs did not explode on impact

Forty years after the end of the war, bombs buried in the earth continue to threaten the population. NGOs estimate that 30% of the bombs did not explode on impact. They kill hundreds of people each year, mostly children and farmers. In a still predominantly rural country, buried bombs render 25% of the land uncultivable.
In the Plain of Jars, in the north of the country, which was one of the most bombed regions, the population of the small village of Ban Naphia tried to take advantage of the proliferation of bombs. At the end of the war, they began to recover shrapnel which they melted down and made into spoons. Sold at the local market or as souvenirs to the few tourists venturing into the area, the recycled spoons enabled the village to develop a genuine small-scale local economy.
Elizabeth Suda's arrival changed their lives. In 2010, this true New Yorker, who was a volunteer for the NGO Helvetas at the time, discovered Ban Naphia and marveled at the ingenuity of the villagers. She suggested that they diversify and make jewelry!

A village of jewelers

Seven years later, the twelve families of Ban Naphia have all become jewelers. This is a lucrative economic activity that attracts many workers to the area. Metal from the bombs is recycled by controlled and secured channels before being sent to the villagers who melt and upcycle it into jewelry: pendants, bracelets, and earrings on which the wording "I love peace" or "The bomb of peace, released and manufactured in Laos" is engraved.
A portion of the profits from the sale of the jewelry is donated to the NGO Mines Advisory Group, which is actively involved in demining the country. ARTICLE22 estimates that the sale of one bracelet allows 3 m2 of land to be demined. Since 2010, over 60,000 m2 have been cleaned and cleared of bombs.