In Cambodia’s recent history, years of war and genocide decimated a great number of the heirs of artistic tradition. With them disappeared a vast body of skills and expertise.
Artisans d’Angkor was established as a professional training school that was founded to help young Cambodians rediscover traditional handicrafts and give them the opportunity to take part in the rebuilding process of their country. It was set up as a school-to-work transition for the young craftsmen that had been trained. The organization actively promotes the diversity and cultural richness of the Khmer handicraft tradition including stone and wood carving, and metalwork such as jewelry and bronze ware which dates back to ancient times.
The expansive Artisans d’Angkor site is in the heart of Siem Reap’s town center and makes for a wonderful excursion. We thoroughly enjoyed relaxing in the lush courtyard as much as we did browsing the many workshops and witnessing the Khmer artistic tradition alive and well as the craftsmen and women worked on their creations. Artisans d’Angkor gracefully fulfills its mission by keeping the hopes and dreams of the young Khmers alive while offering visitors a reminder of the exquisite quality of ‘handmade’.
Just found a great video worth sharing!
We’ve always stood firm on our belief that along with the price tag attached to them, the true cost of diamonds – that is, the environmental and humanitarian costs are far too high. Even though much has been said and documented about conflict diamonds, many people are still unclear about (or unwilling to accept) the fact that there are problems associated with diamonds beyond their association with war and terrorists.
Three years after we set out on a mission to raise awareness and support efforts to offset the damaging effects of diamond mining on local communities and the environment through mine reclamation and organic agriculture projects in Bandafaie, Sierra Leone, we’re thrilled to have stumbled across this fantastic documentary video created by OneSky volunteers Larissa Stendie and Sheryle Carlson. While it graphically documents the suffering of the miners and their community as well as the shocking devastation to the landscape, you’ll also get a first hand glimpse at the positive impact the reclamation/farming project had on the environment and people. ‘Life After Diamonds’ is a must-see for all skeptics and believers alike – to confirm what all the fuss is about with diamonds; to realize that diamond mining practices as they exist must be reconsidered on a more holistic level, whether on an artisanal or industrial level, because either way, the repercussions are enormous.
This short video proves that everyone has a choice.
There really is life after diamonds for mining communities and consumers alike, but first, there must be realization that there is something not quite right, and then the will to make it right.
With every DIAZ purchase, we’re donating 50% to Peace Winds Japan to support their emergency relief operations in the areas of Eastern Japan that were hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami. Peace Winds Japan is a Non-Governmental Organization dedicated to the support of people in distress, threatened by conflict, poverty, or other turmoil. With its headquarters in Japan, it has been active in various parts of the world since 1996. Daily updates and photos are posted on Peace Winds Japan’s English website with latest news on their incredible relief efforts, reported by volunteers working in the disaster areas.
Visit the DIAZ Shop to support Peace Winds Japan and the people of Eastern Japan.
The goal of upcycling is to prevent wasting potentially useful materials by making use of existing ones, making something of equal or better value without downgrading the original material or creating more pollution during the process.
We couldn’t help but be inspired and think that this was a wonderful detour from the current norm in luxury sustainable jewelry of using recycled silver or gold, which requires melting, casting and soldering. We really wanted to take our jewelry one step up on the scale of sustainability, and so we got to work on it… Introducing RE to the SOL Collections, a series that symbolizes all our favorite ‘re’ words: rethink, renew, refresh, revive, recreate… In addition to not using ‘virgin’ silver, by manually hammering and shaping the rings and pendants, we avoided the energy-consuming processes of melting, casting and soldering, leaving no footprint behind.
The RE series of rings and pendants are created out of ‘flawed’ silver bangles salvaged from our workshop. We have given a new lease on life to the Conflict-free Bangle cuffs that did not make the cut during our “100% Conflict Free” fundraising campaign to support organic farming cooperatives in Sierra Leone. Each bangle is now a completely different handmade, one-of-a-kind product.
RE is fun, whimsical and eco-conscientious. Proceeds from sales of the RE series will be donated to support grassroots environmental organization through 1% for the Planet.
We believe in promoting socially responsible business practices that respect human beings and the environment. Since day one, it’s been our hope to contribute in the direction of solving issues a step at a time, partnering with those who share our beliefs, be it those who support our causes by buying our jewelry or non-profits working to raise awareness and bring about solutions.
In the past, DIAZ partnered with non-profits Amnesty International Japan, One Sky & the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone to donate a percentage of sales towards diamond mine reclamation and organic agriculture projects in mining towns of Sierra Leone – a country devastated by civil war, conflict diamonds, and environmental devastation as a result of indiscriminate alluvial diamond mining.
This year, we’re so excited about our partnership with 1% for the Planet, a growing global movement of companies that donate 1% of their sales to a network of 2,344 environmental organizations worldwide. 1% exists to build and support an alliance of businesses financially committed to creating a healthy planet – to “keep Earth in business”. It just makes good sense.
We were especially excited to discover that we are in fact the first jewelry brand out of Asia to join.
- RE Experiment – The Molten Ring
- Vintage Kimono Pouches
- The DIAZ Travel Diaries – HAWAII
- DIAZ in SilverStyles Magazine
- The DIAZ Travel Diaries – KYOTO
- Which comes first, the poop or the paper?
- The DIAZ Travel Diaries – ANGKOR WAT
- ‘Artisans d’Angkor’
- DIAZ in Post Magazine – Behind the Label
- Quote of the day