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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Turning the Kingdom’s trash into treasure

Turning the Kingdom’s trash into treasure

From repurposed bombshells to newspaper turned into colourful accessories, this week we unearth some of the best recycled gift ideas for that special someone – or even yourself

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Simple and elegant gold and silver jewellery from a pair of designers, one Phnom Penh-based, the other in Seattle, Washington. From serpentine rings to delicate teardrop pendants, the designs, crafted from melted-down bullet cases and fragments of bombshells, are intended to be “simple reminders of the moments that move us, the stories that have yet to be told, and the things waiting to be discovered”.
Order online at Prices for the rings start at $44, while necklaces, which are gold or silver plated, cost $68.

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With an “ethical business” ethos, 1700° Fahrenheit started up this year designing and distributing fairtrade jewellery made from recycled bits of landmines, bombshells and other unexploded ordnance. Their designs are Cambodia-inspired – lotus flower and Khmer script earrings, fishing basket pendants – and range from $40 to $75. Primarily an online business, they distribute in Cambodia and Europe, but also organise “pop up” shops, with the next in Phnom Penh on October 25 at the Creperie Restaurant.
Contact 1700° Fahrenheit at or (to be launched in the coming weeks).

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As ironic as a love heart or two doves kissing made from a used bombshell may seem, they are available in Phnom Penh as necklaces, earrings or pendants. Training underprivileged Cambodian youths in crafts production, the manufacturer Rajana (Which also produces jewellery for several other outlets) aims to promote fair trade. The glimmering and intricately handcrafted bracelets, necklaces, earrings and pendants all come in a variety of sizes and styles – no two pieces are the same. Bracelets range from $28-38, necklaces $16.75 to $18, rings are $14.
#170 Street 450.

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NGO Friends International’s “social business” ventures with local partner Mith Samlanh engage poor and marginalised families to produce a large range of recycled goods – from wallets made of car tyres to forks bent into rings – that are then sold at their Friends ‘N’ Stuff gift shops. Their new, recently released range includes a “paper pepper bead” necklace with a tassel – made of hand-rolled and glued paper and magazine beads – and cute charm bracelets repurposed from bombshells.
Friends ‘N’ Stuff has outlets at #215 Street 13; #74 Street 174; and Stall #434, Russian Market.

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Rehab Crafts renovate old cooking pots into headbands and bracelets, using colourful
material woven through the middle to hold them together. Crafted by employees with disabilities who are able to earn an income from the products they make. The talented crew also create necklaces, bracelets and earrings from old magazines thinly cut and tightly rolled to make funky beads, as well as a wide range of your typical recycled rice/fish/pork bags of all sorts and hanging house decorations – great for gifts or to spice up your house. Headbands from used pots cost $5, paper bracelets are $2, while a hanging butterfly decoration goes for $3.25
#1A Street 278.

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What better use for discarded fishing nets, plastic bags and worn-out leather moto seats than to make them into brightly coloured, high-quality bags and purses. Started by two Italian ladies in 2006, they now export to selected locations across Europe, Asia and Australia, while maintaining a local base. Drop in to one of their stores to watch the masters at work, or browse their myriad styles in the full rainbow of colours, including but not limited to red coin purses, blue tablet device cases and green shoulder bags topped with black leather from moto seats.
Smateria has outlets at #8E0 Street 57, #7 Street 178 and at Phnom Penh International Airport.



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