“Dropped + Made In Laos”

From Vietnam Bombs to NY Jewelry


Photo curtesy of http://dailycapital.pk

Kiannah Dole, Photojournalist

Forty years have passed since US bombs were dropped in Laos of Vietnam. Elizabeth Suda is the founder of the fashion company of Article 22, and among the brand’s collection are these unique bracelets, necklaces and earrings that have been fashioned from those US bombs. Each jewelry piece has been designed by the company and the Vietnamese artisans. Inscriptions such as “love is the bomb” and “dropped + made in Laos” are engraved into the jewelry and meant to be a play on modern slang rather than just the lethal weapon of war that the jewelry is crafted from.


Originally, villagers of the area just melted the metal from the bombs into spoons that they could use to eat the varieties of soups and dishes they ate. Elizabeth Suda was transfixed by their creativity and determination to turn negative into positive, so she came up with the idea to have the village artisans craft bracelets from the metal in addition to the spoons. Her idea tells this community’s story to consumers as well as allow the consumers to help develop the local economy of Laos and raise funds to help clear unexploded bombs from their farmlands and fields. For each peacebomb bracelet that Article 22 sells in nearly 40 countries, Article 22 pays artisans four times the local market rate, donates the cost equivalent to clear three square meters of bomb-infested land, and donates to the village development fund that pays for electricity in communal areas and gives micro loans to poor families.

Many individuals agree that this idea of turning something negative such as bombs into a conversation starter piece like jewelry is absolutely wonderful. Jessie Sardina (10), for example, states that, “The jewelry does not seek to repress the horror the bombs caused but acknowledges it and transforms the bad memories into hope of happier ones. To create is to build from and take something into your own inspiration and your own point of view to change it in a way to try to make it better.” Everyone has a chance in their everyday lives to make things that seem negative into something positive through even little actions, like how buying one peacebomb bracelet makes such a difference in the Vietnamese community.