The Mae Ping River in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and the teak houses that line its banks serve as the inspiration for the yellow-gray jasper, black onyx, and orange agate beads that flow between two strands of leather in this chic wrap bracelet. The beads are laid out one by one, and then painstakingly hand-threaded and knotted to the leather cord.
Handcrafted in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Leather with jasper, onyx, and agate beads. 34 1/2"L x 3/8"W.
To her family, jewelry designer Siriporn is known as Koy, which means “Pinkie,” a common Thai nickname for the youngest daughter. Today she’s able to support both of her parents through her jewelry designs, but as a child growing up amid the tamarind groves of rural Phetchabun, she dreamed of being an architect. But moving to the artistic and cultural mecca of Chiang Mai inspired a change in her career path.
"I had a chance to attend some traditional events [in Chiang Mai]," Siriporn says, “for example joining the march of the river goddess worship ceremony called Loy Kra Thong.” At these festivals she sold jewelry that she had made from natural materials. “I peeled fresh bark neatly, polished the wood to sheen, and knotted it into a bracelet with hemp rope. That was the first step toward working with beads,” she says.
Today she designs for a friend’s shop in Bangkok, leaving her more time to explore the city and be inspired by everything she sees. “I walk slowly and survey the environment around meeven small grass flowers growing beside the road, the caterpillar on the tree branch. I have looked at them until they turn into butterflies. All of these serve as inspiration to create my jewelry.”
The dozens of beads that make up this design are laid out on a wooden board with small nails and arranged one by one. The leather strands are laid alongside the beads, which are individually threaded and knotted to the leather cord. The process is so meticulous that it’s possible to create only four bracelets per day.