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MEDIA CONTENT EXCHANGE >> Media Content Exchange >> Vietnam News Agency >> Media Content Exchange 2020
Seashells refashioned as stylish jewellery

31 July 2020 (Readers 72)

EX-SHELL-ENT STUFF: A seashell painted and turned into a necklace by HCM City-based artist La Nhu Long. VNS Photos Diep Nguyen by Bao Hoa & Diep Nguyen

MENTORING: La Nhu Long shows his staff how to make a seashell bracelet Through images hand-drawn on each piece of jewellery, Long hopes his art will win favour with Viet Nams international friends.

SPE-SHELL ACCESSORIES: La Nhu Long's collection of seashell jewellery. VNS Photos Diep Nguyen

When it comes to creativity, the right tools or materials really do give wings to artistic expression, as 48-year-old La Nhu Long, an artist based in HCM City, can well attest.

After earning a degree from the HCM City University of Fine Arts in 2000, he worked as a designer for local jewellery companies but began to notice a limitation facing the industry.

"The materials used to make jewellery are fairly limited in number, so I cant just use them whenever I choose, he said.

To break away from conventional materials such as gold and silver, Long is now creating his own line of jewellery, using discarded seashells and turning them into miniature works of art.

"I select common seashells that restaurants simply throw away, the trained artist said.

"I apply ideas, techniques and images as well as different materials to create a line of contemporary jewellery.

A lot of work goes into making his adornments.

"The seashells must be cleaned after we collect them, because any organic matter leaves an odour, Long said. "Then, depending on the condition of the shells surface, I apply a layer of paint or lacquer.

"When deciding what to paint I often choose famous images of certain places, like Phan Rang, which has nice sandy beaches and plenty of sunshine. Islands, oil rigs, or illustrations of current events can also be used.

"The final step is to apply a coat of varnish to protect the shell and attach a chain or something similar to create necklaces or bracelets.

His small shop in HCM Citys Phu Nhuan District employs a handful of young people who take part in the essential stages of the jewellery-making process.

"I hope my products will have cultural value for foreigners in Viet Nam. From a decorated seashell they can know more about the country, how long its coastline is, where they are at that time, or what landscapes are nearby. And they will appreciate it more as they wear it.

Longs creations are selling at his shop for VND100,000-170,000 (US$4.3-7.3) each, depending on the size and material used.

They are still relatively new in the market but he hopes more people will get to know about them as time goes by./.
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