Saught, Chic Jewellery with a Peacebuilding Message

Bricks of Hope necklace designed by Teo Shimin

When well-intentioned entrepreneurs combine fashion with a social cause, oftentimes design and commercial viability fall by the wayside. It puts equally well-intentioned consumers in a dilemma: should I buy something, because it’s fair trade even if it’s butt ugly and I’ll never wear it? Hmm. Hence I was thrilled to learn about Saught, a new socially-conscious accessories line where looking chic and doing good goes hand in hand.

Founded by Pamela Yeo, Ng Sook Zhen and Adeline Heng, three 24-year-old savvy entrepreneurs (with day jobs, might I add) who were moved by the poverty and trauma inflicted by war in Southeast Asia countries, Saught’s first collection of necklaces, earrings and bangles were created using scrap metal salvaged from Cambodian land mines. The founders’ vision for this innovative project was two-fold: to create a work integration social business implemented across post-conflict countries and  to create an international community of advocates who will champion for peacebuilding efforts. In other words, if you purchase and adorn yourself with one of Saught’s pieces, you’ll also be lending a hand in rebuilding a post-conflict society and spreading their message while looking oh-so-stylish at the same time. 

Petals on a Bloom bracelet by Brandon Yeo

Working together with the Cambodia Mine Action Centre, the largest demining organization in Cambodia, and seven artisans from Fileo Development Organization and Rajana Association, two NGOs that train under-privileged Cambodians in jewellery craftsmanship and silversmith skills, each piece from the collection is individually handcrafted from rhodium-plated brass as well as materials such as silk and leather.

Adeline readily shed light on the complex process of harvesting scrap metal from deadly mines that continue to plague the lives of Cambodians who live in constant fear of getting maimed or killed as they carry out their  work in the fields. “The scrap metal used is provided for by the Goldenwest Humanitarian Foundation and the Cambodian Mine Action Centre. The process of clearing Unexploded Ordnance (UXOs) and landmines from Cambodia is a manifold one, which includes detection through high technology machinery, munitions cutting or detonation, depending on the locale and surrounding environment of the detected UXO/landmines.”

Pursuing Peace bangle by Jarron Tham

To come up with the designs, the founders collaborated with 13 students from Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Design, who toiled outside school hours to come up with pieces that were not only highly wearable but would also convey the story of transformation from war to peace. To learn more about the post-war situation of Cambodians, the students were brought on a 1-week immersion trip to Cambodia to tour locations like the Toul Sieng Genocide Museum and to also meet and work directly with the artisans.

There are three themes that inspire the jewellery in Saught’s first collection, each representing a key aspect that the founders’ would like to raise awareness of. They are:

  • Freedom from War: highlights the landmine and UXO issue, and ongoing de-mining campaigns with an estimated 87% of uncleared land in Cambodia, with 2.7 million pieces of war remnants found left in the country.
  • Freedom from Poverty: with infrastructure destroyed, situations of unemployment and poverty result. Cambodia is one of 48 least developed countries in the world, with the average income per capital at USD2 a day.
  • Freedom from Fear: to inspire hope for the ongoing rebuilding efforts, even when post-conflict countries face surmounting challenges. Just recently, Cambodia was faced with a recent flood which affected 1 .2 million people.

Renewal Leather bracelet by Berwin Chean

The collection is priced from $59.90 for smaller items such as bracelets and earrings to $129.90 for a large statement necklace, comparable to what you can find on the high street. But in this case your guilt-free purchase ensures that under-privileged Cambodians earn a fair wage and sustainable businesses can thrive and grow in the developing nation.

Saught is available online on their website or at Actually, 29A Seah Street Singapore, Tel. 6336 7298.



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