Ammo was founded by British jeweller Madeline Green in 2013. Ammo’s beginnings came as a result of working alongside long-established social enterprise Saomao, who have been training local people in jewellery making for over a decade in Siem Reap. Using bullets as a base metal for jewellery has been practiced in Cambodia for over 20 years and now thankfully the bullets we use are not from war or bloodshed. We simply recycle blank cartridges that have been fired once in practice – so it’s a great way to turn something negative into a positive!
In April 2014, a new Ammo workshop was built to accommodate the growing number of new apprentices and collections. The building was specially designed by British firm, Stuart Cochlin Architects, creating a safe, well-ventilated space for our apprentices to learn their trade.
The staff spend approximately 6 months to learn the basics of jewellery making and how to make all the designs in the Ammo collection.
As part of the Ammo ethos, each member of staff is then given the opportunity to design their own jewellery. Each Thursday is Design Day, when the teacher becomes the assistant and our staff work both individually and as a team to create their own masterpieces and develop their own signature style.
Madeline helps them to organise their ideas into sellable jewellery pieces and assists with marketing, communication and sales of their work. The designer receives commission in addition to their salary for each piece sold.
Meet the team
Madeline has worked in jewellery making for over 20 years. In the UK, she received a BA Hons in 3 Dimensional Design and subsequently worked freelance as a jeweller and art coordinator for many years in Oxfordshire. In 2013 Madeline founded Ammo Jewellery and set up her own purpose built workshop in Cambodia to create a vocational training programme in jewellery design. Since starting, Ammo has trained eight young Cambodians to become jewellers (including three females). Madeline provides design consultancy services for individuals and other social enterprises. She is passionate about ethical fashion and sharing Cambodian craftsmanship with the world!
This is Philit, he is our master jeweller in charge of teaching all our new apprentices. He is kind of the big brother for everyone at Ammo. Working with us for over three years, he’s become both a talented jeweller and a real team player. Philit has a unique design style, unlike the rest of us who scratch our head for hours, Philit just sits quietly thinking and then in the blink of an eye, he’s created a totally original piece of jewellery.
We hope you’ll love his modern Cambodian designs!
Nary is a hard worker and very patient jeweller. She is often the translator for all of our discussions, which isn’t easy when we don’t know yet what we are trying to make! Nary learnt her English skills from living at Green Gecko organisation and with such a positive personality, she has become a fantastic saleswoman at our ‘Made in Cambodia’ market stall too!
“Amazing!” is one of Kenh’s most used words especially when we show him a new idea. Every week, he designs the most complicated pieces of jewellery and often it’s a design that none of us have ever made before! Then it’s our turn to be amazed! Kenh is 17 years old. Originally from Chan Sor Village, Siem Reap, he has been an apprentice with Ammo since February 2016 and previously lived at Kampuchea House.
Nimol is 21 years old and our newest apprentice. She is currently mastering the Ammo collections, so creating her own pieces was a daunting task to begin with. It hasn’t taken long for her own style to shine through and we love her feminine designs! Nimol was recommended to Ammo by people at a local pagoda, where she was studying and trying to find ways to support her family.
Say hello to Sokhim, if you are lucky enough to catch him! He can only join the Ammo team once a week for 2 hours because he’s still studying hard at high school. Currently living with Green Gecko organisation, he is also a skilled Bokator fighter and champion for persons with disabilities. Sokhim likes to stamp patterns on our recycled bullet casings and he’s quite adventurous with difficult designs, even if he has to come back for one month to complete them!
Ammo in the press
Our jewellery was featured in Eluxe magazine Issue 16: Visit their website for more details: http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/1521553
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