How is Organic Palm Jewelry Made?
Unlike many other materials used in the production of jewelry, crafting designs out of palm seeds requires considerable skill, time and human effort. Each seed must go through multiple processes, from collection and drying to shaping and polishing, before a finished product can be hand-crafted. Because of the unique characteristics of each seed and each palm species, crafting palm seed jewelry is a labor-intensive process that generates employment opportunities in the Siem Reap region.
Here are some of the basic steps.
Seeds can be collected directly from trees after reaching maturity or after they have fallen to the ground. Harvesting seeds from the foot of palm trees must be done quickly to avoid any deterioration, which could impact the final quality of the product. All our seeds undergo rigorous quality checks before production begins.
After harvesting, seeds must be dried. The seeds are spread on the ground and dried naturally under the sun, ensuring a minimal carbon footprint and a natural product. The drying period, which varies depending on the seeds, seed variety and other environmental factors, can last from two to six months.
Once the seeds are fully dry and hardened, they can be shaped into pearls and beads. Various techniques are used depending on the size and variety of the seeds. Some are simply shorn of their protective shells while others must be sculpted to reveal their beauty.
After shaping, the seeds are sanded to remove any tooling marks and to enhance the uniformity of the bead shape. Some small seeds can be sanded directly after drying. In this case, sanding gives them their final shape.
The sanded palm beads are usually various shades of white or cream. As an organic material, they can be tinted to achieve different colors. The pearls are soaked and heated for several hours in a dye bath, similar to the way cotton is dyed. Organic, natural and environmentally-safe dyes are used in order to avoid any risk of allergies.
The seeds are first assembled into their final design before being buffed and polished. A cotton disc rotating at high speed is used to create a fine, smooth surface and to bring them to a radiant shine.