Chiang Mai in Thailand can easily be dubbed the "City of Temples," as over 300 Buddhist temples populate the city.
Built for the purpose of uniting people within the community, Chiang Mai temples are multifaceted acting as centers of culture, literature, history, religion, and art. Thailand is also the home of featured jewelry designer Sirilak Samanasak.
Samanasak--also known as Khun Boom--possesses an infectious exuberance. At age 30, she readily embraced all that life has offered.
"My parents divorced when I was 5, and my father died 7 years later. I started working to help my mom with some loans. Even though I missed my father, I'm thankful for the experience because it made me stronger, and helped me to face challenges," she recalls.
"My mother took good care of me and my younger sister and she put us through school. She has such a beautiful heart and soul, and I am so grateful for her support."
Despite her challenges, Samanasak's love for art and design developed early with exposure to Thailand's incredible architecture and art. Fueled by her mother's love and support, she attended Chiang Mai's Institute of Technology receiving a degree in Fine Arts.
From there she exploded into the world of jewelry design accepting a position in 1998 with an exporter of silver and gold jewelry. "I learned about international aesthetics and designs. It gave me a broader inspirational base for my own design work."
In 2004, she accepted a position with a design house located in the United Kingdom. Here she designed an array of diverse, elegant pieces to compliment designer clothing. "I am so grateful for that opportunity. I gained so much knowledge and saw the world. An opportunity is like a lucky bird, it might come by just once or a few times, but when it does embrace it."
Samanasak's wealth of knowledge and exposure to varied aesthetics comes through in her pieces. There is no shortage of adjectives. Her jewelry is contemporary, minimalist, delicate, and tranquil.
She has a remarkable ability to create buoyant, ethereal pieces. The aptly named Sublime Earrings feature pale blue chalcedony drops suspended from sterling sliver wires; while her Luminous Earrings are beautiful wire wrap hoops with soft, rose quartz drops.
There are stunning, intricate pieces in gold vermeil offset with luscious garnet drops. Samanasak also incorporates a hint of edginess by suspending some of her pendants with a leather cord.
For her men's wristbands, such as her Floral Chimes Wristband, leather is no longer an accent but the focus. Understated, small floral patterns are etched into soft, brown leather and a small silver bell is incorporated as the band's fastener.
"My love for art is ingrained in my personality and it comes through in the care, love, and attention to detail that I put in every piece I design."
Photo 1 (top right): Gold Vermeil Forbidden Fruit Hoop Earrings with Garnet Drop
Photo 2 (bottom left): Subtle Necklace with Rose Quartz Drop and Sterling Silver Spiral