Samui Wining & Dining
NATURE’S VERY OWN ART GALLERY
Showcasing nature in the form of jewellery.


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Pretty jewellery always catches one’s eye, but beautiful jewellery intricately designed by an expert hand using natural products calls to your heart. If you’ve never been to Nature Art Gallery, make time for a visit. Their shop in Chaweng is a place of beauty, and you can easily spend hours admiring the unique pieces of jewellery and leather goods on display.

        Their main branch is located on Chaweng Beach Road opposite the new Central Festival shopping mall. Entering the shop is like walking into another world. A varnished wooden floor, trays of twinkling, shiny items laid out on glass tops resting on huge tree trunks, pretty things dangling from the ceiling and walls, and friendly staff to welcome you.

        The range of items on offer is astounding. Yes, they stock rings (for fingers and toes), bracelets, necklaces and earrings, but it’s the many different types and styles that blow you away. Most of their items are made right here on Samui, while others are made in Bali and Bangkok.

         Rather than having a section for each item, their displays showcase the style of jewellery. For instance, they have a ‘stingray skin’ section where you can find twisted bracelets with snakes or dragons, wallets and purses made

from glittering, coloured stingray skin. Women can choose from gorgeous rainbow colours for their bracelets and purses, and men have the choice of more manly greys, browns and blacks.

          Then there’s an ‘elephant hair’ section where you will find a selection of finely crafted sterling silver jewellery such as bracelets and rings combined with woven elephant hair. Something quite different and perhaps an ideal souvenir from Thailand? There is also a wonderful display of items made by Lou Guerin, an artist with more than 25 years’ experience working with leather in the form of shoes, bags, bracelets, and belts. Born in France, he has lived in Morocco, Spain, Mexico, New Zealand, and has now settled in Bali. The items showcased here are sterling silver, sometimes combined with horsehair. Unusual, yet very striking pieces.

          There is a display of hanging earrings using mother of pearl or power shell. Finely carved patterns with pretty designs, extremely light and, again, very unusual. Next to this display, you’ll find some finely crafted leather handbags, wallets, and purses made with the same passion and quality that can be seen so clearly in all their products.

          Nothing is ‘ordinary’ here. Take, for example, the jewellery with buffalo bone. In a world where ivory is a sore topic, buffalo bone is a more suitable alternative. Carved into pendants, rings, bracelets and earrings, these pieces are incredibly striking. As you’ve probably realised by now, Nature Art Gallery love to work with nature, and you’ll find only the most natural products used in any of their items. From the elephant hair, horse hair, stingray skin, shell and buffalo bone to the goat skin belts, you’ll find a deep respect for nature here.

          But along with all these natural products, you’ll also find crystals, and both precious and semi-precious stones. Trays of pretty, polished stones are laid out on glass table tops, and since both owners, Micha Trav and Shai Shalom Nissim, have extensive experience of working with stones, they are the perfect team to share their love of crystals. Shai has also worked extensively with silver jewellery in Japan, but has also studied massage, alternative medicine and energy work. Micha first began to work with stones in jewellery in India, but later found Koh Phangan to be the ideal place to share his creations as the island has natural crystal stores.

          That is probably why you won’t be surprised to find out that they have not one, but two shops on Koh Phangan, both in Haad Rin, which have been open for fifteen years. But don’t be fooled, you might think because the shop has a similar decor, that it stocks the same goods. But you’d be wrong, because you won’t find the same stock in these two shops. Each has different styles, different lines and a different atmosphere because, of course, it has different clientele. The same goes for their fourth shop which has just opened on the second level of the new Central Festival shopping mall, on Samui. You’ll recognise the shop instantly by the beautiful varnished tree stumps and glass display tops, but again you’ll find different products here to the other three shops. So if you find you like what you see in any of the other shops you visit, make sure you visit the others to really see the full range they have on offer. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, why not pop over to Koh Phangan for the day and visit their other two shops?

          Their main Chaweng branch also features a workshop that makes custom pieces, as well as offering a repair service. Choose one of the stones on offer and ask them to make it into a custom piece, or even take in a treasured piece of family jewellery and ask for it to be copied. The turn-around time is usually a few days so it’s easily completed during your holiday. The three goldsmiths that are based on Samui have a lifetime of experience, and one was even the official jeweller for the King of Nepal, so you know you’re in good hands.

          So don’t go home with the same old souvenir pieces that everyone does when visiting Thailand. Head home with a few items of beautifully unique jewellery found in nature’s very own art gallery.

          

 Colleen Setchell


 


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