I wear three rings every day. One of them was given to me by my dad when I was about 20. It’s been all over the world with me and doubles as a fancy brass knuckle. The second one was also given to me by my dad (he has good taste in jewelry) and it’s a green saguaro cactus, set in silver. It reminds me of home.
The last one I wear is a silver Temple Ring from Jane Heng. It’s made in Cambodia, ticks all the right boxes for sustainably and ethically produced silver, and it’s so pretty.
I was in Bangkok for the weekend and, per usual, I got back and exploded all my stuff onto the living room floor. Then, I couldn’t find my ring. Like any rational 32-year-old woman who can find her shiny something, I started to cry.
Before you are all “Grow the eff up, Decker” I will tell you why.
If you have ever talked to me about Cambodia, you know I have a very special place in my heart for it. You also know that it makes me absolutely bonkers. To me, it’s that family member that absolutely refuses to get his shit together, asks you to fix it, throws small appliances at you when you try, and then goes on a bender for three days because you don’t love him enough. Sometimes you just want to punch him in his big, dumb face. But you do love him, and if anyone makes fun of him, they get punched in their big, dumb face.
A lot of the most frustrating feelings come from the way people have been treated, and how the government operates. These are topics that I couldn’t even begin to cover here, but if you want to understand why Cambodia is the way it is, look it up.
Cambodia has been through a helluva lot, including a regime that specifically tried to smash the art, music, and soul out of the culture. Today, people are working incredibly hard to make this place wonderful again. Pieces of lost culture come back a little bit at a time via recipes, songs, and art. Phnom Penh is now home to some of the most creative, kind, and inspiring people I have ever met.
To me, the Temple Ring represents the grace, the history, the resilience, and the stubborn beauty of a country that refuses to be defined by the past, and instead, keeps moving forward. It’s a physical reminder of hope, and reminds me why I am here. So the thought of it being gone was the equivalent of me physically losing hope. (I know this is dramatic, but it was also one of those days when I ate half a sheet pan of brownies, so have some stuff going on. Leave me alone.)
I found the ring. It was on the dresser, in the ring dish my mom gave me. Good story, huh.
The good news is, we are holding on to some of Jane’s beautiful jewelry while she is in Australia, drinking good coffee and cruising fashion week. If you are in need of something shiny, and potentially overly sentimental, let us know.