the blog of jewelry designer

February 8, 2012

Elephants in Thailand

The past month has been a whirlwind! I recently spent a week in Thailand in January to collaborate with my artisan groups and to get inspired for designing the Spring 2013 collection. I designed, met more amazing people through my generous local friends, and gemstone-shopped. But the most amazing part of my trip happened during the few days I took to get away at the start of my trip, focusing on stepping away from work, work, work.

Those who know me know my passion for animals, and therefore understand why bathing, feeding, and spending time with abused elephants at the Elephant Nature Park north of Chiang Mai in the Mae Taeng Valley was such a powerful experience for me.

My day of volunteering was informative, emotional, and spiritual. The kind staff of Lek Chailert's Elephant Nature Park taught our squad of volunteers the cruel and inhumane tactics that tourist attractions in Southeast Asia use to subordinate elephants mere days after they are born. Lek's mission is to increase awareness about the plight of the endangered Asian elephant, educate locals on the humane treatment of their elephants, and provide sanctuary for rescued elephants.

Lek's Elephant Nature Park allows its rescued elephants to live the life of an elephant. No longer do they have to paint pictures with their trunks, play the drums, or perform demeaning circus tricks. They are not made to carry heavy benches on their backs, which can deform and even break an elephant's spine. They are no longer forced into submission with implements such as "the hook" and they are not chained during the day.

Feeding and bathing these elephants was symbolic to me of how simple life is when we let it be. A few seconds of eye contact with one of these abused elephants was a powerful reminder to me of how all beings are truly connected.

To support this worthy cause through volunteering or donations, please click here to visit Elephant Nature Foundation's website.


  1. I am a huge fan of your jewelry and now of your philanthropic endeavors. I love elephants and all animals too. What a great experience...thank you for sharing.

  2. I still have an elephant ring you gave to me when you were in High school .... because I mentioned I liked it when you wore it. It does not fit me .... would you like to have it back??? It does apply to my Republican leanings .... and makes me think of you .... it's a wide band, silver and gold colored with 3 or 4 elephants on it ...

    Hugs, Elizabeth!

    Cindy Pierce "Knox" Mackinnon

  3. I treasure each piece of your jewelry that I have. I also feel a connection to your inspirations. I live in Oklahoma, but had an opportunity to live in Asia last year. My son spent a week at the same elephant rescue in Chang Mai. It was an experience that changed him forever. I will continue to collect your pieces and value them even more knowing the what drives your inspirations. Many thanks.