Inspired by his father's work as a carpenter, Shwe Win was keen to forge a career as a craftsman.
He begun learning the craft from his uncle Win Tin Aung and later worked as his assistant for several years as well as training as a Goldsmith with Turquoise Mountain.
For centuries, Myanmar goldsmiths were renowned for their hand-crafted jewellery. Nowadays, complex decorative designs using handmade filigree, open-wire work, and other traditional methods are hard to find and machine-made production dominates the offering. The skills needed to craft a jewellery piece by hand, from creating the right alloy to the polishing of the finished product are at risk of disappearing.
Decades of international isolation and sanctions have left Myanmar one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, with a third of the population living in poverty. Through technical, design, and business training, Turquoise Mountain is supporting over 400 artisans to connect to international markets, and to generate sustainable incomes. Turquoise Mountain’s apprenticeship program in Myanmar is also training the first generation of female goldsmiths in the country who learn from the masters of their craft.