Ukrainian jewelers are determined to do more than survive.
In May, during a brief respite from the Russian rockets that had been hitting Kharkiv, Ukraine, Stanislav Drokin walked out of his jewelry atelier in his hometown’s city center to collect bomb fragments.
Mr. Drokin has lived in the atelier since Feb. 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine. He moved there with his wife, Ludmila, along with two families of friends because it was too dangerous to remain at their home in Saltivka, a neighborhood in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.
Within a few weeks, however, everyone fled except for Mr. Drokin, who is 53 and, like all Ukrainian men from ages 18 to 60, is prohibited from leaving the country. (Ludmila joined the couple’s daughter, Alina, in Berlin, while the other families dispersed across Ukraine.)
For the first two months Mr. Drokin dedicated all his time to volunteering in the war effort. He allowed the atelier, which serves as both a production facility and showroom, to take on a third, de facto role: storage space for medicine and food.
Sorting and taking inventory of the supplies occupied most of his time. By mid-May, however, when the volunteer movement became more organized, Mr. Drokin was able to resume his jewelry practice.
Many members of the Ukrainian jewelry community — those who remain in the country and those in refuge abroad — said the war had motivated them to support Ukraine’s jewelry industry like never before.