Seized bullets and guns become bling

MARY BARR MANN
Last updated 10:45 21/01/2013
 Bracelets from Jewellery for a Cause.
Reuters
BLING BLING: Bracelets from Jewellery for a Cause. The are made from guns and bullets recovered during the Newark Police Department's buyback program.

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The age-old call to beat swords into ploughshares is being answered in Newark, New Jersey by turning bullets into bling.

Guns and shell casings seized by the Newark Police are being melted down and made into bracelets by a jewellery company. A portion of proceeds from each sale goes to fund gun buy-back amnesty programs in New Jersey's largest city.

The company, Jewellery for a Cause, worked with Newark Mayor Cory Booker and the city police chief to design the "Calibre Collection".

It features steel bangles and cuffs, each engraved with the serial number of the illegal gun it was fashioned from. Brass pieces are made from casings swept from crime scenes in the city, which has a serious gun violence problem.

The sleek, simple line by designer Jessica Mindich has raised more than US$20,000 (NZ$23,900) since its debut on November 28, Booker said on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.

He said the jewellery and buy-back programs are "not a cure-all, but everybody has the power to do something little, something small to make a difference."

The collection has gained added attention since the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut prompted USPresident Barack Obama to launch the biggest US gun control push in generations.

The Calibre Collection is "a series of pieces that embody the gun's transformation from a destructive weapon to a powerful symbol of renewal," the Connecticut-based jewellery maker says on its website JewelryForACause.net.

Cuffs and bracelets are available with or without diamonds and range in price from US$150 (NZ$179) for the steel cuff to US$375 (NZ$448) for the brass bangle with diamonds.

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- AP

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