GREENWICH, Conn. – Stopping gun violence and making jewelry may seem like unrelated activities, but Greenwich resident Jessica Mindich is hammering out a connection between the two.
Mindich makes jewelry out of reclaimed metal from guns and bullet shell casings taken off the streets of Newark, N.J. Her line of jewelry, the Caliber Collection, features bracelets made from the reclaimed steel and brass. The serial number of the gun the metal came from is stamped on it, as well as the city it was reclaimed in.
“The bangles are all hand-hammered because we want to see it takes the hard work of individuals to get illegal guns off the streets,” Mindich said.
Funds raised from sales of the Caliber Collection, which ranges in price from $150 to $350, support the expansion of gun buy-back and amnesty programs in Newark and, Mindich hopes, other cities across the nation.
Mindich says she hopes the metal bangles will catch on in popular culture the way the yellow rubber Livestrong bracelets did.
A former lawyer and a mother of two children, Mindich started her company, Jewelry for a Cause in 2008. The Caliber Collection is her latest line.
She got the idea for the jewelry line when she had the opportunity to meet with Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, N.J., through a mutual friend this past spring. During their conversation, the topic of gun violence came up.
“At first I felt silly being a jewelry designer talking to the mayor of what was once one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S.,” Mindich said. “But I realized that there were ways I could help and he was really excited.”
Two weeks later Mindich was in a ballistics lab in Newark collecting shredded gunmetal from an officer who told her he never thought he’d see guns used in the way Mindich intended.
“You don’t realize how many people’s lives are affected by gun violence,” Mindich said. “I am really proud to have an opportunity to do this and work with Mayor Booker.”
If the bangles are a success, Mindich hopes to add earrings, necklaces and many other pieces of jewelry to the collection.
“One thing is for sure: I’ll never run out of metal to work with,” she said. “And that’s a sad, but true comment.”
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