Last year, Philadelphia police took 3,400 guns off the streets. Those guns–some of which were used to commit the city’s 331 murders last year–sit peacefully in bins in the police department. Normally, they would be destroyed, and the bins would then slowly fill up again. But a company called Liberty United is doing something different with these reminders of our society’s violence: turning them into jewelry.
“These pieces are sort of an invitation to say that this is one way that you can express what you think about gun violence in this country and reducing it,” says Liberty United’s founder, Peter Thum. Thum, who founded Ethos Water, has been making art from guns for a long time with his company Fonderie 47, which takes guns from child soldiers in Africa and turns them into jewelry.
But Liberty United’s pieces come with a smaller price tag and focus on an issue closer to home (Snoop Dogg is working on a similar project). Each item has the gun’s serial number still imprinted on it, as well as the words “Remade In The United States.” As Philip Crangi, a jewlery designer, says: “I make things, and if I can combine that with this idea of the actual material that we use used to be an implement of violence and now it’s a thing of beauty, that’s where I can fit into the story.” A world with fewer guns and more jewelry seems like one we can all get behind.