There are an estimated 40 million guns in Africa. An estimated half of which are Soviet-designed Avtomat Kaliashnikova (aka AK47’s). AK’s are cheap to produce and do more far more damage than good, and yet for luxury brand-company Fonderie 47, founded by Peter Thum, and dedicated to eradicated guns, melting them down, and using them to make beautiful jewelry. The AK47 serves as the origin for all Fonderie 47 pieces.
Thum’s goal is that he eventually puts himself out of business. As of one month ago, in December 2012 Fonderie47 has contributed to the destruction of 25,000 weapons through partnerships with NGO UK-based Mines Advisory Group.
Weapons are never sourced or bought from combatants, but rather via weapons the UN has confiscated from combatants at the end of armed conflicts. Fonderie pays to have the guns melted down and the parts are then shipped to the United States where they have working partnerships with jewelry designers.
The Fonderie collection, currently designed by famed designers James de Givenchy and Philip Crangi, is well out of most pocket-books price range but the sentiment and the mission behind the company is a powerful one to think about. The Polished Antique Finish Earrings from Crangi’s Collection destroy 500 assault rifles in Africa.
We aren’t suggesting that you spend double-digit thousands of dollars on a piece of jewelry (unless you’re so inclined), but rather think about the social implications and what we can do when we think and act creatively in the face of terrible violence and other horrors.
Raven + Lily is a socially responsible brand dedicated to empowering women through design partnerships and sustainable economic opportunities, and they have partnered with farmers in the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, farmers supply who bead makers with artillery shells (from former war conflicts) that are found on their lands.
Creativity and problem solving go hand in hand, and together we can make the world a more beautiful and safe place.