Looking for the latest in baubles and bangles?
The North Miami Beach City Council has something for you. The council recently passed a unanimous resolution to partner with Caliber Collection, a company that turns illegal and unwanted guns into jewelry. The jewelry is made with the serial numbers of the guns and the metal from the shell casings.
The company started in 2012, working with the city of Newark to turn the guns, usually obtained through buyback and amnesty programs, into bangles, bracelets, cuffs and cuff links. Since then, Caliber has partnered with San Francisco, Detroit and Hartford, Connecticut.
The company says it has taken more than 1,000 illegal guns off the streets and has raised more than $100,000 for police departments in the four cities. Caliber says it donates 20 percent of the net proceeds to fund voluntary gun buyback and amnesty programs.
Caliber founder Jessica Mindich at first didn’t think it would take off.
“I wasn’t sure I would sell a bracelet beyond my loyal friends and family customer base. But I was incredibly proud of the collection and committed to the cause,” Mindich said.
North Miami Beach city attorney Jose Smith heard about the program from Miami-Dade County Judge Andrea Wolfson.
Once the guns are collected after a gun buyback, North Miami Beach will ship them to Caliber, which pays for shipping and turns them into jewelry with the city’s logo.
“This has developed into a cool and unique concept of recycling these unwanted guns and using the money to go back to the municipality,” Smith said. “We get free advertising for the city. I thought it was such a great thing.”
Councilwoman Barbara Kramer spearheaded the movement.
“It’s for all of us,” Kramer said. “We’re doing this for all of the 305 because anybody can come to us to sell guns for the buyback. People can actually be a part of getting guns off the street. It’s a win-win.
“I’m really proud of our city that we’re the first in the 305 to be doing this.’’
Mindich, who has started a foundation that supports victims of illegal gun violence, was clear about her goal of Caliber Collection.
“My ultimate goal with Caliber is to empower people to take action, talk about guns, gun violence and what we as individuals, parents and members of a community can do to address the problem,” Mindich said. “I always felt that gun violence was a problem that America as a whole needed to come together to address.”
Mindich said she is pleased with the North Miami Beach partnership.
“It is an incredible honor to be asked to serve and I am confident that this will be a very successful partnership.”
Mindich said the collection is in progress and will be launched in the fall.