AK47s as accessories: Fonderie 47 turns guns into goods
by: Abernathy Miller
September 13, 2012
Turning an assault rifle into high-end jewelry seems as crazy as… well turning an assault rifle into high-end jewelry, but Fonderie 47’s founders, Peter Thum and John Zapolski, think this project will not only win over macabre jewelry connoisseurs, but also help decrease violence in Africa.
For all you do-gooders out there, if the name Peter Thum sounds familiar, it’s because he is the man behind Ethos Water, the proceeds of which helped fund water development in Africa. According to their site, while working on this project, the two men said they “learned first hand the devastating effects of assault rifles in Africa.” The duo then decided to “create something compelling and substantial,” they decided on high-end jewelry made out of destroyed AK47s.
One set of cufflinks destroys 100 assault rifles. Though the jewelry is super cool (and a bit film-noire,) at $35,000 a pop, the goods aren’t exactly “accessible.” Thum says there is a method to that $35,000 madness.
“We wanted the things that we made to in and of themselves be art,” he told GOOD Magazine. “Jewelry and art, those things are acquired by people with significant resources and influence to change things. We wanted to get leaders interested in what we were doing and make things that made people think, we felt that making pieces that were exceptional with this material would change the way that people thought about this material, not making things that were mundane or specifically engineered to achive a certain price.“
Both men hope that their project not only gets the guns out of the wrong hands, and brings up revenue for Mines Advisory Group, the Nobel Prize winning NGO (which the jewelry proceeds go to), but also by virtue of decreasing gun violence, allows economic projects in Africa to thrive.