This gift gets guns off the streets -- and turns them into something beautiful

By Alex Apatoff
December 04, 2013 11:55 PM

Courtesy Caliber

You’ve already started busily bookmarking our gift guide, but this December, we’re also going to draw your attention to great gifts that also give back — to the community, to children, to the world around us. Check them out, and share your favorite gifts that give in the comments.

Newark, N.J. has long had one of the highest crime rates in the country, and Mayor Cory Booker was determined to do something about that. He created a gun amnesty buyback program for the city, in which people could turn in their illegal guns for money and no penalty, but the question remained: What to do with the guns?

Enter Jessica Mindich, a jewelry designer from Conn., who had the idea to use the melted brass and steel from the destroyed guns to create elegant jewelry stamped with the serial numbers of the guns from which they’d been made. Her Caliber Collection designs — and the greater collection, Jewelry for a Cause — have become wildly popular, even catching Oprah’s eye. And that’s good news, because not only do the proceeds go to funding more buybacks, but they also benefit an impressive list of charities and schools.

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From that first collection of bracelets and cuffs, Mindich has expanded to include a San Francisco collection (which benefits the nearby community of Pittsburg, Calif.) as well as cufflinks (seen above on Covert Affairs‘ Christopher Gorham) and Mindich only plans to keep growing. Want to aid in her efforts to turn guns into something beautiful? The bangles start at $150, and you can check out the entire collection here. As Mindich says, “There’s more than one way your jewelry box can be a source of pride.”