It’s no secret that gun control is an enormous—and enormously controversial—issue in our country. But according to Liberty United founder Peter Thum, it’s a problem we can all take baby steps towards solving. Thum’s innovative accessories brand recycles illegal guns and turns them into beautiful jewelry—and then uses the proceeds to help reduce gun violence in the U.S. Earlier this year, Liberty United tapped Philip Crangi of Giles & Brother to design a range of pieces made from these repurposed firearms; now, it’s CFDA Award winner Pamela Love‘s turn. Tasked with creating her own collection of baubles for a cause, Love combined gunmetal and bullet casings with sterling silver and various types of steel to rework some of her own greatest hits, from her smash-hit talon cuff to her Aeternum rings and pendants. Each of the pieces in the collaboration (which is priced from $215 to $1,545) bears the serial number of the illegal gun used to create it, and in keeping with Liberty United’s mission, 20 percent of the profits from the team-up will fund community programs committed to fighting gun violence.
We spoke with both Pamela Love and Peter Thum about their unique philanthropic partnership. Read on to learn more about how their collaborative jewelry came to be!
Lucky: How did this collaboration come about? Who approached whom?
Peter Thum: I’d heard about Pamela and her work many times before we met—and when we finally did, we had an immediate connection and a great conversation. We knew at the end of that first meeting that we both definitely wanted to collaborate on a collection.
Pamela Love: Liberty United reached out to me through a mutual friend. I was already familiar with what they were doing with Giles & Brother, so the opportunity to work with them was very exciting.
Can you describe the production process for these pieces? It’s certainly not a typical method of making jewelry…
PT: The illegal guns and bullets come to us from the police departments in our partner communities. They collect them from either guns that are released from evidence in a criminal case, or that were collected from a gun buyback program. The guns are then destroyed by a metal recycler that chops or crushes them, or by a steel foundry that melts them down. The spent bullet shell casings that we use come from the same sources in the police departments. The process to produce Liberty United jewelry pieces depends largely upon what type of piece we are making; when we make pieces with bullets, we actually cut up the bullets and melt them down to make brass. We also do this with our solid steel pieces. When we make sterling silver pieces, we melt down the gun parts into ingots and from these we produce a further refined gun metal that we integrate into the jewelry.
On a more serious note, what message do you hope to send with this collection?
PL: I really want to help bring awareness to the issue of gun control. I was very excited to work on this project with Peter and Liberty United, as their mission is unique and progressive, and a great way to help affect positive change. I hope more people start moving in this direction.
PT: Liberty United aims to reduce gun violence in the USA by creating a virtuous circle. It gives people an opportunity to literally turn something negative into something positive by transforming illegal guns into beautiful jewelry made by some of the finest designers and craftspeople in the world. In turn, their purchases fund programs to reduce gun violence. Gun violence in America is a difficult issue—but every problem that seems too big, too complex, is ultimately solved by individuals taking action. We’re taking action and offering people a chance to take action with us.
Click through above to shop the entire Pamela Love for Liberty United collection.