Assault rifles are a big problem in war-torn countries in Africa and threaten any potential for development.
But American entrepreneurs Peter Thum and John Zapolski decided to do something about that when they co-founded Fonderie 47, a luxury company that converts AK-47s into cufflinks, earrings and rings to help rid African countries of the deadly weapon.
The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo supplied the rifles, which they confiscated from the North Kivu Province. Then jewelers Philip Crangi and Roland Iten melted down the metal and reconfigured it with gold into unique designs. Etched into each piece of jewelry is the serial number of the weapon it was made from.
Mr. Thum tells New York Times:
“We saw the AK-47 as an opportunity because it’s such a successful design,” he said. “It’s something that’s globally recognizable. What better way to turn things around than with this object, which represents so many things ugly, and turn it into something beautiful?”
The jewelry has a high price tag, though. Rings start at $25,000 and earrings cost about $23,000 a pair.
Some of the proceeds from sales go to the Fonderie 47 Foundation, which finances nongovernmental organizations responsible for destroying assault weapons. And of course, each piece of jewelry made contributes to the destruction of a number of assault weapons.
Photo: Fonderie 47