THE AGE-OLD call to beat swords into ploughshares is being honoured in New Jersey by turning bullets into bling.

Guns and shell casings seized by the Newark police are being melted down and made into bracelets by a jewellery company. A portion of proceeds from each sale goes to fund gun buy-back amnesty programmes in the city.

The firm, Jewelry for a Cause, worked with Newark mayor Cory Booker and the city police chief to design the “Caliber Collection”.

It features steel bangles and cuffs, each engraved with the serial number of the illegal gun it was fashioned from. Brass pieces are made from casings swept from crime scenes in the city, which has a serious gun violence problem.

The sleek, simple line by designer Jessica Mindich had raised more than $20 000 (R178 000) since its debut on November 28 last year, Booker said last week.

The jewellery and buy-back programmes were “not a cure-all, but everybody has the power to do something little, something small to make a difference”, he said.

The collection has gained added attention since the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut prompted President Barack Obama to launch the biggest US gun control push in generations.

Cuffs and bracelets range in price from $150 for a steel cuff to $375 for a brass bangle with diamonds. – Reuters