You’ll Never Believe What These Bracelets Are Made From [Q&A]

Jessica Mindich talks to Goodnet about her jewelry collection, which takes upcycling to a whole new level.

Feb 11, 2016
The Caliber Collection bracelets

The Caliber Collection was founded by Jessica Mindich to help take illegal guns off the streets

Jessica Mindich is doing something extraordinary. The jewelry designer has found a way to address a larger social issue with something so simple and so profound - a bracelet.

Mindich is the founder of the jewelry company, The Caliber Collection - a series of cuff, bracelets and cufflinks made with the metal from shell casings collected from crime scenes, gun buybacks, or amnesty programs. Her elegant, sleek designs are more than an accessory - they’re a statement.

In this week’s 10 Good Questions, Mindich explains how she’s transforming destruction into design and taking illegal guns off the streets - one bracelet at a time.  

1. What is your organization’s mission?

The Caliber Collection began in January 2012 in collaboration with the Mayor of Newark, NJ, Cory Booker, as a way to turn illegal and unwanted guns into jewelry. The vision was simple yet profound. By transforming instruments of destruction into jewelry, the Caliber Collection could create a virtuous cycle by funding gun buyback and amnesty programs from the proceeds of its sales. To date, the Caliber Collection has taken over 1,000 illegal guns off the streets and raised approximately $100,000 for police departments in Newark, Hartford, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Detroit – all from the sales of our products to customers in over 85 countries.

2. What makes you guys different from the rest?

The Caliber Collection is a series of cuffs, bracelets and cufflinks engraved with serial numbers from illegal guns and created with the metal from shell casings that have been swept from crime scenes or turned over during gun buyback and amnesty programs. Twenty percent of the net proceeds from all pieces sold are used to fund public safety initiatives designed to reduce illegal gun violence nationwide. We are also 100 percent made in the USA.

3. What three words describe your organization?

Warriors, innovators, collaborators.

4. What inspires you?

Knowing that I am making an impact.

Mayor Cory Booker and Jessica Mindich

The Caliber Collection began as a partnership between Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker and Jessica Mindich 

5. Who's your favorite good doer figure?

Well, it was my father who instilled in me the core value of philanthropy. But it’s the people who work to address illegal gun violence on the frontlines who are my heroes. I also have to give a special shoutout to Dr. Gary Slutkin who started Cure Violence, an organization that works to stop the spread of violence in communities by using the methods and strategies associated with disease control.

6. What is the best part about your job?

Being able to stand at a gun buyback program that we have been privileged to fund and see weapons turned in voluntarily.

7. How do you measure success within your organization?

A few ways.

Financially: We see how much money we are able to donate to the police departments with whom we partner as a result of the sales of the Caliber Collection.

Customer Service: We hear the feedback we get from our customers about how wearing an item from the Caliber Collection makes them feel powerful, hopeful, peaceful, part of change.

Education: I spend a lot of time speaking in middle schools and high schools about how to make an impact and give back to your community in a meaningful way. I also write a lot about illegal gun violence in America and interview many of the amazing people with whom I have had the privilege meet through my work as a guest editor on crime for the Huffington Post and a frequent contributor to mariashriver.com.

Jessica Mindich speaks at event for The Caliber Collection

Mindich frequently speaks at different venues and events in support of removing illegal guns from the streets 

8. Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook and Twitter and Instagram! Social media is a really important tool for us to keep our clients up-to-date with our philanthropic work, news in the world of illegal gun violence and of course, new designs!

9. What do you want Goodnet users to know about your organization?

There is no act too small to make a difference.

Reconnect with your family and your community. Is there anything happening on social media that is upsetting your kids? Ask your children about their friends. If you learn that a child of a family in your school is going through a tough time see if you can offer some kind of support. If you hear that a classmate of your child's is suddenly acting out inappropriately or has had a series of unexplained absences, then talk to the administration and make sure that they are aware of it. This is not being nosy. This is being a concerned parent.

If you work out at a gym, talk to the management about offering passes to the local Boys and Girls clubs and organizing special classes that will appeal to their age group and interests. Not only will this keep kids off the streets, but it will also help with their self-esteem. If you have time to be a Big Brother or Big Sister...DO IT. A positive role model is missing from the lives of so many at-risk youth.

If you work at a company that has the ability to give internship programs, ask that an effort is made to recruit from inner city schools. It is a fact that gun violence rises dramatically during the summer months. If you have any creative talents such as music, art, or dance, look into volunteering at an after-school or weekend program. And, if you have money, but maybe not the time - give. Look into scholarship programs, see if you can contribute to a food bank, help repair community athletic facilities.

It is impossible to refute that if we spend more time and effort thinking about the needs of others, it will lead to a stronger support system for those who are tempted to pick up a gun no matter what their motivation.

10. How can people get involved?

Email us at info@calibercollection.com, donate to the Caliber Foundation, and, of course, purchase something from our collection.

Mirele writes about everything related to doing good, with a particular interest in volunteering and social entrepreneurship, informed by her background in eco tourism.

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