This designer makes jewelry with real bullets to battle gun violence
Safety is a human right, yet oftentimes it doesn’t feel that way. Women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, minorities, and innocent bystanders are all too often victims of gun violence. That’s why jewelry designer Gina Raphaela uses bullets in her designs, to bring awareness to the issue of gun violence as she sparks a movement to make change.
"We wanted to put refurbished bullets into the world in a socially conscious way," Raphaela told TeenVogue.com in a December 14th interview. "It all funnels back to peace, inclusion and equality — the antithesis of the bullet as a symbol of violence."
Before she designed jewelry, Raphaela was a fine artist who began making “wearable art.” A client asked her to refashion one of her existing bullet designs into a ring, and the jewelry business took off from there.
The bullets used in the jewelry pieces are vintage, unused, and gun powder-free, TeenVogue.com writes. Some bullet designs are stamped with an empowering message like “No More,” or are crushed and rendered unusable.
"Whenever I wear a piece," Raphaela said, "I’m on the subway, and next thing I know I’m talking about these important issues with a complete stranger. It’s a dialogue generator."
The collection is also a donation generator. Raphaela donates 20% of her proceeds to charities providing safety services for those in need.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense and Stop Violence Against Women are two of the charities the creative works with.
The artist works alongside her partner of 20 years, Tina Alexis Allen. Allen is an activist, actress, and author of the book Hiding Out. In the future, both Raphaela and Allen are hoping to give back to communities impacted by gun violence — especially throughout the Trump presidency.
You can purchase your own Gina Raphaela creation and therefore help spread safety awareness via her website, www.ginaraphaelajewelry.com.