High Caliber Cause Marketing

In cities prone to gun violence, gun buyback programs can effectively take guns off the street. The challenge is in funding the cost of the buybacks. Now cause marketing is lending a helping hand to the gun buyback program in Newark, New Jersey, a city of 275,000 about 10 miles west of Manhattan.

Here’s how it works:

Jewelry for a Cause, headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut buys shredded handguns from the city of Newark. It then melts the steel, aluminum and other metal alloys that makeup handguns and transforms them into a jewelry collection called Caliber. Pieces from the collection… expected to include rings, necklaces and bracelets… go on sale this summer at JewelryforaCause.net and are priced from $150 to $5,000.

Jewelry for a Cause is the brainstorm of corporate-lawyer-turned-jeweler Jessica Mindich, who has donated 20 percent of proceeds from several of her lines to causes including the Alzheimer’s Association, American Red Cross, and DoSomething.org.

Newark has long had a reputation as one of America’s most violent cities. Although violent crimes have been trending downward in the city for more than 10 years, it’s still about than 15 percent more violent than the United States as a whole and almost 200 percent more violent than the rest of New Jersey as a whole.

In November 2009 Newark offered a no-questions-asked gun buyback that yielded 280 guns at an average price of around $200. The $50,000 budgeted then was gone in three days, according to press reports.

During the 2010 buyback … the last time it took place… people received $350 per gun. Jewelry for a Cause took the metal from 250 guns for Caliber. That suggests it paid around $87,500 for the raw material. Assuming each gun averages around 28 ounces, Jewelry for a Cause bought about 7,000 ounces of metal for about $12.50 an ounce. No steel or aluminum on the planet costs that much per ounce.

For the sake of comparison, yesterday’s spot gold price was $1665 an ounce. Silver was $31 an ounce.

But, of course, Jewelry for a Cause wasn’t looking for just any steel or aluminum for its Caliber line. The back story of the Newark metal will help Mindich sell Caliber.

In short, cause marketing comes to the rescue again!