“We saw the AK-47 as an opportunity because it’s such a successful design,” [Peter] 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?” So Mr. Thum and Mr. Zapolski set up Fonderie 47. The partners acquired AK-47s that the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo had confiscated from its North Kivu Province. The receivers, barrels and other steel components were melted down and reconfigured with gold into designs by the jewelers Philip Crangi and Roland Iten.