Spare Some Coin Jewellery

In some circles jewellery is seen as portable wealth. Nomadic peoples, such as the Romany, had to carry their assets with them. Brits are fond of sovereign rings, which feature a gold coin set like a cameo. Wearing coins signifies lots of things: it shows that you have some wealth in a pretty straightforward way (especially to those who may not appreciate the subtle difference between an original Cartier design and a knock off), and you always know what a coin is worth.

I have a few pieces of money-bling. Pictured above is an English silver three-pence piece (for those who can only aspire to gold sovereigns) and and Indian 1/2 Rupee from 1876. I am particularly fond of the rupee ring because my great-grandfather James Bissett served in the British Army in India. I imagine that this is the sort of thing he might have brought back home to Scotland (and the kind of thing Moghul artisans made to sell to British soldiers as souvenirs).

Back when coins were made of silver and gold, jewellery makers also used them as raw materials. The Navajo silversmiths used to hammer silver coins into sheets to make rings, bangles and necklaces (even though it is illegal to deface U.S. currency. Other artisans liked to leave a bit of currency showing, like in the raised carving of the 1905 U.S. dime pictured below.