The Art of Money Conversion


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Some people are literally turning quarters into $20 Bills. It is not a scam or a magic trick, but a time-honored tradition.

Coin Piercing, a. k. a. cut-coin jewelry, dates back to the 17th century where by noblemen would partake in the fine and delicate art specifically to impress their true loves. “Cut Coin Jewelry” is the modern way to describe this artistic form of money conversion. There are various ways to describe jewelry made from coins. But no matter how one describes it, this art form is labor intensive and remarkable. An artist may begin with a quarter coin, but in the end it is transformed into a piece of artwork. A small coping saw is used to fashion each piece. A series of holes are drilled into a coin and a very fine blade is threaded through the hole and that section is carved out. This is repeated with each hole until the entire design is revealed. A vise is used to firmly hold the coin while it is being carved. Each piece is polished and possibly gold plated, partially for a two-tone effect, or completely gold plated.

According to Morning Glory Antiques, “coin jewelry goes way back in history. Between the 1880s and World War II, it was particularly popular to etch and decorate coins by hand to create floral motifs and initials. " Pieces like this are often called “sweetheart jewelry". This idea had sailors and soldiers bringing these back to their sweethearts. Coins would be worked over, smoothed, possibly engraved by hand with names, dates, designs or initials. Occasionally, even enameling was used as a highlight. Some jewelry uses the coin as-is, with no engraving. Coins may be pierced and joined as necklaces and bracelets, or mounted as brooches, rings and earrings.

This artform is growing in popularity. Mark Soukup was introduced to cut coin jewelry while visiting an arts and crafts show in Seal Beach, California in the mid-1990’s. Knowing that he would someday move to an island where free time and no focus will ruin many a good man, he began to learn this form of craftsmanship, which enhances the inherent value and beauty of coins. To view Mark Soukup’s “coined artistry”, please visit his Coin Jewelry Store, where on-line purchases can be made using Paypal: Coined Artistry by Mark Soukup

Solomon Mandrake- Freelance Writer


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