Interested in Making a Coin Ring?
Looking for a fun afternoon and an introduction to some of the basic metalsmithing skills? Want to make a piece of custom jewelry that will start conversations? Do you want something to commemorate a year or a place? Did you bring coins back from a vacation? Do you have antique silver coins in a drawer that you’d rather wear and show off? If so, join us for an afternoon or evening workshop and we’ll walk you through turning a coin into a stunning ring that you made yourself.
"How are coin rings made at Annealed Studio?
During your coin ring workshop at Annealed Studio we’re going to walk you through the basic steps to make your own coin ring. Our goal is for you to enjoy yourselves, learn something about metalworking, and to help you finish a ring that you can wear proudly or give as a gift. During the 3-hour process we’ll walk you through the basic steps:
-- Selecting a coin
-- Punching a hole in the center – forming a “washer” shape.
-- Annealing the coin to soften the metal
-- Folding the "washer" into a cone
-- Stretching the cone into a cylinder
-- Shaping the ring
-- Finishing – sanding, polishing and applying patina
If it seems like a lot, don’t worry. We’ll walk you through it and you’ll do fine, even if you’ve never made jewelry. We guarantee it will be fun.
No preparation is required or expected. You can walk-in with no experience and leave with a beautiful coin ring. On the other hand, a bit of preparation can help you learn and enjoy the workshop that much more… read on!
Getting prepared for your coin ring workshop
At the start of the workshop we’re going to talk you through making the basic decisions regarding the ring you want to make. These decisions enable the variety of rings that you see made.
What coin are you going to make your ring from?
This is the basic question. Do you want a big ring? Or a small dainty one? Do you want a silver ring from a silver coin? Or a copper, nickel or brass ring? Do you have a coin that has personal meaning? A desired year? A coin from a trip? Although there are some exceptions, almost any coin can be made into a ring.
US quarters, half-dollars and dollar coins prior to 1964 were made of “Coin Silver”(90% silver and 10% copper), which makes a beautiful ring. More modern coins are made from copper coated with nickel or brass. These work well and make beautiful rings, but be aware that these metals tend to dull with age and can stain your fingers.
There are some exceptions. In particular Coins made out of steel, aluminum or zinc will not work.
Look at the detail around the outside edge of the coin. This detail will be displayed on the ring. If the coin is worn or damaged, that will also show on the ring.
If you don’t have a specific coin you are bringing with you, we have a selection of silver and non-silver coins available for purchase during the class. We can’t guarantee a specific year or state, but do have pre-1964 quarters, half dollars and dollars, silver proof state quarters, silver rounds, modern state quarters, half dollars and dollars.
What size ring are you making?
Are you making the ring for yourself? Or as a gift? If the ring is a gift, you’ll need to find out the correct ring size before you come. If you are making the ring for yourself we have ring size gauges and you can measure your fingers at the start of the class.
How wide do you want you want the band to be?
Depending on the size of the hole you punch in the coin, the ring can be made wider or narrower.
Heads or Tails?
One side of the coin (heads or tails) will become the outside of your ring. The other side will become the inside next to your finger. Which side of the coin has the detail that you want displayed? Do you want the year on the outside or inside? Which words or designs do you want on the outside.
Ring Shape? Flat or “Fat Tire”?
As we shape the ring, you’ll have a choice whether you want to target making a ring which is a flat band, or curved.
What Finish do you Like? Patinaed or Polished?
Do you want to polish your ring to a high shine? Or darken or antique it so that the design shows more clearly. There’s no wrong answer.
Seems like a lot to decide? We’ll help you through it during the workshop, or if you are more comfortable discussing in advance please feel free to contact us.
Coin Rings as an Introduction to Metalsmithing
Metalsmithing is a broad and daunting subject and many students look to try it out in a workshop setting before jumping. With coin ring making, you can get an easy and fun introduction to metalsmithing and Annealed Studio. During the workshop you’ll get to know the studio and become comfortable working with many of the metalsmithing tools, including acetylene torches, presses and buffers. You’ll learn basic differences between metals, and how to anneal and pickle. You’ll learn metal finishing techniques, including sanding, buffing and adding basic patinas.
Pre-Read (If you want to)
Coin rings are not unique to Annealed. There is a thriving online community of “coin crafters” experimenting, sharing and expanding the ways that jewelry can be made from coins. Spending time online can give you an appreciation for the craft, show you what is possible, and give you a high level understanding of the process so that you can learn more once you start working with the tools during the workshop. Here is a selection of my favorite communities and sites:
Coin Ring Tools
- The Coin Ring tools that we’ll use during the workshop were made by Jason Stinchfield. Jason’s website is a good overview of the tools used in the workshop and a source if you want to continue and buy your own tools.
- Jason also has a set of detailed videos on his YouTube site: Jason's Works on YouTube.
Coin Rings on Facebook
- The Coin Ring Crafters facebook group is a great place to read and learn.
Coin rings and Metalsmithing on You Tube
There is a broad selection of metalsmithing and coin ring making videos on youtube. Here are a few:
- A fun video showing the end to end process of making a coin ring “In 2 minutes”
Is making jewelry out of coins even Legal?
Short Answer: Yes it is Legal
Anyone who makes rings or other wearable art from coins gets asked this question frequently. The US law regarding defacing coins is intended to prevent counterfeiting or fraud (for example by removing some of the metal from the coin and then passing the diminished or altered coin off as having the full value of the original coin).
Specifically, Section 331 of Title 18 of the United States code provides criminal penalties for anyone who “fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined at the Mints of the United States.”
The key word is “Fraudulently”. As long as you are not trying pass the coin off as having monetary value that it does not, then it is legal.
A Final Note:
The quality of the finished rings varies based on the choices you make during the process, your own skills and the materials selected. Small variations in the metal can cause coins to act differently and coins can vary even within the same year. During the workshops we’ll do everything we can so that you leave with a ring you are happy with, but we can’t guarantee that every coin ring will turn out perfectly.
Some coins do break during this process – and it is your first time. You want to be comfortable and not worried about being perfect as you learn new skills. If you want to make a ring from a coin that has significant real or sentimental value, we recommend that you use the workshop to learn with a different coin, then come back during bench time to perfect your dream ring.