Ancient Coin Earrings

by Rena Klingenberg.

Ancient coin earrings, created with bronze Chinese coins from around the year 1000 A.D. - paired with rustic stick pearls

Ancient coin earrings, created with bronze Chinese coins from around the year 1000 A.D. – paired with rustic stick pearls

On the back of the coins, I created little spiral rosettes as a decorative way to finish off the ends of the wrap wires

On the back of the coins, I created little spiral rosettes as a decorative way to finish off the ends of the wrap wires

Making coin jewelry

Making coin jewelry

What stories these ancient coins could tell!

What stories these ancient coins could tell!

These ancient coin earrings are going to be my sister’s birthday gift.

The focal point of the earrings is a slightly mis-matched pair of 1,000-year-old bronze Chinese coins.

I decided to do a mixed-metal design, using sterling silver wire since my sister prefers to wear white metals.

I originally planned to oxidize the silver for a rustic, aged look that would be more in keeping with the ancient bronze.

But I was concerned about doing anything that might affect the bronze coins’ wonderful patina, which was a thousand years in the making.

So I’ll recommend to my sister that she just let the silver tarnish naturally over time, without trying to keep it shiny.

As the silver darkens, I hope the earrings will begin to look like an archaeological find.

I decided to give these ancient coin earrings a sort of primitive style, with messy wirework that will acquire more character as the wire oxidizes naturally:


One of the fun things about making coin jewelry is wondering about the past.

Did these coins jingle in someone’s pocket long ago, or were they carried in a silk purse? What things did people purchase with them? Were these ever made into jewelry before, sometime during the past ten centuries?

Rena Klingenberg


Way Cool!
by: Michelle B.

These earrings are a great mix! I think your sister will love them! And, they’ll go with anything so she’ll be able to wear them year round, dressed up or down – perfect!

I especially love the wire coils you put on the back. That’s a great way to finish them and it really adds to their character!

And of course, since pearls are my favorite, I think you picked the perfect stone! Elegance with a rustic edge,….what more could you want!?!

Lucky sister you have! πŸ™‚

MiShel Designs

by: Ralph Andersson

Very nice

Ancient Coin Earring
by: Anonymous

What a nice touch Rena and I like your imagination as a story thread to go with it:)


Ancient times
by: kate

I love the story with these earrings. I would love to see them when the silver has naturally darkened and to see the contras then with the pearls. The back of the wirework is really neat with those little flowers something that I would like to copy.
Lovely earrings, your sister will be delighted and cherish them.

Thank you!
by: Rena

Thanks so much to all of you for your kind feedback!

Working with these old coins was wonderful – you can almost feel the murmurs of the past when you touch them.

I can’t wait to see them when the silver has darkened.

Love those earrings
by: Marcy Bell

It’s too late now, but you can always oxidize your wire before you make the jewelry. A little of the patina wears off during the construction process, but it tends to look nice anyway, and you wouldn’t have to worry about interaction with any other metal or bead. The earrings are gorgeous!

“natural” oxidation
by: Heather PM

To “age” the silver, you might consider using a freshly hard boiled egg coarsely chopped – put it into a plastic or glass bowl with the jewelry. Cover tightly. Natural sulphur from the egg will give a patina without the hard chemicals found in liver of sulphur.

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  1. Blanche Nonken says:

    @heather PM:

    I wonder now. If I have silver wire or findings I need to tarnish, and a batch of hard boiled eggs to make – if I toss the silver in with the eggs boiling (my household eats a LOT of hard boiled eggs! Cheap high-protein snacks for the kids) will it make the eggs toxic? I wouldn’t think so; my mom used to boil hers in a big aluminum pot, and none of us have medical issues related to that. πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Blanche! It’s generally considered not safe to eat eggs (or other food projects) after they’ve been involved in oxidizing or patina processes. You never know what kinds of toxins may have been generated during the patina process, and deposited on the eggs / other food involved. If it helps, here’s my easy tutorial for how to oxidize sterling silver and copper with boiled eggs.

    In that tutorial I also mention “Don’t eat the eggs used in the oxidization process. Instead, boil a few extra eggs for eating when you boil the ones you’ll use for oxidizing your metal. πŸ™‚ ”

    I hope this helps! πŸ™‚

  3. Blanche Nonken says:

    It does! Thank you. πŸ™‚ Oh look, there’s some copper I just annealed. Crafts shows coming up!

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