Wednesday, September 17, 2008

make a coin charm bracelet

When I was about 14 my parents came home from a vacation from Europe with all these cool coins. I had to find a way to wear them, so I rummaged around in my mom's old 'dress up' jewelry box (items she donated to us girls to wear for playtime) and found this fantastic, hugely long silver necklace like they wore in the 70s. It had double links and a heavy feel.

So I took it downstairs and frankensteined it into a bracelet at my dad's greasy workbench in the garage. I chopped it off to bracelet length and re-attached the clasp. I'm sure my method left a lot to be desired, and I knew absolute beans about making jewelry, but the end result looked and functioned like a bracelet and I was quite proud of myself.

I had to ask my Dad to drill tiny holes in all the coins and he obliged. Then I attached them all to the bracelet using additional rings I cut off the leftover chain. I remember a lot of perspiring, finger pinching, and muttered epithets during the construction (all I had was Dad's needlenose pliers and industrial sized wire snips), but I was so happy with the result. I wore it a lot.

And if I say so myself, this bracelet still rocks, 24 years later. I don't know what they made costume jewelry out of way back when, but this stuff never tarnishes. I recently re-discovered the bracelet (and the rest of the necklace, can you say Pack Rat?) in the depths of my jewelry box. It has a very cheerful clinkety clinkey sound when you wear it.

If you have a collection of coins sitting around doing nothing, I'm sure you could do a much better job of putting one together than I did, if you have some basic jewelry-making tools (and skills). I still know beans about jewelry making, but it's on the list.

Anyone know of a good introductory book on jewelry making, with pictures? We are talking BASIC here.


  1. You know I love this, Larry. Makes me wish I had more euros left from our trip... Guess we'll just have to go again!

  2. This is so awesome, it reminds me that both of my grandmothers had a similar bracelet ( quite popular in Europe at the beg of the 20th)
    I can't believe you still have it it's so neat! If I see something worthwhile, I'll get back to you.

  3. This is great! I bought coins at a junk market to make a bracelet for my daughter and was browsing the Internet for ideas.
    Thanks for posting this.

  4. YES! I have a good number of foreign coins from my in-laws' travels and have wanted to make something like this for a long time. Can you drill the holes with a regular drill bit? I guess I need to search for a strong silver necklace or bracelet similar to this one that is strong enough to support the coins as well...Thank you SO much for this post!

    1. Hey, My Faith Melody,
      Both times I've made a coin bracelet I've had to get a big, strong man to drill the holes for me after I try it and make a hash of it. I don't know what I do wrong, but I'm not sure it's supposed to be that complicated. I think you are supposed to use drill bits that are for metal, but I tried that too and no dice. LOL. I have to accept that this is a skill I have to farm out. However, the assembly of the bracelet is a cinch with jewelry pliers, jump rings, and a lobster clasp.

    2. Thanks Larissa. My husband told me he has drilled holes in coins before, so once we get that far, I think he'll be the one doing it for me or at least helping me! I can't wait to make this bracelet. I hope to get a nice stainless steel charm bracelet for Christmas maybe so I will have a long lasting non-tarnishing beautiful memory bracelet.

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  6. My hubby got me a drill press and metal drill bits for my b-day, so I'm saving from my Etsy store jewelry sales to get the bracelet for my coin charm bracelet. I cannot wait until I can put this together! Thanks again!


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