Saturday, November 3, 2012

Playing with pennies.....

Awhile back, I began saving pre-1982 US Pennies. Many people don't know that before 1982, US pennies are 90% copper, making them perfect for a variety of jewelry applications. They can be annealed, domed, torch enameled, punched, cut, filed, hammered just like any sheet of copper!

lucky Second Surf pennies, I've been using to sign jewelry


I started out using them as signature tags for my jewelry, but this week, I made some buttons for a bracelet class I'm teaching...

penny buttons for use in sewing and leather bracelet projects.


A variety of currency can be used and incorporated into jewelry. While you should check the specific codes for your country, in the US, it is perfectly legal to alter currency as long as the intended purpose is not fraudulent in nature (Section 331 of Title 18 of the United States code----just think of the penny squashing machines at amusement parks and little items that can be sold with hearts, crosses, and doves cut out of them).

Learning about currency is not only a fun hobby, but also educational! Local coin shops and flea markets will give you an wealth of information as well as provide interesting selections of coins you can alter or incorporate into your jewelry! 

Before altering any currency, it is important to check the year and research the specific coin's metal content. For example, pennies made after 1982, are mostly zinc with only a very thin copper plating. Zinc should not be annealed as it has a extremely low melting point and the fumes can be toxic.Other metals may also be present in currency so please research the coin and it's metal content before getting creative!



Have you ever used currency in your jewelry?

8 comments:

Artisan Beads Plus said...

Ok, that is just too cool! I think I just fell in love with a new idea. Can't buy anything for a penny anymore, but with this idea they will never be forgotten :o) Today's pennies are so light it is weird when I hold one. I had to look a few times to see if the one I had was real! Great idea, Barbara!
MaryAnn

Gypsea said...

Excellent post! I love your penny buttons and tags. I was just thinking that awhile back I took a bunch of coins to one of those machines that counts it all up and gives back paper money (dollars, etc.) and I never thought to look at dates.

Caron Michelle said...

Great idea! Love the necklace featured :)

Kelli said...

Love this idea!!!

stregajewellry said...

Very interesting! I did not know that about pennies. I love your little tags and buttons. Thanks for sharing this.

Gail Barnett said...

What did you use to put holes in the pennies?
Thanks!

Gail Barnett said...

What did you use to put holes in the pennies?

Barbara said...

Gail, I use a heavy duty punch similar to this one (http://www.riogrande.com/Product/EuroPower-Large-Hole-Punch-Pliers/111377)or a drill on low speed. Even with annealing, the thickness of the pennies can be tough on a standard screw type punch or a regular hand held punch.

face
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