Pendants carved out of old British coinage

London's Thornhill Jewellery takes old British coinage and laser-cuts carves sweet/funny/silly designs into them. You can also get them made to order from the year of your choosing (to celebrate a birthday, for example). I saw several of these in person Sunday at Spitalfields Market and they're just great.

Thornhill Jewellery / coins


  1. That doesn’t look like laser cutting to me.  I work with metal cutting lasers and the edge finish is much smoother.  This looks sawn.

    See examples here and click for close-up.
    Coin metals are difficult to laser cut.  Copper completely reflects the 10,000nm wavelength of a CO2 laser.  It’s only partially absorptive of the 1060nm wavelength of ND/YB YAG lasers.

  2. I’ve seen a jeweler at an art fair cutting pendants out of coins.  He used a tiny drill and a frame saw with very thin wire blades.  It looks like very delicate work requiring a lot of skill.  IIRC, cutting a simple design out of a Mercury dime took over an hour and wrecked a half dozen blades.  

    I like the idea of these as hand made art rather than 2D CNC laser cut products.

    1. I didn’t even know if there were laser cutters that cut metal. I gather there must be, but I bet they’re pretty uncommon.

    2. The scale of the 1889 Crown is not obvious from the picture. A Dime is 17mm across while a Crown is a very hefty 38mm. It is also silver which is not quite as hard as copper.

    1. I have a power scroll saw from a metallurgical lab.  I wonder if the fine wire blades could be used in it.  The smallest blades I have are 1.5mm and single-edged.  Sawing by hand: out of the question due to laziness. 

  3. And around the world, numismatists cringe in horror as an irreplaceable part of history gets chucked in the shitter for a bit of profit (or to create jewelry that could be just as easily made from silver sheet).
    Other collectors chuckle in righteous glee, thinking “go ahead, cut up as many as you want, it’ll only make the ones I’ve saved worth that much more”…

    1. It looks like many of the pieces have been made using common-date, circulated, pre-decimal British pennies. My dealer has these in his junk boxes for 2 for 25¢. They are cool, but definitely not rare or valuable and not a huge loss to the world of coin collecting.

      Plus, I’ve already got my own stash of them and a jeweler’s saw.

      1. The [remains of the] coin in the picture is a “crown” and certainly isn’t as common as a penny. It would be 92% silver. One in mint condition will fetch several hundred pounds.

  4. Cut out coin pendants are a mainstay of every handicrafts fair in Argentina and Uruguay-they tend to be beautiful! Cost of the pendant depends on the rarity of the coin used.  The method I’ve always seen is the small wire saw another commenter mentioned above.  

  5. Personally I would prefer the ore stay in the mountain, but hey, you can’t always get what you want.

  6. all so the size of the blades i use are  0.5 – 0.8 of a mm.  and all  is hand-made from recycled and up-cycled materials ranging from antique to modern cutlery, Roman to modern day coins, your old family heirlooms i.e. old wedding/engagement rings and any silver or gold jewellery. 

    Any of are pice’s of jewellery  can be transformed from unused bits and bobs from around the house (or attic!) into beautiful bespoke pieces that will be worn every day.

    Cutlery and coins can be made into rings, bracelets, pendants, earrings, key rings or even completely melting them down and reforming into a whole new bespoke piece of your choice. One of our specialities is custom coin cutting. These are all cut by hand using a piercing saw (no lasers used here!) with extremely thin blades. Designs are almost limitless, dates of coins are almost all obtainable. Orders can be placed using our orders page. Steampunk is an up and coming fashion which is a cross between victorian and science fiction clothing and accessories. Cogs and clockwork pieces, piping, gem stones and copper wiring are used to create this quirky style. These pieces are all bespoke and unique and make excellent costumes, or day to day wear if that’s your look! We work with various precious stones, gems e.g. Rubies, Amber, Opals, Emeralds etc. to create a wide range of jewellery including rings, pendants, bracelets and earrings. We also create jewellery such as cufflinks out of Scrabble letters, computer keys and Lego men! We are silversmiths, goldsmiths and jewellers but our main ethos is to use recycling and up-cycling wherever possible. 

    1.  Beautiful work!  I’ve snapped a few jeweler’s saw blades in my time & I’m on my second saw frame now, but I’ve never developed this level of skill.  Do you use a drill press for the starting holes, or a dremel?

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