Over the past few years, coin rings have become increasingly popular. Coin rings are becoming more popular as a way to immortalize coins that have meaning, such as sobriety coins, military coins, coins of a particular year, travel souvenir coins, commemorative coins, or any metal disc of significance.
If you think you would like to make a keepsake coin ring for yourself, you’re looking to expand your jewelry collection or gift a coin ring to someone as a gift, this guide will provide you with all you need to know about choosing the best coin rings and answering any questions you may have about the process.
WHY IT IS ESSENTIAL to choose the best coins FOR YOUR COIN RING
Choosing an excellent quality coin when choosing to purchase a coin ring is essential to ensure your ring is what you would like it to be. A coin that is in great shape is of good quality is easier to work with for coin ring makers. With the quality in detail, your coin ring will look its best and will last a lot longer than if you were to pick a faded, dented coin.
It is especially important to choose a high-quality coin when the coin ring you are having made is meant to be for a special date, occasion, in remembrance of someone, or if you hope to have this ring as an heirloom to pass down to the generations that come after you.
If the coin ring is to be a gift, the coin will need to be of the best quality to ensure the person you are gifted the ring will love the ring and be proud to wear it.
WHAT ARE the parts OF A COIN?
Learning the parts of the coin will help you to understand the language of coin making, so you know what to look for when selecting a quality coin. There is more to a coin than just heads and tails. Coins have 14 major parts to most coins, and learning about the parts of a coin can aid you in determining a coin's value.
This is the front side of the head's sign of the coin. This side usually contains the coin's portrait design and the date.
This is the coin's reverse side or the tails side. If a coin issued annually changes designs, the reverse side of the coin usually will change while the obverse side of the coin always remains the same.
PORTRAIT OR BUST
The portrait or bust is considered the main portion of a coin's design. It usually consists of portraits of kings, queens, past presidents, or symbolic figures that embody the concept of a nation, such as freedom.
The field part of the coin is the flat area that surrounds the raised area of a coin.
INSCRIPTION OR LEGEND
The legend is the main lettering or inscription on a coin. This could be the name of a country, a ruler, or an important theme.
The motto is the secondary lettering that appears on a coin to convey an important short phrase.
This is the part of the coin that is raised above the field. Coins are measured in relief, where some are labeled Ultra High Relief collector coins to low-relief circulation coins.
On coins, they will bear a significant date that signifies when the coin was struck. Some laws prevent coins from being struck after the date has passed, although there are examples of coins that have been struck outside of their date, such as commemorative coins.
The rim is the raised portion of the coin that runs along the edges of the coin. Coins can be treated in a number of ways, and sometimes the rim is considered a third side of the coin. The raised rim makes it easier to stack the coins.
The mint mark is small letters that are struck on the coin to indicate where the coin was minted.
FINENESS & WEIGHT
The weight and fineness of a coin measure the weight, metal content, and purity.
The coin's designer's initials are sometimes added to the design of the coin depending on the coin's origin, although most designers are not allowed to sign their designs.
There are many coins that have various finishes. These finishes use different production steps for each type of coin. There is circulating, uncirculated, and proof.
Circulating coins are the coins you use on a daily basis and move throughout the population. Their intended use is to exchange the coins as a currency for products and services. These coins are produced by the Mint without any extra steps.
Uncirculated coins are not meant to be in production or traded for goods and services. These coins are meant for saving and collection. They are produced like circulating coins but completed with a finish to protect and shine the collector coins.
Proof coins are made using a special process that manually feeds burnished coin blanks into presses with a special polished dye. The background of the proof coins or the field has the appearance of a mirror, and the design appears frosted. The coin is struck twice to bring out the details in the coin. A reverse-proof coin features a frosted background with a mirror-like design.
An enhanced finish is reserved for special coins that are uncirculated, proof, or reverse proof coins. The polish is applied to only certain areas of the coin to bring out the details.
WHAT TO keep in mind when SELECTING A COIN RING
When you are selecting your coin, it is not as simple as just choosing your preferred coin and getting on with it. It would be best if you took into several factors to make sure you are getting the most out of your coin ring. Here are a few factors you need to consider.
With your coin ring, you will want to make sure the overall condition of the ring will be the condition of the ring when the process is finished. The higher the quality coin, the more detailed the ring will be. Check the coin thoroughly to ensure the coin you are using has as much detail intact on both sides of the coin as possible.
SILVER OR CLAD COIN RINGS
In the United States, Quarters and JFK Half Dollars minted before 1965 contained 90% pure silver, while the remaining metal was mostly copper. After 1965, the Half Dollar silver percentage dropped to 40%, and in 1971 silver was eliminated from the half-dollar coin. Silver is a softer metal that is much easier to work with once heated, and they are easier to keep in pristine condition. These factors make silver a more desirable coin to work with.
Silver clad coins are coins that have a copper core and are coated with a silver coating. Almost all coins in the United States produced after 1964 are made from silver clad.
Using silver-clad rings is great if people want to use every day change in their change jar or found in their pocket. The main benefit of choosing these coins is that there is no monetary loss since there is almost no silver content in the coin.
This kind of coin is perfect for people who make rings and are just beginning to craft their skills until they are comfortable with the process. If you're looking for a JFK Half Dollar Ring from 1964, you can get yours handmade JFK coin rings here.
How To Tell The Difference Between Silver & Silver Clad
There are several things to look out for when determining if a coin is a silver or silver clad.
Sound: Silver and silver-clad coins will emit different sounds when a coin is dropped or knocked. Silver coins tend to make a high-pitched noise, and silver-clad coins will sound duller.
Appearance: As silver-clad coins age, they tend to turn more copper. Silver coins can be tarnished over time when exposed to the elements.
Weight: Silver coins are much heavier than clad coins due to silver being of a heavier weight than copper.
Edges: In a pure silver coin, the edges of the coin will not be an assorted color. The color will be consistent throughout the coin. In a silver-clad coin, the edges will have a noticeable copper-toned core.
Although there are many factors, the most efficient way to tell if a coin is silver clad is to review its edges. Here is a comprehensive guide for more information on silver coins and silver clad coins.
JUNK SILVER COINS
When choosing your coins, you want to make sure the coin you are planning to use does not have any numismatic value. Numismatic value means the coin is not rare with a low amount minted that could potentially be worth a lot of money. If a collector coin is made into a ring, it destroys the value of the coin.
HOW TO SELECT the perfect coin FOR YOUR COIN RING
Each coin ring is unique to the person who purchases it or wears it. It could be a gift from a loved one or something to remember someone who has passed or have a significant date assigned, whatever the reason you want to make sure you choose the perfect coin.
The U.S. Mint features a variety of coins and is a great guide to know what kind of coins are available. This guide will walk you through how to choose the perfect coin for your ring.
CHOOSE A COIN THAT HAS SPECIAL MEANING OR EMOTIONAL SIGNIFICANCE ASSIGNED
You will cherish your ring more if it has some emotional significance tied to it. It can be a ring made from a coin of a specific year. The year could be in memoriam of a loved one who has passed away, your child's birth year, your graduation year, the date of your anniversary, or the date of a special event. Everyone has a significant year for a special occasion, and the possibilities are endless.
You could choose a ring that connects you to a group that holds a special place in your life. You could choose a medallion that symbolizes your sobriety or connection with Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) or Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.), maybe an athletic team, a coin symbolistic of your religious affiliation, and more.
Another option is to choose a coin with a meaningful location. There is a quarter for every state to show your home state pride, or you could choose a coin from another country if you had a memorable trip or perhaps a coin from your country of origin.
MAKE SURE YOUR COIN HAS DETAIL AROUND THE OUTER HALF
When a coin ring is made, the center of the ring is punched out to make way to create the shape of the ring. You want to choose a coin that does not have the most important imagery right in the center of it.
Additionally, you will want to make sure the coin has minimal wear and tear, no scratches or dents, and has great detail in the coin imagery where it matters. Make sure the date and inscriptions are clear.
IF YOU CAN, CHOOSE A SILVER COIN TO WORK WITH
Few coins from other metals make great coin rings, but silver is by far the best. Silver is a soft metal that is easier to forge while still preserving important details and durable enough to wear every day. Silver is also a hypoallergenic metal that will not irritate your skin or turn it green.
You can also make rings out of copper coins and brass coins. If you do decide to go with these metals, you will want to make sure these rings are sealed to prevent skin irritation. The sealant may rub away with time, so you will want to be sure to have the ring resealed occasionally.
HAVE YOUR RING MADE BY A REPUTABLE RING MAKER
The craft of making rings is growing rapidly with the popular demand of people wanting to buy coin rings. Finding someone to make your coin ring on Etsy or a local craftsman can be hit or miss. Some may have years of experience and be honest or dependable, but you want to be sure and do your research. Read reviews and take a look at their profile.
MAKE A CHOICE BASED ON QUALITY
Purchasing a coin ring is a decision you make because you choose a coin that means something to you, and you want it to be a keepsake, or you want to gift a coin ring for someone special. You can choose a coin ring that is a piece of history that you will want to be proud of and treasure for the rest of your life.
Learn more about coin rings buying guide for men and women.
When choosing your coin ring dealer, you want to choose based on quality over saving money. The best, most reputable dealers will spend valuable time to help you select the perfect coin for your coin ring and help you get exactly what you want. These expert coin makers will work with knowledgeable designers to create a coin ring that you will be proud to wear.
IF THERE IS NOT A GOOD QUALITY RING TO GET YOUR DESIRED OUTCOME
When you take your coin of choice to a professional coin ring maker, they will help you evaluate the coin and walk you through the process. They will be honest with you if they are a good quality shop and will let you know if the coin is not an ideal candidate to be made into a coin ring.
If the coin is not a good fit, the coin makers will help you determine an alternative coin that makes work better for what you need. They will help you find a different year with a similar style or look around to find a similar coin that a collector may have.
We work closely with our customers to make sure we understand the exact specifications of the coin they would like to use, such as the year and type. We take pride in working closely with our coin dealers to find the customers' coin they selected for their coin ring.
HOW TO CHOOSE the best finish FOR YOUR SILVER COIN RING
There are three main types of finishes you can choose for your coin ring, patina, Cerakote, and polished.
Patina – Patina is also known as antiquing. It gives your coin ring a unique look and creates a defined detail between the high point and the background. It can bring out the engravings of the original design in the coin.
Polished – Using a polished finish enhances the silver's naturally bright, sparkling finish. The process involves using a combination of polishing compounds and a buffing wheel to bring the coin ring to a high polish that captures the eye. Some ring makers will take an additional step and wax the coin afterward to seal in the shine.
Cerakote – Cerakote is a ceramic finish that is durable and long-lasting and will keep your coin ring in the best condition. It adds another layer of protection to prevent the effects of wear and tear. Take a look at this gorgeous Black Cerakote Silver Eagle Ring.
HOW A coin ring IS MADE
There are several ways to make a ring from a coin, and many coin makers may use a variety of different methods and tools. This is an overview of the process of how a coin ring is made. There can be variations at many shops.
About any coin can be made into a coin ring, but you or the coin maker should do thorough research to ensure a collectible or rare ring is not mistakenly ruined. A silver or gold coin is best as copper, and nickel will leave stains on your fingers.
TOOLS USED IN THE RING MAKING PROCESS
There is a large selection of tools that are used in the coin ring-making process. Among the standard tools you can find in any household toolbox like a hammer, sandpaper, a drill and a drill bit, a vise, a ring sizing mandrel, a handheld rotary tool, a carbide cutting bit, calipers, and a felt polishing tip. In making the rings, these tools are used in unique ways.
A Vise – This tool is essential in ring making as it can be bolted down to a work surface. It has a clamp and a rod that can be turned to hold on to the coins. It is also equipped with an anvil and a tightening rod.
A Ring Sizing Mandrel – This is a rod that starts wider at the bottom and tapers up to a smaller point to size the rings.
A Handheld Rotary Tool – This tool is a small handheld device that has a small rod that sticks out of the tip where attachments can be placed depending on your needs, in this case, polished or using the carbide cutting bit that is used to cut through the metal.
Calipers – This is similar to a ruler and measures with moveable arms.
Swedish Wrap Dies – The Swedish Wrap Dies is a bronze plunger to press down the coin ring to stretch and shape the ring without damage.
Center Punch with Spacers – A specialized device to punch a hole in the center of a coin with a more precise way of measuring to ensure there is a minimal error.
Ring Stretcher – The ring stretcher is a specialized tool to stretch rings to a measured size.
Doming Block – a doming block is used to create gentle curves and domes in flat metal or, in this process, a coin.
The coin that is selected for the coin ring is first punched in the center by a drill or a specialized machine built for punching holes with precise measurements. The measuring center punch with spacers is placed into a hydraulic press to easily punch a hole in the coin's center.
Next, the coin is removed from the punch. The coin maker uses a deburring tool or sandpaper is used to smooth the edges from the hole that was just punched out of the center of the coin.
The Swedish wrap method for shaping the flat coin consists of a series of angled dies used to fold the outer edge of the coin inward until the size that is desired is reached. The coin is first put into a doming block to create a dome to begin the shaping and sizing process.
After the first fold, the coin is inspected to ensure nothing is cracked and if any sanding needs to be done.
After the doming process, the coin needs to be annealed, quenched, heated, and quickly cooled. The ring maker can use a propane torch to heat the coin and then quenched in water. After this process, the coin is wrapped in Teflon tape to keep the details intact while being pressed through the Swedish dies.
The coin is then placed cone the side of the cone down into the Swedish dies and pressed using brass or aluminum rods. The process of annealing is repeated.
If the ring ends up thicker on one side, the ring maker will use a deburring tool to remove excess metal and make the ring symmetrical and a more comfortable fit.
After using the deburring tool, the ring maker will anneal the ring again to prevent it from cracking during the stretching process. The ring stretcher will stretch the ring to the size needed, and any deburring to thin the ring out along with annealing can be done until the ring is a perfect size.
After the ring has reached the desired shape and size, a buffing wheel, polish, or jewelers rouge is using the polish the ring. Steel wool #000 can also be used to make the coin ring look like a brushed metal appearance. To polish the inside of the ring, a buffing bit in a rotary tool works well.
IS IT ILLEGAL to deface U.S. COINS?
One of the most common questions that get asked when making coin rings is the age-old "is it legal?" Many people might be hesitant to purchase or make a ring out of coin, and even coin makers, certainly had their doubts when beginning the craft. It has to do with a statute of code that reads:
Title 18 Section 331. Mutilation, diminution, and falsification of coins
"Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined at the mints of the United States, or any foreign coins which are by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money within the United States; or
Whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or brings into the United States, any such coin, knowing the same to be altered, defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled, or lightened."
The keyword in this statute is "fraudulently." Essentially, this is meant to prevent people from criminal behavior involving fraud. Fraud is defined as wrongful and criminal deception intended to help someone gain financially or personally.
This law is used when criminals intentionally deface U.S. currency, such as defacing coins, to trick machines into thinking they are worth a higher value. This statute is used to convict criminals in cases involving forgery.
CAN COIN RINGS BE ALTERED WITHOUT VIOLATING THIS STATUTE?
Yes, they can, as long as you are not altering any coins with the intent of fraud or to present the rings as legal tender to purchase products or services. An example of common alterations aside from coin rings is souvenir penny stretchers located at many tourist destinations where you insert a penny. The machine flattens it with a design on the front symbolic of the location.
Coins can be made into many items that people sell. People often make belts, keychains, pendants, and even pennies that have been used as tiling in homes. Because coin rings are made to use as only jewelry, these coins are completely legal to make.
HOW IS ALTERING PAPER MONEY DIFFERENT?
Section 333 of the Law states, "Whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both."
This law states paper money cannot be altered in any way that would prevent it from being in use or in circulation. There are no fraud exceptions when it comes to paper money.
DOES A coin ring TURN FINGERS GREEN?
If you have ever worn jewelry that has left your skin with a greenish stain, you might be wondering if your coin ring will do the same. Some metals may leave a greenish or grayish color on their skin when people have metal allergies. Most coins are a mixture of multiple metals, and each metal may react differently to everyone's skin.
A ring that is at least 90% silver usually never has an adverse effect on the skin unless your skin type is extremely sensitive. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver, so there should be no issues with sterling silver on your skin as well.
Coins that are made up of copper and nickel may bring on a green or brown coloring on your skin, but it is not known to cause any irritation.
Copper coins will usually leave a green color on your skin, but copper should not irritate the skin unless you have an allergy to copper.
Clad coins are a mix of metals, copper-nickel, and zinc which may react poorly to your skin, and the heat of your body will leave discoloration on your skin.
To prevent discoloration of your skin, if your coin rings are made of any of these metals, you can coat your ring with clear resin-like fingernail polish or a clear epoxy. You can also remove your jewelry when you wash your hands and apply lotion.
HOW TO CARE for your COIN RING
With a coin ring, you want to be sure you are keeping it in the best condition. Preventative care is the best way to keep it in pristine condition for years. Follow these tips to minimize the wear and tear of your silver coin rings.
Keep your jewelry in a cool, dry place like an elegant jewelry box.
Shine your ring with a shine cloth daily, especially if your ring comes into contact with soaps, cleaners, oils, and lotions. Shining your ring daily will help slow signs of wear and tear and tarnish.
Purchase a specialty silver cleaning kit that has the proper solution and cloth to maintain your coin ring.
Silver naturally reacts poorly to chemicals and exposure to the elements. If possible, avoid chemicals and keep them stored away when you are not wearing the ring. Find more jewelry care and cleaning tips here.
Restoring The Dark Patina Finish On Coin Rings
There is a unique process that helps renew the look of your coin ring that is easy to do with a surprising element, a hardboiled egg. To clean your patina coin ring, you will want to first wash your coin ring with hot water with gentle dish soap. Rinse and dry the ring without touching the ring with your fingers.
Place your hot hardboiled egg, shell, and all into a Ziplock bag and smash the egg. Wrap the coin ring in a paper towel and place it inside the bag with the eggs and reseal the bag. Wrap the bag with aluminum foil to help keep it warm and leave it there for an hour.
If only a small portion of the ring has darkened, rotate the ring, and repeat with a new egg. Once you have the desired finish, take the coin ring, rinse with water, and dry once you have the desired finish.
Afterward, you will want to take a polishing cloth and rub the high points of the tarnish you would like to remove. The natural sulfur in the egg yolk accelerates the oxidation process, giving your coin ring an antique look.
COIN RING frequently asked questions
Can I have you make a coin ring for me out of one of my own coins?
We have specially trained staff that work with our coin dealer to find the coin that would work for the specific ring that is ordered. You may be able to bring a ring to review to see if it is a good candidate to be made into a coin ring.
What do you look for when choosing a coin for a coin ring?
When choosing a coin for a coin ring, you want first to ensure all the details of the coin are intact and there is no damage or discoloration. Make sure the edges are intact, and you also want to be sure the coin does not have numismatic value.
Can you make a coin ring out of a coin that is not silver?
Yes, you can use copper, brass, or silver-clad coins (a copper coin with a silver coating) that you can make a coin ring out of; however, a silver ring is always going to be the best option. Silver is a soft metal that is soft enough to mold and durable enough to wear daily.
How long does it take to make a coin ring?
The entire process from start to finish can take up to two to four days on average although it can be created quicker, the quality might be impacted.
Can your custom size a coin ring?
Yes, a coin ring can be made into a size that fits any finger. Depending on the finish, it may be possible to resize if needed.
Why can't you use a coin that has a dent in it to make a coin ring?
The dent of the ring could potentially not hold once the ring is molded, and the dent could cause the ring to break easily.
Does a coin ring tarnish?
Because most coin rings are made of silver, which is affected by the elements and chemicals, your coin ring may begin to tarnish. Preventative care and maintenance can help extend the life of your coin ring.
COIN RINGS for every occasion
A coin ring is a unique statement piece that is sure to gain more popularity as a way to immortalize many important or sentimental dates, places, and events. Coin rings make amazing gifts, and there is a variety that makes each piece feel like it is one of a kind.
March 17, 2022 by Conor Daniels