Jewelry is a powerful way to remember loved ones we’ve lost. Susanne Phillips of Celtic Coin Craft is helping keep memories alive by transforming meaningful coins into jewelry. One of her latest creations is a ring that her client now wears to remember his dad.
“I made a ring for someone who had recently lost their father,” Phillips tells My Modern Met. “His dad was Canadian so he wanted the coin used to be from Canada and from the year of his father's birth . Having lost my dad young I could relate—I also wear an Irish coin ring that bears my father's birth year.”
Phillips has long been a lover of coins, and as a child, she was enthralled by the symbols and characters on the Irish coins her mother collected. Years later, she’s turned her passion into a living by turning the tokens into rings.
Not every coin can become a piece of jewelry, though. “A coin must meet the criteria of being the correct size, of suitable metal composition, and in good condition before I consider using it,” Phillips explains. “Turning a coin into a ring is a mindful process that requires slow and careful work; I can only work as fast as the metal allows me—otherwise the coin will split and be rendered useless.”
The process begins by punching a hole in the center of the coin. “Next, I use fire to heat up the metal and make it workable,” she says, “and then I start slowly folding and stretching the coin using various specialist tools until a ring appears. It's almost magical to bend and fold a coin into a completely different shape that results in a new, reimagined use for a piece of history.”
It is a mesmerizing process to see the flat coin become so pliable and eventually wearable. Scroll down to see a peek into Phillips’ process and to see more of her incredible handiwork.