Taking a Page from History

Yesterday, I completed a project that was a long time in the making.  332 years in the making, to be exact.

Like many people, I love history in general, but there is a specific time period that I’ve been particularly enamored with since I was a teenager.  That was about the time that my mom told me about a book called Forever AmberAfter reading it, I was forever hooked on Charles II, Restoration England (1660-1685) and all things London.

Over the years, I have read and collected many reference materials on this time period.  On a trip to London I visited the grave of Charles II, which is rather hard to find in Westminster Abbey and quite over-shadowed by the effigy and tomb of his great-grandmother, Mary, Queen of Scots.  I have delighted over streets and locations that appear in the book.  And about six years ago, I purchased a silver crown coin from the period–1676.

I had started making metal jewelry around the same time I bought the coin, and one of the first projects I planned was to make a pendant out of it.  I brought it to the studio and my instructor told me what I needed to do.  Somehow, I couldn’t get excited about making it and I soon gave up and started something different.  The coin sat in my desk for the next six years.

Recently, I mentioned that I was writing a novel (which I’m happy to report I’m making slow, but steady progress on).  I haven’t said much about it but I will say now that it is a historical mystery, set in–you guessed it–Restoration London.  In light of this, I decided it was finally time to give that coin a home in a nice handmade pendant and yesterday, that’s just what I did:

coin_pendant_front
This pendant was actually much easier to make than I remembered when I first tried to make one so many years ago.  I guess that means I’ve improved!  The basic design is a thin bezel which fits tightly around the coin.  Then you cut four prongs that are soldered to the sides.  I then added a bail and inserted the coin.  For me, the fiddliest (hey, I think I just made up a word) was soldering the jump ring to the top.

coin_pendant_back

It should be said that when I originally purchased the coin, it looked a lot like this (note that this is not the same coin I bought–mine had less detail to begin with than this one does):

coin_patina

Much to the chagrin of many a coin collector, I put the coin in my tumbler and almost every trace of history was wiped from it in about five minutes.  I’m not sure I’m happy about that decision, but I do think the finished pendant is lovely, and since it’s meant to be jewelry I suppose I can deal with it.  I absolutely love this pendant and it will be a reminder to me of my love of this time period and my commitment to write this novel.

Holly West

2 Comments

  1. I think cleaning the coin was a must as it will be worn against your skin. I cringe and reach for my hand sanitizer to think of the goo that was once crusted on it. Good call.
    That said, it is a BEAUTIFUL piece. Very different from anything you’ve done before.
    So, is that why your husband is English? I never knew about this little obsession of yours. Interesting…

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