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Everything within me is shouting no

… but I am going to do it anyway…

I have a client that inherited a 14kt gold coin charm bracelet from
her mother.

Each coin is bezel set properly and then attached with soldered jump

She is wanting to get an updated look for the bracelet and to
lighten it’s weight. The current weight is 68.5 dwt.

The various coins date from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. She
has requested I take each coin out of the bezel and attach a jump
ring to the top, then reattach to the bracelet with a jump ring. She
is requesting that I take the heavy duty security clasp off and put
on a toggle clasp.

My heart is racing thinking of the loss in value to the coins and
the possibility of loss during wear. I have agreed to do this, as
she wants to wear it and enjoy the piece because of it’s sentimental
value. I do want her to wear it and enjoy it for the rest of her
days, but everything with in me is shouting NO!!! I understand
that this is her jewelry, and we have had the above discussion. Is
there anything that you Orchidians can recommend that I do that will
cause the least amount of value loss to the coins. There are 9 of
them. They range in size from approximately 18mm to 34mm.

Thanks for your thoughts and input. I truly do appreciate it.

Angela Hampton
Hampton House Jewelry

First I’d take the bracelet to a coin dealer and get an estimated
value for the coins, he won’t be able to value them exactly without
being able to see the edges, and an estimation of what they may be
worth once jump rings are soldered on. Also, how the value will
continue to decrease over time as the coins get increasingly beat up
from being worn as charms without frames. Then give your client this
so she can make an informed decision.

It may be that the coins are of no great numismatic value anyway.
There are lots of attractive coins which have little value beyond
that of the silver.

Is there anything that you Orchidians can recommend that I do that
will cause the least amount of value loss to the coins. 

Angela, two thoughts.

First, I’d rather expect that when the bracelet was first made, it’s
likely that the coins chosen were not premium types with great
numismatic value. The fact that coins with jump rings soldered to
them loose numismatic value is nothing new, so I doubt that they even
started out with values much over a typical “bullion” grade coin
(like the values of modern Kruggerands, Canadian maple leafs, and
similar gold coins worth mostly their gold value). I could be wrong,
but that would be my expectation. And beyond that, even if these
have been set in bezels, if the bracelet was worn at all by her
mother, by now the coins will be pretty beat up (what’s “beat up” in
terms of numismatic grading can still look pretty good to a
non-collector). So again, you likely don’t now have coins with
especially high values beyond the gold, so I doubt that doing what
she wishes is going to destroy a lot of value. There are exceptions,
of course, and you might suggest taking the bracelet first to a coin
dealer and have him/her review what’s on the bracelet to make sure
there aren’t any hidden gems there. If so, you could always suggest
leaving that one or two off, or keep them in their bezels while
converting the rest as she wishes.

Aside from that, do a nice clean job of soldering the jump rings on,
keep them small but of sturdy wire, and safety of the things should
not be a problem


The value of the coins is only in the metal. Being placed into
bezels all those years ago is what devalued her coins. Take the job
and do what the customer wants. In this case the custom is right.

Hello Angela,

Wouldn’t it be really nice to have matching earrings and maybe a
pendant??? How about simply removing two of the smallest coins and
making them into earring dangles. If it’s still too heavy, take a
larger coin and put it on a chain for a pendant.

I share your dismay in damaging the coins and removing a good clasp.
Hope you can convince your client that she will enjoy a "matching"
set of earrings and pendant to wear with the bracelet.

Judy in Kansas, where it was 80 degrees at 6:30 am. Tomatoes
beginning to ripen, but this heat will probably put them in stasis!

Listen to your own self, your own intuition and don’t do it. If
you’re not up to the work, don’t do it. Give it to someone who can
handle the work.


Tell her no Angela. In your heart she will understand and give her a
look at provenance, MasterValuer. She will appreciate the story so
much more with good reason.

Could even do some research on a few of the coins, she will be
grateful and so will her heirs. Look at some other ways to remove the
weight or have her balance other write with an equal weight bracelet,
will make muscles. ! ! ! Yeah for preservation.

Dee Rouse Huth,
California Institute of Jewelry Training

She’s requesting that I take the heavy duty security clasp off and
put on a toggle clasp.

Well, Angela, first off I would just flat refuse to put a toggle
clasp on anything, much less a coin bracelet. You have to guarantee
it, and toggle clasps are borderline useless - doubly so on

As for the coins themselves, it’s pretty obvious that the weight is
in the coins, not the mountings. Unless the mountings are especially
heavy. First thing I’d do is look up each coin and get a value on
them - one thing EBay is good for, just look at “buy it now” items,
only. If the coins only have gold value, which means maybe 10% over
spot, then it’s just gold.= If there are coins that have a numismatic
premium, then that’s different. Keep in mind that gold solder
doesn’t bond especially well to 24kt, too. There’s a fair chance
that some of them can just pop off the jump rings, even if you do an
excellent job.

Personally I have no problem with soldering jump rings on coins, if
the coins are valued at gold value - not especially numismatic, that
is, as many aren’t. Thing is, there won’t be much of a weight
savings. I’d suggest removing a couple or a few - make a pendant,
make a ring, make cufflinks for the other half, etc. And the solder
doesn’t bond very well, remember that. Your joint is dependant on
the solder bond, in this case.


My limited understanding of the “numismatic” value of coins is that
once you solder to a coin, or drill a hole in it, you substantially
lower the value of the coin. I’m with you, I would do my utmost to
keep those valuable coins in bezels, where they are protected.

Jay Whaley

I would suggest (or insist) that she take it to a coin dealer for an
appraisal of the individual coins so she understands what she is
doing. If she wants just charms that look like real coins you could
possibly make molds of the bezel set coins and reproduce them in
gold by carving off the wax bezel. In this market that would be a
very expensive alternative, but losing the value of the coins may in
fact cost her more.


Once worn as jewellery the numastic value is gone. Clients choice
rules, her mother made the choice years ago.

Demand Designs

Absolutely correct- Don’t drill through the coins- either the client
is just plain dumb not listening to your advise or you aren’t making
the point clearly (find the most valuable coin and give the person an
idea of the loss involved in real dollars terms that destroying it
would cause!). You may lighten it - though it sounds like if it’s all
in gold bezels, it has been done correctly- by simply making two
bracelets of an aceptable weight- what, ask the client, is an
aceptable weight, bcause anything you do will have/add weight! Seems
like a senseless argument to me- why she would want anything of value
destroyed or replaced with other metals that are also weighted is -
what, just to spend money???

Anyway, titanium or niobium is lighter, you could make bezels of it
and reduce the weight using strip (that can be millgrained, etched,
patterned, etc.) then set as usual.or use channel wire-i.e.,( but
takes custom orders as well) or other raw materials vendors sell the
stuff, or you can make it from chenier/tubing cut into halves that
would match heavier coins ( w 2-3mm edges or more) millgrained or
clean ( rarer coins have no millgraining in some instances) and can
be had or made to be the same colour to match all the coins set on a
given bracelet… The clasp however should be sturdy enough to
support the weight regardless of the style you offer the customer-
use your best judgement there in “updating” and remember to adda
safety chain if using a hollow ring and toggle style so even if the
weight doesn’t keep the toggle closed, the chain will not allow it to
slip off un-noticed !.. ther are other ways to attach a mounting to
the coins too, that involve a small bit of solder to the top of a
small piece of channel wire to which the jump ring is soldered, but
it is stiff- yet a bit of heat and the solder can be removed to
reclaim the coins…I’m thinking whichever way you go, channel is the

I am sure someone will mention this, but I would put what you
discussed with her in writing, go over it again with her, especially
the part about the value decrease, have her sign it and have it
witnessed in her presence. If you absolutely don’t want to do it,
then tell her politely that you don’t feel right taking on this



Don’t do it. Really.

Especially the toggle. It won’t be very secure. Trust me on this. If
she doesn’t like it and wants a contemporary piece, design something
really nice for her and make a NEW sale.

Jo Haemer


I would be thinking that as the coins have been knocking about on
the bracelet for a number of years that the value as collectables may
have greatly diminished - their value now lies in bullion value. The
bullion value will not be changed greatly by soldering a small jump
ring to the edge.

Look at the bright side - at least your client hasn’t asked for
holes to be drilled in the coins.


Is there anything that you Orchidians can recommend that I do that
will cause the least amount of value loss to the coins. 

I think if it were I, I would ask her (and lobby hard) for
permission to take the bracelet to a respectable coin dealer and ask
the value of the coins both before (now) and after doing what she
wants. Then she is at least making an informed decision.

Barring that, you can look up the value of coins on line and see
what kind of difference condition makes.


In my youth I collected coins. I would never deface a gold coin in
this manner. Soldering on the ring will totally devalue the coin as a
numismatic item. Only value then would be what could be gotten as
gold scrap.


I made a bracelet two years ago for client with a toggle bracelet. I
share the belief that toggles are undependable, so I thought about
how I could make it secure.

The toggle bar was made from tubing with a larger diameter bezel
soldered at each end. The ring end of the bracelet was shaped into an
oval with flat sides. I then fabricated a fold over hinged clasp
across the oval, similar to the clasps on older ladies watches. The
fold over acts as a safety, and the toggle cannot come out unless it
is opened.

I’d suggest you have the client sign a statement holding you
harmless from any possible damage to the coins as well as any loss in
value. The change in clasp security making the bracelet more
susceptible to loss should be mentioned as well.

Without having this in writing, it is possible (even if it seems not
likely) that you may be considered negligent for doing something that
you as a professional knew could result in loss in value or security
of the bracelet.

As you are well aware, her mother had the coins mounted and secured
this way for good reason.

Good luck.
Bloomington, Indiana where it’s hot but not hot enough to make us miss

I’d find out the value of the coins now and then what they would be
worth if you go through with this. I’d also let her know what the
bracelet is worth at the current gold weight and the coins combined,
now and approximately what it would be worth after you do all this.
Maybe hearing the actual loss in value will shock some sense into