John May of Dragon's Fire Creations will be our featured artist for the last Block pARTy of 2019! The following is what he says about his craft.
My journey into creating custom crafted coin jewelry began late in 2016 with a desire to find a keepsake in remembrance of my mother. She was born in 1928 and grew up in a small town north of Munich, Germany (Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm). As I searched for a coin minted in 1928 in Munich, I began to notice references to coin rings and began to watch YouTube videos about making them.
After watching several videos about "forging coin rings", my interest began to grow and I soon decided to try my hand at making coin rings. After acquiring the minimal amount of tools required to forge a coin ring, I began to practice what I had learned (April 2017). My first rings were given away to friends and family. As my skills improved, I began to gather more tooling and branched out from just making rings from everyday quarters. I pride myself with crafting beautiful rings and sets from old silver coins from the US and around the world, as well as replica coins made out of .999 silver.
Grow with Me
The craft of making coin rings has evolved significantly since the first coin was struck on its edge in an attempt to change it into a wearable ring.
Historians will point to the first modern day coin rings being created as a form of "Trench Art". During the World Wars soldiers would take coins and fashion them into jewelry items. Rings were made by taking the spoon from their mess kit and striking the edge of a silver coin several thousand times all while continuing to roll the coin on its edge. This process would begin to flatten, mushroom and widen the edge of the coin. Once the edge was wide enough, they would core out the center and smooth out the inside. With this method the details around the outside of the ring were no longer visible, however some of the details were left on the inside of the ring.
Once the ring was formed, many soldiers would send the ring home to a sweetheart as a token of love or with a proposal of marriage once they returned home.
Modern methods of crafting a coin ring allow the artist to keep all of the outer detail and maintain most of the detail on the inside of the ring. As my craftsmanship and jewelry making skills continue to improve, I plan to extend the variety of coin related and custom jewelry pieces offered.
Come watch John do his craft Friday night at the Arts @317, 317 E. Main, from 6:00-9:00 PM.