Wheat Penny Earrings

This week, my very popular penny earrings became even more awesome. I just finished my first pair of wheat penny earrings! Thanks to a special request, I finally had the nerve and the excuse to cut into a wheat penny with my jeweler’s saw. (This practice is not illegal; the legality lies in the attempt to spend defaced money.)

Wheat Penny Earrings

For almost two years I have been cutting Abraham Lincoln out of the penny. I use pennies only up to 1981 since they were pure copper through 1981, but they are now zinc with a copper coating. I use the pure copper pennies so that I can solder jump rings onto the earrings and to hold the two pieces of the penny together. The zinc pennies cannot take the heat of a torch and melt to an instant puddle, so I do not use them.

Original Penny Earring Design

I have a nice collection of wheat pennies but as I indicated above, I have never wanted to cut into them, they seemed too precious. Well, recently a good customer and beloved cousin of mine, gave me a roll of wheat pennies her father, my grandmothers brother, had saved. I received the role of pennies in exchange for a set of penny earrings for her and I also created a key chain for her brother.

Wheat Penny Earring and Key Chain

As I was making the earrings, a happy “accident” occurred during assembly. I usually put the two halves of the pennies together so that the date of the penny is on the front. But with the first wheat penny earring, I “accidentally” put the date on the back and the wheat on the front. Well, that was no accident and that is how all the wheat penny earrings that I create from here on out will be presented. It is as it should be, the wheat is what makes them special and the wheat is what will be seen.

Wheat Penny Earrings

Knowing that these pennies are a part of my cousins inheritance, and a part of my family history, made them a very special project. It was an absolute honor to cut into the wheat pennies. Turning these wheat pennies into a set of earrings, ensures that they will be enjoyed in a way that a role of pennies cannot be. These earrings will hopefully bring about fond memories from the past as they are worn and the story shared.

Preserving history is something that I am passionate about. It is a great honor to be in a position to aid others in their preservation of family history. I also enjoy creating new pieces of jewelry that add a unique twist to preservation, as the pennies do. Over the next few weeks I will be creating more wheat penny earrings, which you will be able to find in my etsy shop, along with my other penny creations.


About Mountain Light Jewelry

My name is Carly Burke and I am a jewelry artist living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of VA. I turned my hobby into a business September 2009 and have enjoyed using mostly copper and argentium silver wire and semi precious stones to create unique wearable art. I have also appreciated the challenge of jewelry photography, marketing, selling and learning to be a salesman.
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