Coin jewellery has been worn throughout history and is one of the most timeless accessory trends of all time. The classic coin necklace has become increasingly popular in the past decade. They became more well-known in the 2010s with the emergence of Missoma, but many jewellery brands have their own stunning versions of coin necklaces. But as coin necklaces scatter the high-street and cement their place in layering combinations, how much do you know about them? From the history of coin jewellery to their special meanings, find out everything there is to know about this everlasting trend.
Where does coin jewellery come from?
Coin or numismatic jewellery is said to originate from Ancient Egypt, but can also be traced back to Greek, Roman and Etruscan times. Coins were first invented by the Egyptians and were used as decorations for soldiers, like medals. During ancient times, coins were used by the rich in their jewellery, mostly in the form of pendants, on beads or strings and sometimes multiple along or hanging from a chain.
Coin jewellery came over to Europe via the Romans and became extremely popular in the Renaissance period and into the 19th, 20th and 21st century. In the Renaissance period, it was popular for wealthy people to have portraits of themselves in the style of a coin, which was then set into a pendant or ring. This was often set in gold with gemstone elements.
In the 19th century, ancient ruins were discovered, and excavations were digging up coin artefacts and accessories. This sparked an interest in the jewellery market which came over into the 20th century through high-fashion brands like Bulgari. Previously real currency was used in jewellery but the 20th century and on is more focused on coin-themed and inspired jewellery, based on the shape, size and style of coins.
Popular types of coins in jewellery
As they date back to ancient cultures and countries like Greece, Egypt and Rome, many popular coins in jewellery are Greek, Egyptian or Roman. They’re the most traditional, have intricate carvings and portray many spiritual and royal figures, like gods, goddesses, kings and queens.
As coin necklaces have become more popular in the 21st century, different types and styles of coins have come to the forefront. Many British, Irish and American coins have become popular from brands like Katie Mullally, Wolf & Gypsy and Monica Vinader. More modern styles can also be quite plain or feature other images and etchings, like constellations.
The meaning behind coin necklaces
There are many meanings behind coin necklaces and it’s completely dependent on the type of coin and is personal for the one who wears it. Historically, coins and coin necklaces were ‘love tokens’, given to loved ones and etched with sentimental messages. Coin jewellery was also referred to as ‘sweetheart jewellery’ as soldiers would send coins home to their wives and children. Coin necklaces were also given and worn for luck, travel and good fortune.
Coin necklace meanings also depend on the type of coin you choose. Ancient Greek coin necklaces often feature gods and goddesses who represent powerful feelings and emotions. For example, if you’re looking for something that represents strength and power, you could pick a coin that features Athena, the Greek Goddess of war and wisdom. If you’re leaning towards a more romantic and passionate necklace, the Roman coin depicting Venus – the goddess of love and beauty – is the perfect choice.
How to style coin necklaces
Coin necklaces are ideal for every day and can be worn alone or as an accent in layers. Most recently, the coin necklace trend has been focused on vintage, rough and rugged textures that add more structure and style to an outfit and jewellery combination.
For colours, silver and gold materials are most used in coin jewellery – probably because they’re the closest to the real colour and metal of traditional coins! Coin necklaces are especially popular in the warmer Spring/Summer months, with the bright gold colours looking beautiful alongside sunny beach holidays. But coin necklaces aren’t just for the Summer – they also look great layered over a chunky Winter knit.
Image credits: missoma.com, vogue.com