Coin Pendants: A Timeless Trend
Written by Anna Currell
November 22, 2023
From ancient Rome inspired talismans to modern designs engraved with meaningful messages, coin pendants are everywhere these days. But did you know this style of medallion jewelry has actually been around for thousands of years? In this article, we’ll take a look at the history of coin pendants, their reemergence in fashion today, and how to find and care for your own coin jewelry.
Coin Pendants in History
Coin pendants have a rich history dating back to ancient Rome, where people would proudly wear pendants featuring the emperor's portrait to demonstrate their loyalty to the empire. Coins bearing images of gods and mythological figures were also popular, since Romans believed they could impart wisdom, luck, and other virtues on whoever wore them. Coin pendants later spread to the Greeks, Persians, and medieval Europeans, who wore them as symbols of wealth and power.
It wasn’t until the 20th century that they became more of a decorative fashion item than a political badge. In the 1920s in the United States, Art Deco medallions with bold geometric shapes were very trendy. Coin pendants made another comeback in the 1960s, this time embedded with colorful gemstones. There have been many iterations of the coin pendant trend, each introducing new levels of artistic and cultural significance.
Coin Pendants Today
In recent years, coin pendants have seen a major revival featuring both vintage-inspired and modern designs. Many people wear replica coins mirroring the styles of ancient Rome and Greece, engraved with astrological signs, goddesses, and mythological creatures. Today’s leading jewelry designers are also creating modern coin medallions with personalized motifs in silver, gold, and bronze.
While they are no longer a marker of political status like they were in ancient Rome, coin pendants remain a versatile and stylish jewelry option today. Vintage coin necklaces offer a sense of nostalgia, while updated modern designs feel fresh and fashionable.
Brands like Awe Inspired and Aurate produce trendy, beautiful coin pendants with a nod to the mythology and symbolism of ancient times. Bulgari’s new Monete collection features ancient coins dating as far back as 400 BC. These new designs, largely featuring feminine figures and goddesses, are directly influenced by the original trend of coin pendants from long ago.
Tips for Buying and Caring for Coin Pendants
Coin pendants are on-trend, historically interesting, and make a great addition to a layered necklace look. You can find coin pendants at a lot of different jewelry brands, from local to designer shops. Some online shops even offer unique vintage pieces. When you’re shopping for a new coin pendant, consider whether you want to find something antique or more modern; rare, authentic vintage coins will have a natural patina (an antique or bronzy look that develops with time) and show markings of wear, while replicas tend to look polished and new.
If you opt for a new design, consider which metal you prefer based on your style and your budget. Silver is more affordable, but it tends to tarnish over time and requires more polishing. On the other hand, gold is pricier but offers a warmer, richer color and is more resistant to tarnishing. Another great option is a plated coin — gold and rhodium plating provide the look of gold or silver without the hefty price tag.
To keep your coin pendant in great shape, clean it gently with mild soap, water, and a soft cloth. You can also wipe down your coin pendant every time you wear it to prevent residue buildup. Avoid wearing your coin pendant in the shower or hot tub, and keep it away from harsh chemicals at all costs. Storing coin jewelry in a soft pouch or padded box can prevent scratching, and keeping coins in a cool, dry room in your home will help limit oxidation and tarnish.
The history of the coin pendant is a fascinating evolution from ancient political symbols to modern stylish accessories. While their meaning has changed over time, coin pendants still represent luck, power, and personal significance. Their recent surge in popularity shows this ancient jewelry tradition continues to captivate the imagination and inspire personal style. So next time you come across an intriguing coin, consider using it to create a necklace steeped in thousands of years of tradition. Bring the coin to our design team who can help you create a meaningful, beautiful coin pendant necklace to match your personal style.