Guest Blog! Penny Earrings with Gina Cuff

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Thank you to Gina Cuff for submitting this feature on her beautiful Penny Earrings! Have a look and discover this funky re-purposing of the now defunct coin.

Who: Gina Cuff

Where: St. Philip’s, NL

What: Gina is a multi-media artist renowned for her jewellery and doll making. Gina is highly skilled in drawing and painting as well, giving her a rich and vibrant practice full of swirling copper, textured fabrics, and exquisite detailed linework.

Click here to view Gina’s website:

From Gina Cuff:

“I’ve had a jar of pennies in my cupboard for as long as I can remember and any strays that I found around the house went into it. After the penny was phased out and considered useless to some, I decided to create something cool and interesting with them. Into the studio I went where I spent two days experimenting with different ideas. I’m an artist and a jewelry maker so I decided to make some earrings. With a bit of trial and error, I came up with a few designs.

My method:

I heated the pennies until they were red hot with a torch and hammered them flat. You have to use quite a bit of force to flatten the penny into a disk.

Once I was happy with the shape, I clamped the disk down and used a short roofing nail and a hammer to create the holes in the top and center. You could drill the holes as well but the metal shavings could be hazardous to little pet paws if they roam freely in your studio.

The hard part was now over and I could get creative.

I threaded a rondelle with copper wire after making a bead on the end with the torch, then put it through the center hole and wrapped it around the disk. (See below)

The earrings in the following two photos have one hole at the top. I textured the surface and hung a wire wrapped stone from the ear wire:



The spiral earrings require no holes at all. I made a spiral using copper wire and wrapped it around the penny:

Penny earrings with wire wrap Gina Cuff

Penny earrings with wire wrap
Gina Cuff

All earrings were oxidixed and sanded to create depth. 

The difference between unfinished and finished!

The difference between unfinished and finished!

Some of the pennies melted when I torched them. When I did some research I discovered that not all pennies were created equal. After 1996 they were made with mostly zinc or steel and copper plating instead of copper.

Gina will have a more detailed tutorial coming out in the May issue of the online magazine, Artisan Jewelry Times.

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