How To Make A Silver Ring From A Quarter

How to make a ring from a quarter

A good while back Ed Ammons told me he could make a silver ring from a quarter. I was immediately interested-as I am with most old time ways.

I kept asking Ed questions about the process of making the ring-I just could not get my head wrapped around the idea. Ed generously offered to make a ring for me.

First Ed explained the quarter had to be made of silver-and they quit making silver quarters in 1964. So he said I could pick any date before 1964. I said the first year that popped into my head-1937 the year Pap was born. I should have told Ed any year would be fine-I didn't think about how hard it would be to find a 1937 quarter. Amazingly-Ed found one.

Now I'll let Ed show you how you can make a silver ring from a quarter too.

—————————–

A Shiny Little Silver Ring

How I made a ring from a 1937 silver quarter.

Ring from 1937 quarter

The first and most challenging thing I had to do was to find a 1937 quarter dollar which wasn’t worn too much to show the date. I searched all over Burke, Caldwell and Catawba Counties for a coin dealer without any luck. I feared I would have to go to a bigger town or risk buying it off the internet sight unseen.

Finally someone told me there was a coin dealer on Springs Road in Hickory. I rode up and down looking for a sign but didn’t find anything. I thought “maybe I need to ask somebody” and pulled in to a place called Oz Jewelers.

Oz turned out to be Oz Hefner. Oz is a really nice guy. He didn’t know of any coin dealers close by but he had some silver coins at home. He took my number and said he “had the grandchildren this weekend” but would look when he had time and call if he had a 1937 in good enough condition to do what I needed. After a couple of days of phone tag I got to talk to him and went back to his store pick up the coin. Oz charged me $5.75, the melt value of the silver it contained.

Materials needed to make a silver ring from a quarter

Caution! If you attempt this project please be careful. Keep your knife and your mind very sharp. One slip could land you in the emergency room. But, It can be done safely. I completed mine without a single nick.

What you will need

  • A silver quarter dated before 1964
  • A heavy stainless steel soup spoon
  • A knife with a small sharp blade
  • A Brillo pad
  • A sheet of 2000 grit sandpaper
  • An anvil (or any flat heavy piece of steel)

 No power tools were used at any time

Making a ring from a silver quarter

The idea is to tap the rim of the coin firmly with the outside of the bowl of the spoon. There is reasoning behind the use of the spoon. Each tap leaves a u shaped dent (dimple) that spreads the silver in both directions. Begin by placing your anvil or metal across your legs or between your knees.

  Silver quarter ring

Holding the quarter firmly between your thumb and index finger, place it on the anvil as nearly perpendicular as you can hold it. Begin tapping the rim and turning the coin slowly as you tap. Once you are half way around each tap will spread your dent further when it contacts the anvil.

Quarter ring

This is a long process but the outcome is rewarding. You can listen to music, (I recommend the music of Paul and Pap or the Pressley Girls of the Blind Pig Gang) watch TV with one eye or chat with a friend. But concentrate on making the spoon contact the rim of the quarter as squarely as possible. As you continue to tap and turn you will notice the rim of the coin starting to spread.

WWII quarter rings

Every tap makes the rim wider and the circumference of the coin smaller. Details from the obverse and reverse (heads and tails) start to move toward the inside of the rim.

WWII silver quarter rings

Be careful not to hit too hard or off center. This is the reason you are using a soup spoon. It is just the right weight and its shape insures that only a tiny portion of it strikes the coin. You are much less likely to deliver a glancing blow.

Old timey quarter rings

After innumerable taps with the spoon and turns of the coin the rim looked wide enough to be a ring. It measured a little over 3/16 of an inch or 5mm. All of LIBERTY and 1937 were inside the ring, plus part of IN GOD WE Trust and the end of George’s pigtail. On the reverse UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and QUARTER DOLLAR were inside.

Silver quarter ring made by hand

At this point the outside edges were a little rough. I put my sandpaper on a table, laid the coin down on it and slid it across and back until the edge was smooth. Then I turned it over and did the same thing to the other edge.

Silver ring from a quarter

(These instructions are written for a left handed person. If you are unlucky enough to have been born righty simply switch hands)

Now the only thing keeping it from being a ring it poor George’s head. The next step is to make a hole as near the center as possible. In George’s ear is a good place. Put the coin against the index and middle finger of your right hand. Hold the knife in your left hand with your thumb and index finger on the blade about ½ inch back from the point. Hold the body of the knife with the other three fingers against the palm of your hand. Put the point of the knife in George’s ear and start the hole by turning back and forth, another slow process.

Making a ring from a quarter

When the hole is through to the other side, you can turn it over and work from that side. When the blade comes through far enough that you can feel it, you need to stop and reposition your work. Now you need to stand the coin on its edge to work on it. Use your thumb and forefinger to hold it and press it down firmly against the table.

Silver quarters

Now you can begin to pare away at the inside of the little hole you have started. As the hole gets bigger the work gets easier.

Ed ammons shows how to make a silver ring from a quarter

Now you have a ring. But who’s going to wear it? If its for you, continue to cut away at the inside until it fits a little too snugly. When you sand it inside, it will be perfect. If it is for someone else you can try it on them until it fits. If it is to be a surprise, get a ring of theirs that fits and try it on your finger. When the new ring fits like theirs, you are done.

Next use you your 2000 grit sandpaper to smooth the inside taking care not to remove any of the date or lettering from inside the ring. Polish the outside with the steel wool pad followed by a cloth and a dab of glass cook top cleaner, then a clean dry cloth.

Silver ring made from a quarter

I first saw this done when my father made my mother a wedding ring. My parents were poor folks and couldn’t afford to exchange rings when they married. So, after several years and six children and still not enough money to afford a ring, Daddy made one.

Daddy was in the Army during WW2 and was stationed on an island in the South Pacific. He had seen other soldiers there making rings like this for their wives and girl friends during the long boring hours and days.

I was old enough to watch and remember how he did it when Daddy made his, so when my wife lost her wedding band in the Atlantic, I made her a replacement like Daddy did. She loved it, as my mother had, so I decided to make another and record the process so it can be passed on to another generation.

Caution! If you attempt this project please be careful. Keep your knife and your mind very sharp. One slip could land you in the emergency room. But, It can be done safely. I completed mine without a single nick.

 —————————–

Pretty cool ring uh? I am so glad Ed made me the ring-its truly something I will always treasure. And I'm glad he documented the steps for future generations too!

If any of you decide to make a ring and have additional questions you can email them to me at blindpigandtheacorn@gmail.com and I'll pass them along to Ed a.k.a silver ring maker.

Tipper

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53 Comments

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 2, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Jim – I carve out the silver onto a clean sheet of paper and save it in a little glass jar. So far I have collected 57 grams of silver shavings. I haven’t decided what to do with them yet.
    I have all kinds of power tools I could have used to make the task easier and faster but the premise is too make it as a WW2 soldier would have had to have done. Without anything more than the basics. The only thing that might not be available to any US soldier is the sandpaper. Brasso, which was available to soldiers, and a piece wool cloth would also serve to put a high polish on the piece.
    I have a steel ring mandrel but I wouldn’t use it to work on the inside of one of these rings. The date and lettering are raised and could easily be distorted or destroyed. The date is the most important thing in one of these little beauties.
    Tipper’s ring is a 1937. The year her dad was born. 1937 was a low mintage year therefore are harder to find in good enough condition to make a ring without paying a premium for it. A common worn down one might only only cost around $5.00 but doesn’t make a good ring. A good one might be in the $30 to $50 range. I was lucky to find Tipper’s for the price I paid.

  • Reply
    Jim Walsh
    March 14, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    I suppose this works, but I have tow concerns:
    1. It appears that most of the silver ends up as dust and shavings on your work bench. I suggest you do something to recover the unused silver and pound it into another silver trinket.
    2. This process assumes you have few power tools. An electric drill and a Dremel Roto-tool will greatly reduce the time to bore out the hole and smooth the edges. A round iron or steel poker will also make it easier deform the inside of the quarter into a round shape.

  • Reply
    Joan
    October 19, 2015 at 6:39 am

    I made one! I used a chain saw file and round knife sharpener to do the inside after I got the hole started with a knife. It was fun!

  • Reply
    Patti Tappel
    October 7, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Thank you for sharing. I have a blacksmith friend who makes them, but now my personal blacksmith or perhaps myself can make one. Now to find a 1952 quarter!

  • Reply
    Tipper
    March 16, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Diane
    I have seen coins on Pinterest, Etsy and Ebay that have been done like that. I think they use a hydraulic press and turn the coin wrong-side out. You would have to invest in some pretty expensive equipment in order to do it that way. The rings that I made were the traditional way. The way soldiers made them to sent home to their mothers, wives and girlfriends. I could make rings using jewelers equipment in a fraction of the time it takes to make the traditional ones but to me the value is in fact that it is completely hand made. Before the US Mint stopped putting silver into our coins, you could take readily available items and with otherwise wasted time, make a ring.
    I looked at some youtube videos that show how to make rings like you are wondering about. They involve punches, dies and presses, annealing and stretching, filing and sanding but it can be done. If you decide to make one, I would be interested in seeing a picture of the end result.
    The smaller you make the ring, the wider the band and the more of coin goes into the ring. But, you dont lose the silver you carve out. I put a piece of paper under it when I carve it and save it in a little glass jar. If I get enough I am going to melt it down and make a little figurine or maybe embed it in acrylic or epoxy and make a paperweight or something like that. It looks like metal flake.
    You could drill out most of what you need to remove if you arent sure of your knife skills. Better yet go to a butcher shop or meat market and ask them to sell you a cutting glove. I dont use one but if I dont tell you and you cut yourself, I would feel bad.
    I want to see a picture when you are done! Good Luck!
    Ed

  • Reply
    DianeMargaret
    March 11, 2015 at 12:49 am

    I was wondering…is there any possible way to pound/press out the center, rather than carve it out (after boring a very small hole, of course)?!!
    I know it sounds weird, but I was hoping to leave the coin as “whole” as possible.

  • Reply
    Greg Lautz
    February 21, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    This is directly from the USMINT.GOV website
    Can I make jewelry from U.S. coins?
    Yes, but your business should be careful not to imply any endorsement by or association with the United States Mint in its advertising and marketing materials.
    Can I melt, drill holes through, or mutilate U.S. coins?
    Maybe. It is a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 331 to alter a U.S. or foreign coin with the intent to defraud. The United States Mint cannot issue interpretations of criminal statutes such as this, which fall within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice. Furthermore, 31 C.F.R. Part 82 states that no person shall export, melt or treat any 5-cent coin or one-cent coin of the United States. However, there are a few exceptions such as for novelty, amusement, educational, jewelry and similar purposes. Your business should consult with an attorney to ensure it does not run afoul of these laws before melting or mutilating U.S. coins.

  • Reply
    katie
    January 17, 2015 at 10:02 am

    how long did it take you to make this? what blade did you use?

  • Reply
    Pam
    March 6, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Amazing….but to have that story to go with the process is truly great. Thank you and Ed for sharing, not thinking I will ever make one…but that is cool.

  • Reply
    reedstar
    November 20, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    There is a recent law that prohibits the melting of pennies and nickels for their bullion value–they currently contain more metal value than face price. You may still use them for artistic material for projects, but you may not melt them for salvage.
    Any coin made from gold or silver may be defaced or melted with no laws being broken!

  • Reply
    Cavermarkk
    May 26, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Thanks for the idea/info. I made my wife one and it turned out awesome and better than expected. My only wish is that they still made silver quarters so that I could have made it using the date/year we got married.

  • Reply
    J. G. From Texas
    February 25, 2013 at 3:32 am

    You’re a lifesaver! I’m about half done making a quarter ring to propose with–sure beats my original cigar band plan, and I can finally put the silver quarter I got at the laundromat to good use.
    Thank you for a great idea.

  • Reply
    Kerry in GA
    August 9, 2012 at 11:21 am

    My Momma and my Granny both have silver quarter wedding bands that my Daddy and Papaw made for them when they got married. I’ve always thought that was the sweetest thing. Thanks for posting. It made me smile.

  • Reply
    Pollie Robinson
    April 18, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    My husband made me a ring out of a stainless steel pipe from work.he was a millwright in a plant. The ring is still in good shape after 47 years! My brother made the mercury dime necklace and ear rings for me,I’ ve had them quite a few years. too.
    Blessings
    Pollie

  • Reply
    Nancy M.
    March 23, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Wow! How cool! And it seems so simple, though time consuming. Thanks for sharing the instructions!

  • Reply
    Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings
    March 14, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    That is too cool! I have never seen this.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 13, 2012 at 5:48 am

    It is illegal to fraudulently deface or alter the currency. Which means, if I understand it right, to change it for illegal purposes. Silver smelters have been melting coins for decades. Are they illegal? This coin was purchased as silver and turned into a work of art. Besides maybe they’ll put me in Federal prison with a Domino’s in the food court.

  • Reply
    RB
    March 11, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Amazing! However, I believe it’s illegal to deface US currency and coins, but heck – some fruitcakes in our Supreme Court made it legal to burn our flag, so it’s difficult to understand how this would hold up in a court of law here anyway.
    What do you think?
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Tammy Flectcher
    March 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Thank you for sharing, going to go find my husband right now………

  • Reply
    Sassy
    March 11, 2012 at 9:49 am

    That is impressive, I am in awe of the dedication that goes into making such a ring. Thank you for showing me yours Tipper, it is gorgeous. What a treasure!
    Now I wanna make one with my birth year 1957, to give to my eldest daughter.

  • Reply
    Billy Propst
    March 10, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Wow! When I commented yesterday about my friend Ed Ammons telling me how to make a ring from a silver quarter, I didn’t realize that the project he was showing me was to turn up on your finger!
    Congrats on a fine looking ring!!
    Great job Ed!!!

  • Reply
    Darlene LaRoche
    March 10, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing the instructions. I remember these rings for the 70’s, we have an avil, and some silver quarters, I may have to try to make one.

  • Reply
    Robert Loftis
    March 10, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Thanks for the post tipper.Will try some day

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 10, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Shirla-Make the ring and wear it proud. People will think you have found a better Thing.

  • Reply
    Charlotte
    March 10, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    SO interesting!! I’d never heard of a ring like this, so I got a new wrinkle on my brain.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    March 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    wow tipper.. that is so gorgeous.. and i have been bugging my husband since i have read your post.. lol i have not had my wedding band since i had to have it cut off.. after a mishap at work.. ;(
    sooo.. now im on an mission to have one of these..
    thank you and ed for sharing with us.. im so impressed with the talent out there.. and the love ..
    as always
    big ladybug hugs… spring is springing here.. the robins are bobbing.. lol
    xoxo
    lynn

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    March 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Very very cool!

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    March 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Mitchell gave my wedding ring a more hammered look & it is so beautiful! He also used a power drill to make the hole(much less likely to go to the ER-lol!). He then took a fairly large bolt & threaded thru the hole & started hammering again. The hole stretched, the outside flattened, & eventually I had my ring. PS-earplugs are good-all that ding, ding, ding can wear on your ears after a couple of hours!

  • Reply
    Madge @ The View From Right Here
    March 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Wow, I’m not very handy with knives, but I’d love to try this!

  • Reply
    Sherry
    March 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Wow! What a nice craft…and I love anything silver and especially something someone made. Would love to find a quarter for my birth year and make one. Thanks.

  • Reply
    Dale Anderson
    March 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Had not heard of this before. You have got me looking for a pre-1937 Quarter so I can make one for my wife of 59 years.

  • Reply
    Mrs. K
    March 10, 2012 at 11:11 am

    How wonderful! Thanks Tipper for sharing this post and thank you Ed for sharing the technique. I am definitely saving these instructions and going to find myself a silver quarter.
    What a treasure for a wedding ring!

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    March 10, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Great instructions and a wonderful post. I appreciated the comment about being left handed!

  • Reply
    Becky
    March 10, 2012 at 9:53 am

    A quarter?!!
    I have some old quarters locked up in the safe and I will be getting them out today.
    I love this and can’t wait to try it.
    Now….just to find an anvil or an old iron or something else heavy and smooth.
    Thanks Tipper and Ed!!

  • Reply
    Jen
    March 10, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Beautiful!

  • Reply
    MadSnapper
    March 10, 2012 at 9:16 am

    hubby is looking over my shoulder and wants me to pull it up so he can read HOW to… really cool ring

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    March 10, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I was going to comment on this yesterday, but garden chores kept me from it until now, when the chores have laid me up for morning’s convalescence.
    I learned this art from a friend of mine, a former resident at the maximum security facility in Nashville. He took one of the coins I’d collected when delivering papers some ten years prior and set about with the spoon, much as you described. His toil was even more laborious, being based on the time eating traditions and the lack of adequate tools of an inmate.
    He told me that convicts cried for loneliness when they made these rings for their sweethearts, and that’s what made them harden, as their hearts were hardened by their hard iron bars.
    I don’t know about this, but it made for a pretty ring.
    Foolishly, I gave mine to a girl whose heart was as hard as the ring. Maybe in the that way, it brought me luck as well, since she soon ran off, and I later found the girl and wife of my dreams.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 10, 2012 at 9:00 am

    That is nothing short of amazing! The ring is beautiful, the time and care that went into it, astonishing. Thanks Ed, for sharing this with us.
    That must have taken hours. I never would have believer you could change the shape of a quarter with a spoon!
    How did you learn to do that?

  • Reply
    Cyndi
    March 10, 2012 at 8:51 am

    This is amazing!
    Smiles, Cyndi

  • Reply
    Shirla
    March 10, 2012 at 8:50 am

    I have some silver quarters made in my birth year. One will soon become a ring. The only problem is, if I wear it people might think I’m still married to that thing I called a husband for 28 years. LOL!
    Thanks for the great show and tell, Tipper and Ed.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 10, 2012 at 8:31 am

    I forgot to include that my father used a old flat iron as his anvil. The kind they heated on top of the stove. You know, like you crack black walnuts on. I bet a lot of folks have those. I don’t! But if someone wants to donate one….
    If you decide to make a ring, use only time that would otherwise be wasted. You’ll be surprised how fast it goes.
    By the way, I made the anvil, too!

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    March 10, 2012 at 8:30 am

    I really didn’t have a clue that one could use a quarter to make something so special. I must have been in another element with my guess. It was a good lesson, but not one I will try. Grace is not my name – if you know what I mean. Thanks for the lesson!

  • Reply
    Alica
    March 10, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Fantastic! Our elderly neighbor just gave us some silver quarter…we’ll have to try it out!

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    March 10, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Thank you, Tipper, and thanks, especially, Ed Ammons, for giving detailed, illustrated, step-by-step instructions for making a wonderful silver Quarter Ring. It is crafted so well that I did not guess at all from what it was so meticulously made! Now I will be looking for pre-1964 quarters that can be potential rings made by someone who can follow Ed’s directions. This post has just added another “make-do” mountain craft to our repertoire! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    March 10, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Believe it or not my son has an anvil (a big one). I wonder how long it took to get the outside smooth like that by tapping with the spoon. That is really neat, but don’t know if I would have the patience required to make it. Do you think you could use a drill to start the center hole with? Also if one did not fit your finger just right, you could wear it around your neck on a chain.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    March 10, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Tipper,
    and Ed….Great job on the ring…
    I wonder if you remember the silver Mercury dime cut out necklaces and ear rings they made back when….
    I have some coins but am allergic to some metals…so stingy me will just savem for the grandkids…
    Great Post and great instructions for ring making….Thanks Tipper and Ed…

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 10, 2012 at 7:53 am

    I love it and I want to try to make one myself, I am afraid I don’t have the patience for it though.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    March 10, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Very nice, Ed! I know that I will have to try this. Now, to find a pre-1964 quarter, or a few of them…

  • Reply
    LINDA L. KERLIN
    March 10, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Well, Tipper and Ed found that very interesting–you have probably sent alot of your readers on a hunt for early quarters to make themselves a really neat ring—thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Marianne
    March 10, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Now this is a wonderful craft to pass along! I’d much rather have a ring that someone took the time to make for me than a store bought one any day!! Thank you so much for sharing, I’ll be keeping this and maybe try my hand at making one.
    Marianne

  • Reply
    bernadette burch
    March 10, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Oh my goodness! I am making a ring today. Thanks for sharing Ed and Tipper. Happy Saturday.

  • Reply
    kat
    March 10, 2012 at 7:15 am

    Well this is the neatest thing I’ve seen in awhile. Do wish I’d been smart enough to have saved some of the old coins, but when you are young and broke you never think of it.

  • Reply
    Bradley
    March 10, 2012 at 5:37 am

    I was totally off base Tipper; that ring looked gold on my screen. Ed sure did a fantastic job.
    That looks great; it looks “Store bought”. I have seen the boys in my school years ago that made those rings out of quarters. They would tell how they made them but I was afraid that I wouldn’t have the patience to try it myself. You lucked up Tipper! Its beautiful!

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