Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Penny Factory

While we were at the Royal Norfolk Show, we kept an eye out for some cufflinks, as we always do at this sort of thing. I don’t usually buy new cufflinks, as they’re often a bit above the budget, but once in a while it’s nice to get a pair that hasn’t arrived in my house via a secondhand shop.

Anyway, we came across the stall for the Penny Factory. (This isn’t an ad, by the way – I just think what this guy is doing is great!). The craftsman in this instance takes old and newish coins and turns them into a variety of decorative apparel, such as cufflinks, brooches, belt clasps, pendants, and the like. But what makes them so special is that he colour enamels each coin to bring out the original texture. And in so doing, turns each item into a miniature work of art.

You can see some examples on his website, though unfortunately they don’t have quite the lustre in the photographs as they do in reality. Still it will give you an idea. Just imagine them as being much more colourful than they appear here and you’ll get the idea. (From what the artist told me, his website is being updated, so if you have any problems, contact him at

I could have taken home any number of the items on display, but had to settle on just one pair of links: a couple of 1945 farthings, which glisten with enamel blues and reds and other subtle hues. Why 1945? It's the year of my birth, and at that stage, farthings were still worth something! I reckon these items make wonderful gifts or collector’s items.

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