Christmas In August
Blind Pig & The Acorn - Appalachian Dialect

Make A Ring From A Quarter

The only post in the top 10 most popular Blind Pig & the Acorn posts that isn't about food in some way shape or form-is one I carry with me everyday.

A couple years ago, Ed Ammons, Blind Pig Reader, told me you could make a ring from a real silver quarter-in other words a quarter that was made in 1964 or before. He generously offered to make me a ring from a year of my choice.

Like a real pain in the neck, I asked for a quarter ring from the year Pap was born 1937. It took Ed a while to find a 1937 quarter.

I still feel guilty for asking for a specific year-I should have just said any year will do. But I do enjoying sliding that pretty ring on my finger each day knowing it symbolizes the year Pap was born as well as the friendship I made with Ed via the Blind Pig & the Acorn. 

Since I published Ed's guest post in 2012 a friend of mine has made several rings for herself and family members; and a couple emailed me to say they would be using the method to make their wedding rings. 

How to make a ring from a quarter

A Shiny Little Silver Ring written by Ed Ammons

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 and I'll pass them along to Ed a.k.a silver ring maker.


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Do you remember back in the 40's, 50's guys cutting out Mercury on the Mercury silver dimes for earrings and necklaces?
I lucked up and found a necklace a few weeks ago in a junk bag of jewelry at a yard sale for a buck!! It had the Mercury head cut out with the outside of the edge of the dime still intact. A jump ring had been attached so to place it on a silver chain. I was so excited! A lot of the time the Mercury was cut out whole, not leaving the outside edge of the dime!
Now, I need me a quarter ring to wear with the Mercury dime necklace. Also, need some penny loafers, and a buffalo nickel bracelet! LOL
Thanks Tipper and Ed...

It has never been illegal to make jewelry from US coin. What is illegal is to change it to make it appear to be worth more than it actually is. That comes from the time when coins were worth their weight in gold or silver. People would shave them down then spend as if they were at their full value. Then they would sell the shavings and make a profit.
As I understand it you can do whatever you want with a coin. You have earned it, it's yours. The government doesn't care what you do with as long as you don't modify it then try to spend it as a coin.
Now, the flag is a different story. It identifies us to and separates us from the rest of the world. It is our national symbol. To desecrate it shows disrespect for all and each of us.

Tipper: Wonderful post. Hope everything is going great for the fall semester at YHC for the girls.

Eva Nell

I'm not one bit surprised this post is one of the Top Ten! It's a doozy, and I remember it well. Never would have imagined this is possible, and Ed makes it look so...well, not "easy" exactly, because it looks like a lot of careful work to me. I guess he makes it look like doing magic!

This is cool - and so pretty too!!!
I remember a time though when it was illegal to deface US money, though I guess in these days where one can mutilate, stomp and burn Old Glory right here in the US, defacing money wouldn't upset the US Supreme Court much anymore either.

God bless.


And Ed...that is a very interesting
article and first hand knowledge of
how to make a Silver Ring. I liked
the illustration pictures as Ed told how to make it too. I'm sure
Tipper knows and realizes the love
and concern going into each tap of
the spoon. It's beautiful...Ken

Mitchell made all the ladies in the family quarter rings about 10 years ago. Mine has replaced my "fancy" wedding ring- I treasure it. Helpful hint: earplugs may be in order for the artist and everyone in the vicinity. All that ding, ding, ding with the spoon is hard on the ears! The end result is worth it, though-

Janice McCall - Make two, one for you and one for Mickey. One with his birth year and the other with yours.

Very interesting . Keep posting things we enjoy. Good work Tipper, down to basic in most cases.God gave you such a talent to seek things out.

Mickey, one of the neighborhood kids that I grew up with riding bicycles, shooting marbles with my daddy, and playing cowboys, had an uncle who also learned during WWII to make the quarter rings. Mickey made a ring for me when I was about 14. I wore it a lot and one night when I was 18 or 19, I was on a date with someone who turned out to be very jealous. I found this out when he asked to see my ring and threw it as far as he could. I searched but could not find the ring. I moved from my hometown a few years later and lost touch with Mickey. He died way too young, about 25 years ago, but I've always wanted another ring. Won't be the one Mickey made me, but I'd still like to have one. Now I know how to do it. Thank you so much!!!

That was very interesting; made with true care and love for the person who will receive it. I had forgotten about this post. I'm a bit ungraceful, so I will not attempt to make one, but I admire the craft of making one.

My grandpa used to make these rings out of silver dimes. Every grandchild would get one of them. Unfortunately, I don't have mine. It was lost many years ago. My grandpa also was a wood carver. He could take a block of wood or a stick and carve anything that you wanted out of it. He also would carve a monkey out of a peach seed. I used to love to watch him at work on all the beautiful things he used to make. Hope you and the girls are enjoying your trip!

Tipper, I thought this was amazing when it was first posted and I still think that it's amazing. Your ring is beautiful and it was such a nice gift from Ed.

Thanks for the great article on making a date ring from a silver quarter. The interesting thing is I made a ring like this in shop class back in the early fifties in Rye, New York.. Yes, and I am a female. We took shop also back then. I would love to try this again.. I saw them for sale at Tamarack Center in Beckley WV, and didn't get the man's name... Thanks for this article.

Beatrice Bland
Madison County, Kentucky

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