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Inspirations

Nina Bukvic’s Ancient Coin Amulet Jewelry Is Born from History, Personal Reflection

London. Oct. 1, 2020. Designer Nina Bukvic’s first-ever ancient coin jewelry collection was an exclusive one made for Barneys about 20 years ago, but memories of it have inspired a new iteration. Behold her latest Ancient Coin Amulet jewelry collection, which debuted in mid-September.

“During the lockdown I rummaged through some boxes, and seeing those coins brought back memories as well as new ideas,” she tells JH. “The pieces are modeled by my personal collection—I collect antique and vintage jewelry, objects, and coins. Some are Roman, others more recent Victorian, and some are the same ones I used as inspiration for the Barneys collection.”

Plus, as Covid-era reality unfolded, so did uncertainty, and Bukvic saw individuals slowing down to better appreciate and re-evaluate their lives, moves she also made. The new coins became part of this experience.

“This is an opportunity to look back in our past and try to connect it with our present and create a better future,” she continues. “This collection is just that, bringing the past back and fusing it with the present and thereby creating an aesthetically balanced fusion of both.”

So she reimagined her initial coin collection—“I  still had a few of those coins,” she says—and that gave way to the rest. All are made predominately in 18k yellow gold with some 22k and 9k gold mixed in, as well as some silver. Pink and blue sapphires and fancy-color diamonds are used as stone accents. Retail prices range from £300 to £9,000.

What’s uncommon about these coins is that they are entirely made by hand—no casting! And while each jewel is unique, similar ones can be reordered with the understanding that no two will ever be exactly the same.

“I love experimenting, coming up with new techniques,” Bukvic explains about a thoughtful process she employs to make the coins. She melts gold (lately, lots of scraps) over a jeweler’s charcoal or soldering mat, scraping the material and using a pick to shape it while it’s molten. Over time and with practice, she’s gotten into a groove of making coins this way. But the process, not Bukvic, dictates the size of the coin.

A newly completed, fabricated coin from Nina Bukvic

A newly completed, fabricated coin from Nina Bukvic

“I don’t decide how big the coin is—it’s decided by chance,” she says in a phone interview. “This is not precise or a predictable method, but I enjoy it. Once I get the desired shape or effect, I can further file and sand it. Then I decide what to do with it depending on how thin it is, such as making a ring or a necklace.”

Ancient Coin Amulet is already in a few stores in the United Kingdom and arrives stateside in October.

Ancient Coin stud earrings in 18k yellow gold, £1,050; available online at Nina Bukvic

Ancient Coin stud earrings in 18k yellow gold, £1,050; available online at Nina Bukvic

Ancient Coin ring in 18k yellow gold, £2,900; available online at Nina Bukvic

Ancient Coin ring in 18k yellow gold, £2,900; available online at Nina Bukvic

Ancient Coin necklace in 18k yellow gold, £5,960; available online at Nina Bukvic


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