Reading Museum Town Hall

Reading Museum

Search the Collections


Silver - After 1870

completed for accessibility and SEO

Jewellery made of coins from Palestine

This is a collection of jewellery, each made up of coins chained together, to be used as a dowry in Palestine. The giving of dowries – the material wealth that is transferred from the bride’s family to the groom’s upon marriage – is an ancient wedding tradition that was common worldwide, and is still practised in some parts of the world. In Palestine it is a very old tradition for dowries to come in the form of coinage for use as jewellery – in this case, a pair of earrings, a brooch and what could either be necklaces or bracelets. All of the coins are silver, which would indicate that the wearer was wealthy and appreciated by her family, and which was also the most convenient type of wealth to use in times of emergency.

Most of the coins date from the 1870s, apart from two coins which may not be a part of this group. However, the coins were probably collected or saved up before being presented as a dowry in later decades. They may also have been handed down as heirlooms from one generation to the next. The coins include what appears to be a Charles I sixpence, a 1727 George II Lima crown, an 1811 Bristol Silver Token, a 20 Pfennig from the German Empire, a 1862 French 50 cent and a 10 Soldi coin from the Papal States in Italy. The earrings are made from 2 Annas silver coins from British India, and the brooch is made from a British Victorian half-crown minted 1839-1887.

Museum object number REDMG : 2007.1498.1=5

See related topic: World Collection: Belief

See related topic: World Collection: Ornamentation