Keos – When coins turn to jewelry…
Historians locate the emergence of coins in the West about 550 to 560 BC on the borders of the eastern Aegean Sea, within the kingdom of Lydia. Subsequently the manufacture and use of coins gradually spread to the whole of Greece, the Roman Empire and many other countries around the world. In the Cycladic archipelago, on the Greek island of Kea (Keos or “Κέως” in ancient Greek), coins were produced in antiquity.
Subsequently, these particularly aesthetic coins were sometimes transformed into various jewelries (rings, pendants and bracelets) by skilled craftsmen who borrowed the name of the island from which their coins came to designate the fruit of their work.
The KEOS were born!
Later, it was by extension that this appellation was also used as a generic term to designate certain coins transformed into jewelries. In the course of the 19th century, itinerant craftsmen had the idea to cut out coins to transform them into costume jewelry at an affordable price that they sold at random from their travels.
Today this craft has virtually disappeared and is only practiced by a few enthusiasts who thus offer a second life to the common demonetized coins.
The KEOS are therefore seductive and original fantasy jewelry made from coins from all over the world, and in particular from those that have been removed from circulation. The cutting, which is entirely done by hand, requires a great dexterity and a prolonged concentration. This technique allows revealing and highlighting the magnificent motives minted on these coins, real miniature works of art.
The multitude of coins that have been issued, especially since the Industrial Revolution, thus offers an extremely varied and almost inexhaustible raw material. True witness to the cultures and peoples of the world, the KEOS are an invitation to travel.