Chinese cash coins are found anywhere there was trade with Chinese or Asian merchants, from ancient shipwrecks in the South China Sea to the Yangtze River. Storms, wars, pirates (yes, there were Asian pirates, too!) and simple mishaps on the boats were all reasons why the coins went to the bottom.
These coins we use for our store favorite wrap bracelets are Shipwreck Tang dynasty coins that date from 618 - 627 AD!
There is great debate about exactly why these legendary coins have holes in the center. In eastern philosophy, the square represents the earth, and the circle the great expanse of the heavens. But perhaps the most practical reason for the hole in the coins, according to cash coin expert Mr. Daniel, is that, “A great majority of East Asians did not have pockets in their clothes.” The upper classes had small coin bags or purses that were tied on their belts to hold their coins. But the poorer people didn’t have bags and had to string their coins together then attach them to a belt, their wrist or even a carrying pole.
Each of these coins have slept silently at the bottom of the South China Sea, out of site for hundreds of years, waiting to be discovered. And we often wonder what their makers might think if they knew their creations were teaching us the stories about the people who used to own them.