From The Bench

Jewelry Pendants: History, Design, and Inspirations

Anyone inclined to craft DIY jewelry often thinks of jewelry pendants first. Jewelry pendants come in the broadest themes, sizes, makes, and designs. The most reliable and classic jewelry pendants are 925 sterling silver charms, gems, images, and other items. Xinar has spent over two decades making sure that crafters from all walks of life have access to locally manufactured sterling silver charms for jewelry-making projects.

Master artisans make our charms through the lost wax casting method. While 3D printing and other high-tech methods now exist, we firmly believe in the quality and passion that goes into creating through more traditional methods. So order a few or a couple hundred—Xinar’s sterling silver charms are incredibly detailed, beautiful, and perfect for your vision of the finished jewelry each time and all the time.

Taking Inspiration and Designing with Charms

The steps involved in jewelry design change depending on the final product you envision. For instance, using a gemstone or diamond in a ring necessitates careful planning to prevent the stone from falling out of the setting. The precision required to create jewelry from clay or wire is much lower than in gemstone settings.

You’ll figure out what works best for you as time goes on. If you are starting in the field of jewelry design and practicing with items like jewelry pendants, however, keep in mind the following guidelines.

Involving both art and science, jewelry design is a complex process. There’s room for originality, but you should also keep a few guidelines in mind. As a jeweler, one of your goals should be to make a piece of jewelry that draws attention and is admired by those who see it. Principles such as these are:

Though jewelry is not required to be symmetrical, it should still be balanced in terms of its visual and physical weight.

Jewelry pieces often have a focal point that stands out from the rest, whether a different shape, a larger or smaller stone, a different kind of metal, or any combination of these.

Proportionality refers to the degree to which individual parts complement one another. The overall effect of an accessory can be thrown off if one of its parts is grossly out of proportion to the others.

Visual interest can be created with contrast by combining different elements.

When all the parts of a piece of jewelry come together as intended, it creates a feeling of unity.

Jewelry creation with items like jewelry pendants typically begins with a sketch. A jewelry designer’s first step is to sketch an initial depiction of each piece, much like a clothing designer would do with a garment.

A simple sketch emphasizing the proportions, structure, shape, and overall concept is often the best place to start when drawing jewelry designs. After that, you can advance to more intricate drawings with minor details like prongs or stones. Finally, after a jewelry design is finalized, the drawings can be used as a production guide or to cast a model or mold.

Texture, proportion, and perspective are all skills necessary for learning how to draw jewelry designs realistically. Drawing your designs with just graphite or ink is one option, but adding color with colored pencils can be helpful, especially for jewelry that features multiple-colored components, like gemstones or beads.

Depending on the type of jewelry you’re trying to create, the skills necessary to bring your designs to life will change significantly. You can make your custom jewelry out of some materials. Simpler designs, such as those made from beads or clay, are ideal for beginners because they don’t require much equipment or expertise.

You can learn the skills necessary to make such accessories like jewelry pendants with some practice and some classes.

However, other forms of jewelry design require much more time and effort to create. For example, crafts like silver and goldsmithing involve working with precious metals to create jewelry like necklaces and bracelets.

Embossing, riveting, soldering, casting, and other metalworking techniques are necessary for their production. Don’t be afraid to go down that road, though, if that’s the route you want to take with your jewelry design career. Online jewelry design classes are just one option among many that can teach you everything you need to know to get started.

Beaded jewelry is made by affixing beads to a string or wire. There is a wide variety of styles available for beaded jewelry. Bead sizes and shapes can cover a broad spectrum, from the tiniest seed beads to the largest rocambole.

Wood, ivory, bone, shells, paper, and porcelain are just some materials that can be used to create them.

Making jewelry is fascinating because there are so many avenues open to exploration. You could design huge, eye-catching pieces or focus on more minor, more subtle details. Learning the steps involved in designing jewelry gives you the power to give form to any idea you have, whether for personal use or to share with others.

What is the History of Jewelry Pendants?

Prehistory to Ancient Times

From ancient times, the precursors of the modern jewelry pendants have captivated regular folks and royalty. No one is spared from symbols and charms’ mystique and supposed magical powers. And our love affair for symbols strung on strings began long before modern civilization. Archeological findings show that Neolithic means strung sculpted clary, wood pieces, stones, shells, and animal bones on necklaces. They wore these necklaces for the same reasons we do. We love wearing them, and they mean something to us.

Although the exact function of such jewelry remains a mystery, it is not out of the question that it was worn as a charm bracelet in the modern sense to ward off evil or attract good fortune.

Charms, amulets, or talismans have long been worn for their purported magical, mystical, protective, spiritual, and romantic qualities. From this point forward, as new cultures matured, they soon began fashioning natural materials to look like recognizable items and figures.

The techniques and materials used to create jewelry have progressed in tandem, making for increasingly high-quality results.

In ancient times, jewelry-makers and artisans used semiprecious stones like lapis lazuli to create small designs. These small designs are thought to possess magical properties. For example, there is evidence that the Babylonians first wore charm bracelets around 700 BC.

Spans both of these eras; during this time, the Pharaohs and the wealthy began donning elaborate jewelry made from precious stones and metals. In this region, elaborate head and neck pieces adorned with charms, and charm pendants first appeared around 3000 BC. In common with other societies, the average lifespan in ancient Egypt was only about 35 years.

With such a short lifespan, they concentrated on setting themselves up for a happy afterlife. Charms and bracelets were worn at this time to ward off evil spirits, increase fertility, and display social and economic status. They were worn for protection and continued prosperity until death, but more importantly, they served as a signal to the Gods to help guide the wearer and their possessions to their proper status in the afterlife.

One such talisman that stood for rebirth and revival was the scarab amulet. They believed the scarab charm would protect them from harm and help them unscathed through the afterlife. The Ankh symbolized the power or the key to life, and the Eye of Horus, which provided protection both in this world and the next, were also popular amulets among Egyptians.

The Modern Era

A wave of innovation in charms and charm jewelry occurred during the 1920s and 1930s when platinum and diamonds were widely used to create a new level of simplicity and elegance that challenged the austerity of Victorian society. Charms for necklaces and bracelets that were both angular and geometric were decorated with fine art.

Following WWII’s conclusion, service members returning from the front lines sought lightweight mementos they could easily transport home.

They went shopping for souvenirs and handcrafted items to bring back to their loved ones. The area’s artisans would carve or form materials like metal into miniature versions of household goods. In addition to their dog tags, soldiers would carry around locally crafted novelty charms and more meaningful mementos of lost friends, liberated cities, and war experiences. Jewelry charms gained immense popularity as a way for soldiers to memorialize significant experiences and express their feelings while away from home. European and American jewelers jumped on the bandwagon and were soon producing sterling silver charms for every imaginable event.

As a result, kids started finding tiny celluloid or acrylic charms in everything from candy wrappers to cereal boxes to gumball machines and using them to decorate their own beaded chains and string necklaces. A few examples are sports figures, sailing ships, army figures, pets, and jungle animals. These souvenirs originated in Japan in the 1920s and gained popularity in the United States after World War II.

Bracelets with jewelry pendants were the “it” jewelry for young women in the 1950s and 1960s. By this time, they had taken on new meanings associated with coming of age, such as the sixteenth and eighteenth birthdays, graduations, weddings, the births of children, trips, astrology, and birthstones. Adding a charm to a bracelet or necklace was customary to commemorate each significant life event. It has become common practice in many high-society circles in the United States and elsewhere to present a young girl with a charm bracelet as a “starter set” when she reaches the age of 13. She would receive additional dangling gold or sterling silver charms throughout her life to commemorate these events, holidays, and hobbies.

These contemporary charm bracelets allowed for the addition of new charms while allowing the removal and storage of previously worn ones. Women and girls could express their individuality through their charm bracelets by switching out the charms daily. Charm bracelets were frequently given as presents or passed down as family heirlooms from mother to daughter. Over time, the daughter would decorate the bracelet with charms.

This custom lasted until the 1970s, when bare gold chains became popular due to shifts in fashion and music, and the link was severed. Old estate jewelry was being sold off to make room for the new, more daring styles of jewelry, and this is when charm bracelets first began to show up at antique and flea markets. Danish Troll beads may have inspired modern personalized jewelry and kept the flame alive in Europe.

The economic boom and numerous television shows featuring antiques and collectibles in the 1990s boosted the demand for antique charms and bracelets. Collectors yearning to return to a bygone era of superior craftsmanship placed a premium on mechanical or opening charms.

While the function, materials, and styles of jewelry pendants have evolved over the centuries, the practice has endured. Beginning in 2001, high-end designers such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel breathed new life into the charm bracelet industry by introducing innovative styles. Chanel cashed in on the popularity of the Pirates of the Caribbean films by producing Russian doll charm bracelets, icon charm bracelets, and pirate charm bracelets. Even more recently, charm bracelets from Pandora Jewelry have become a global phenomenon, and their popularity only seems to grow.

Please contact us if you have any questions or comments. Thanks for reading!

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