Layering Pendants

Layering to create pendants can be fun for both beginners and advance jewelry designers, and the results look fabulous!

To create a layered pendant, the first thing to do is brainstorm. What do you want the pendant to look like? Is it going to be bright and colorful or monochromatic? How much detail do you want? Should it be large and round, wedge shaped or wide? Once you’ve answered a few of these questions, you can begin looking for pieces to create your design.

Sterling Silver Charms
Begin by looking for your focal piece, as everything else you choose will need to complement it. Sterling silver charms are always a good choice because of their high quality, detail and fun themes. They look nice resting against both simple and complex backgrounds.

Glass Beads
And, of course, when it comes to color, glass and crystal beads are an excellent option. Small Swarovski bicone beads work wonderfully for creating clusters or dangles, and other glass beads have gorgeous designs.

Once you’ve decided on your focal piece, check its size and shape. This will help you determine what to place behind it. Long pieces can look elegant with an oval or rectangular shape behind them, while large, broad pieces will benefit with a square or circle.

Background Pendants for Layered Jewelry Designs
There are a variety of components that work good as backgrounds, and sometimes they can be unconventional. Don’t feel stuck using something you’ve already seen. For simple backgrounds, try a resin pendant or a metal tag. For a complex pattern, use a Lillypilly pendant or a laser cut wood pendant. Sometimes, the look you’re going for can’t be achieved with just two pieces. You may need a smaller middle piece to set off your focal piece or to blend the background and the focal together.

If you’d like to see some examples of layering, be sure to check out some of these ideas at the Learning Center. They have step by step instructions to help you see exactly how they were created.

Enlightened Spirit Necklace Design Instructions
This Enlightened Spirit Necklace shows how a silver charm can stand out against a dark, yet complex background.

Anemone Necklace Design Instructions
This Anemone Necklace shows how a background can add color, and how two detailed pieces can work together.

Heart of Gold Necklace Design Instructions
The Heart of Gold Necklace shows how layering similar shapes can create a beautiful effect.

Chi Necklace Design Instructions
Here, the brass tones of the background pendant in the Chi Necklace are drawn out by the focal piece.

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    • maudsmyth
    • January 25, 2011

    Great article. Gives attractive design examples and inspires me to rethink some of the items I already have on hand. May need to make a few more purchases from Artbeads, though!

    • Anna M. West
    • January 25, 2011

    Thank you for this interesting article on layering necklaces. I think I might have done this but didn’t think of it as layering. Most lovely!

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