How to Design Your Own Pendant

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This unique pendant was designed by a jeweler from Alaska.
This unique pendant was designed by a jeweler from Alaska. (Image: Photo by Ryn Gargulinski)

You are so sick of those boring crystals or cheesy antique baubles you see all over the place. In fact, most of the pendants you see make you yawn. Rather than swear off jewelry forever, you can design your pendant to express your personality. Your personal pendant can be of any shape, size or design. It can also become your signature piece, worn with everything from a frilly smock to a simple T-shirt. You can design your pendant with a few simple steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Imagination

Determine the size. Some gals love giant baubles around their necks, while others prefer the demure. Practice holding coins up to your neck area where you would like the pendant to hang to figure out what size will work best for you. Draw a very light outline of the size coin you chose to give you the size you get to work with.

Brainstorm for an image. You may already have a vision in your head of a blazing red ruby surrounded by small emerald leaves, or a skull encrusted with diamonds. If not, think of some things that make you smile--maybe a dog paw or flowers. Or simply start doodling on the page until you come up with a design that suits your fancy. Keep in mind that the more details you’ll want, the bigger the pendant should be. Smaller pendants should be kept simple.

Figure out the gemstones, adornments or colors you want. If you are in love with bright stones, design something that showcases several of them clustered in a bright gold backing. If you want a subtler pendant, go with a lighter stone in a silver setting. Keep in mind that you can substitute rhinestones for diamonds or make other adjustments so that your pendant won’t cost $1 million.

Find a custom jeweler. Visit area jewelry stores with your design in hand to price how much it would cost to create such an item. Ask for ways to make it less expensive if they quote you some ridiculous fee. If you cannot find a local jeweler, you can always search for one online or make your own pendant (see Resources below). Visit a craft supply store’s jewelry section for backings and other jewelry-making material.

Tips & Warnings

  • Art and street fairs are another place to ask around if someone can create the pendant you designed. The fairs are often stocked with folks who make their own jewelry. They may be willing to create your special one at a better price than costly jewelers.
  • Be practical. Don’t expect great results with 700 details smashed into a 1-inch pendant, or strange cut-outs or other designs that are apt to bend, break, get caught on things or are uncomfortable to wear.
  • If you are having trouble coming up with a design, simply look through your jewelry box for the pendants that have gotten the most wear and figure out what makes you like them. You can also browse jewelry selections in stores or online for more ideas.
  • Be unique! If your pendant looks like something you can just go buy off the rack, you might as well go buy it off the rack and not waste all your time designing it.

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