If you are interested in jewelry design, it’s advisable that you take the time to learn all there is about jewelry design. Doing this not only sets you up for success but also allows you to have a reasonable and good foundation as you grow in the world of jewelry.
While jewelry remains that one little piece that can turn your mood around and being gifted one makes you feel unique and special, a lot goes into the creation of the perfect jewelry.
It is for this reason that jewelry has remained one of humankind’s most inspiring things for many centuries. And thanks to the radiance, deep colors, and oftentimes, the use of high-quality, pure and precious metals, jewelry design is one thing that most people would love to learn.
So, in this article, we’ll look at everything you need to know about the basics of jewelry design and the most important principles that apply to jewelry design.
What are the five principles commonly used in jewelry?
In addition to the fact that the right kinds of jewelry are always said to have a story to tell or that there is an emotional attachment that they carry, there are important principles that all jewelry makers are expected to stick to for the creation of the jewelry masterpieces that they desire.
Following these principles ensures the creation of brilliant and meaningful pieces of jewelry that are great at demonstrating the personality of the creator but are not dull. The principles are as follows:
Essentially, mastering the art of jewelry making is a balancing act. And the perfect piece of jewelry is a simple or sophisticated piece whose elements balance proportionately in terms of space, weight, and size.
Essentially, there are three main types of balance that jewelry makes aims to achieve – the jewelry can be symmetrically, radially, or asymmetrically balanced. But the balance style chosen notwithstanding, these are all elements that make the focal point of the jewelry in question, and they are essentially the things that make that piece of jewelry stand out.
It’s also worth noting that getting the balance in jewelry right is the reason why most of the asymmetrical pieces of jewelry are the most stunning pieces that stand out.
What do these three forms of balance mean?
- Symmetrical or formal balance
Also called the mirror balance, symmetry balance means that all the elements of the jewelry are on one side of the piece and mirrored on the other side.
- Asymmetrical balance
It’s also called informal balance, and one side of the item is larger or darker on one side than the other, creating the appearance of a piece of jewelry that is much more casual or unplanned. These pieces are still perfectly and artistically balanced.
- Radial Balance
This balance applies to the pieces whose elements radiate from the center point as a starfish, and the focal point is easily maintained.
Most of the unique pieces of jewelry feature intentional off-balance designs creating interesting visual effects, often suggesting motion and some form of action. These are the things that create elegant pieces of jewelry that will have people taking.
This is the other crucial principle applicable in the jewelry creation or design process. Contrast involves the use of colors that are practically contrasting or opposite of each other in not just the color wheel but also with lines and the materials used, among other factors.
Thanks to the high degree of significance that contrast hold, most, if not all, jewelers agree that perfectly contrasting pieces of jewelry make the most beautiful pieces because contrast removes any monotony around the designs while also accentuating the rudimental features of the jewelry’s design.
So, if you play with this, and also the complementary colors for the pieces of jewelry, you easily end up with attractive pieces of jewelry that are loved and admired by many people.
This is another guiding principle in jewelry design, and it demands that jewelers keep certain parts of the jewelry designs of pieces for emphasis.
In most cases, emphasis is demonstrated through the use of a bold stone, different contrasting materials, or varying textures. In other cases, stones of different textures are used for emphasis and to bring an exclusive focus to that piece of jewelry.
For the best visual effects, the proportion is the element of jewelry design you have to take into account. This element of jewelry design calls for a great deal of attention and effort, and it’s oftentimes achieved through the use of high-quality stones that are perfectly aligned and proportionate.
That said, there are many instances where even just one element of design would affect the jewelry design, especially when that element is out of proportion. It is, therefore, easy to see how jewelry design and painting merge and just how important the proportions are.
This element of jewelry design is why the process is not straightforward and why it calls for constant back and forth for tweaking of the elements of the jewelry until balance or equilibrium is attained. And if the proportions of the jewelry design are off, then the piece of jewelry will not have the desired effect.
5. Harmony of all the elements
Jewelry design is an important art with many hidden processes and steps that are quite involving yet essential to the whole process. At the heart of all the jewelry creation processes, however, is harmony.
Jewelry is only perfect if all the elements of the piece are in harmony with each other. We are talking about the metal, materials used, stones, the settings, and everything else incorporated in the piece.
In other words, harmony is necessary for the creation of an aesthetically pleasing piece, and any jeweler knows to find the right/ perfect mix of these elements so that the jewelry piece doesn’t look bland.
Other Basics of jewelry designing
The magic of movement is the other important principle that guides the jewelry creation process. In jewelry design, the movement represents the path followed by the eyes when one notices the piece of jewelry.
So, the best jewelry designers focus on ways of controlling eye movements, and this is achieved in how the elements of the jewelry design are arranged or set up. To achieve movement, the jewelry artists use aspects like action, rhythm, and repetition.
The most common elements for the creation of movement include the use of repeated shapes, graduated sizes, transitions from the colored-to-non-colored element, and light/ dark elements, with the aim of creating a flow that is either ongoing or stopped by focal elements.
Besides making sure that all the elements on that piece of jewelry are in harmony with each other, you also need to make sure that the elements of the design are working together.
Unity is all about making the elements fit and belong to each other as a unified design. Unity means that the elements create a unified design as a whole but also as a sum of all the small parts that are united as one through their proximity with each other.
Repeating textures, colors, and all elements create unity. In other words, unity is all about the creation of harmony between the different parts, hence a sense of completeness.
This principle has to do with the importance of using more than one design element to create pieces of jewelry that will create and hold the viewer’s attention while also guiding them or creating flow through and around the jewelry.
The best way to demonstrate variety in your jewelry is through juxtaposition or the placement of the elements, as well as contrast. It is a principle that helps create more interesting works.
You can use a variety to create jewelry by placing different elements with varying visual effects next to each other. The use of straight and curvy lines alternatively will add variety, especially among geometric shapes. Variety is also enhanced by the use of bold and dull colors in the same pieces of jewelry.
It’s worth mentioning; however, that variety is not the same as contrast, especially because some of the elements that create variety are complementary and not contrasting.
- Pattern or Repetition
Although repetition is part of the flow, it can be a standalone principle in jewelry design. Pattern points to that underlying structure in design which helps in organizing the structure and surfaces of the jewelry, creating regular and consistent elements/ parts.
The patterns are more or less the repeating units of form and shape, though they could also be regarded as the skeletons that allow for the organization of the different parts.
Then you have repetition whose focus is on using similar objects. So, patterns are from different components that are continuously repeated throughout the jewelry design.
These principles of jewelry design guide the whole jewelry design process, and sticking to them ensures you the creation of unique and visually appealing pieces of jewelry.
If you are starting out in this art, ensure that the design elements are balanced in all these areas.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.