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What are Pendants?

By Jane Harmon
Updated May 21, 2024
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A pendant is a type of necklace in which a jewel, fob or jeweled motif hangs on an otherwise unadorned chain. The word pendant is both a noun and an adjective, and can mean 'hanging from something else.' A chandelier, for example, might be described as 'pendant from the wooden beams.'

In the jewelry world, a pendant is either a complete necklace -- that is, the jewel and the chain -- or the jewel or setting alone. Pendants are often sold without chains so that the purchaser can select a chain to suit their needs. Some pendants are made with a pin-back as well as a loop for a chain and can be worn either as a brooch or a necklace.

Dramatic pendants can be made from large single crystals or gemstones with little in the way of a setting, just a simple attachment so that the jewel can be strung on a chain. Other pendants feature heavy worked silver or gold settings with an array of colored jewels in elaborate combinations.

A locket is strictly speaking a pendant. Pendant watches, variously jeweled or enameled or simply made of precious metals or even plastics, go in and out of style.

Many people use pendants to make statements about themselves. A Christian might wear a bejeweled cross, while a Wiccan might wear a pentacle, to announce their affiliation with a particular faith. Birthstones and medallions for various organizations or causes are also popular pendants.

Some people like to wear a particular stone pendant for its metaphysical properties. Folklore maintains that different stones are good for different conditions, or can assist with different life aspects. People may want to wear a rose quartz pendant if they are interested in attracting love into their life, for example. Citrine, a lovely lemon yellow or deep apricot-colored stone, is thought to attract money or enhance prosperity, as well as dispel negativity -- useful qualities indeed! Carnelian, a deep red stone, is thought to help one make decisions, while hematite, a shiny black metallic-looking stone, is protective.

Pendants can be formal or casual, elaborate or simple, costly or inexpensive. Many people just don't feel 'dressed' without them.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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