10+ Jewelry Designs to Hang from Your Tree
Almost any pendant jewelry design has ornament potential, and almost any jewelry design can be made pendant. Pendant as in hanging: pendant earrings, pendants that hang from neckwires, charms dangling from a chain bracelet. That’s important because hanging is the number one priority for a tree ornament, except for the topper. And, while snowflakes, stars, and such are naturals for holiday decorations, any motif or abstract design can glimmer and shimmer, too.
ABOVE: In September 2008 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist Brian Meek created this floral fan as a brooch to demonstrate the technique of married metals, but I’d love hang one on my tree; photo: Jim Lawson
3 Ornament Essentials
We all have our own ideas about what makes a good tree ornament. I think that tree ornaments should:
- hang freely, so they can move and twinkle in the light. Also so they don’t look stuck in a tree.
- be lightweight. The lighter the ornament, the more opportunities there are to hang it freely. A heavier ornament needs more clearance than a lighter one of the same size because it will pull a branch down farther. If your tree is dense with branches, this would make finding open spaces that much more challenging.
- be reflective. Not for everyone or every single ornament, but I believe that for a tree, more is best — in this case, more light. Reflective ornaments make the tree come alive: not only from shiny surfaces, but from shiny multiple surfaces. Typical spheres are a continuum of different angles, but metal that is bent, folded, fluted, or textured also has many different surface angles that can catch light from multiple directions.
12 Ways to Bejewel Your Tree
Here are 10 jewelry designs that perhaps with a little adaptation for size or weight would look lovely hanging from a tree — plus 2 other designs. As I was combing through jewelry making projects from the past, I also came across two designs from jewelry artists that were intended to be tree ornaments, although you could adapt them as jewelry if you wanted to.
If you have pieces of jewelry already made that you think might suit but you just don’t like them enough to put out front, consider placing them deep inside the tree. Even scraps you haven’t melted down can work here. They won’t really be seen, but when you turn on the lights these interior ornaments will make the tree glow from within and set off everything else splendidly.
Fan by Brian Meek
This pretty little fan was created as a brooch, but you don’t have to put the pin stem and catch on the back. The little circle where the fan ribs meet is the perfect ring for an ornament hanger. The project is a demo in the technique of married metals, used to create the floral designs. The partially unfurled fan would catch light from many directions.
Graphic Graphite on Enamel by Jo Ann Wadler
Drawing on enamel with pencil is a pretty straightforward process, with the extra advantage that you can erase your drawing before firing if you’re not happy with it and try again. The simple white grounds with subtle line drawings will stand out against the dark green of the branches. You might want to work small, though: enamels can have some weight to them.
Modern Curves by Amy Blaszka
The use of square wire in these earrings gives their curves a small but noticeable flat surface. Not only does that create more presence for the earrings, it would let any available light glance on and off them. Small and lightweight, as ornaments these designs would be best hung toward the tip of a branch. I also like that you would glimpse lights and other ornaments behind them through the open areas. Find this project in 10 Wire & Metal Jewelry Designs to Build Your Skills instant download.
Captured Confetti by Carla Pennie
Capture a little bit of gold or silver like confetti in resin and frame in the metal of your choice. Substitute ornament hangers for the earring and pendant findings, and there you are: festive, lightweight ornaments.
Brass Circle by Bill Fretz
Almost looks like a wreath, doesn’t it? You could hang this with a cord just as shown, or you could slip it over the tip of a branch without a hanger. Plus it has light-bending flutes and a light-bending convex surface.
Silver & Crystal Abstract by Travis Ogden
I was going to show an open silver wire pendant with little Swarovski beads on it, but then I came upon this little gem. It’s where I see that pendant design going, and this piece was created as an ornament. Find the project in December 2008 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.
Silver Filigree Bead by Nanz Aalund with José Lins
Put a hanger through it any way you want and hang anywhere. The demo is intended as an exercise in soldering, so make a bunch of these and festoon your tree with them. Orient so your earlier practice beads put their best surfaces forward.
Microfolds in Metal by Jack Berry
Lots of polished metal surfaces going in lots of different directions in this pendant from November 2008 Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, and they were created with a microfold brake, so it didn’t take forever. This one suggests a pinecone to me.
Colored Pencil Leaves by Debra Weld
This demo from the June 2007 issue explains how to draw with colored pencil on copper — what you want to do with your focal is up to you. Here the artist riveted a pair to silver back plates and added ear wires.
Silver & Drusy Snowflake by Darlene Armstrong
You could wear this as a pendant, but it was designed as an ornament. Whenever I try to describe what a drusy gem is to someone who has no idea, I always say that if the crystals are small but not too tiny, well formed, and uniform in size, the stone will sparkle light snow in bright sunlight. Perfect center for a silver snowflake! Originally seen in December 2008 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.
Silver Magnolia Leaves by Christina Lemon
These delicate earrings are practically perfect as is. Adjust the extra long ear wires into ornament hangers, and you’re done. Plus, they look like tiny silver bells.
Ornamented Trees by Tom Werkheiser
These silver wire earrings would also look very festive hanging from a real or artificial tree. And I love the little silver balls already on them: they’re predecorated decorations!
Merle White is Editor-in-Chief of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist and Editorial Director for the Interweave Jewelry Group.
Which Jewelry Designs Would You Hang from Your Tree?
Share your ideas for jewelry-as-tree-ornament with everyone and post comments below.
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