The Rule of Three: Part Two - Why Being Odd is Good

The Rule of Three: Part Two - Why Being Odd is Good Design Idea C30U Necklace and Earring Set The Rule of Three: Part Two - Why Being Odd is Good
by Susanne Kathol, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

How many times have you heard, "on the count of three," or "third time's a charm?" Or how about "ready, aim, fire," "lights, camera, action," or "go, fight, win?" And think of classic fairy tales and popular nursery rhymes such as "Three Little Pigs," "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," "Three Little Kittens," and "Three Blind Mice." And three-act plays, the concept of past, present and future and how many things have a beginning, middle and end. The list goes on and on ... All of these represent examples of using a sequence or combination of three elements or the number three for impact. So what's so magical about the number three? Well, it all comes down to the way we interpret information.

We're programmed to recognize patterns--three objects can form an identifiable pattern and three elements are much easier to remember than more. And we like looking at things in threes. It is well-established that information and objects grouped in threes, or arranged to form a triangle, are more visually appealing.

Apply the rule of three to jewelry-making to increase the visual impact, balance, movement and overall pleasantness of a piece. Learn more about the rule of three in this illustrative three-part series including design ideas to help identify and/or integrate this principle into your own work.

The Rule of Three: A Three-Part Jewelry Design Series

  1. ''Part One: Triangle Composition'' article
  2. "Part Two: Why Being Odd is Good" article
  3. ''Part Three: Third Color's the Charm'' article

Why Being Odd is Good

Yes, it's true! Being odd, or incorporating odd-numbered composition in jewelry design, is good. It's good for the overall balance and beauty of the piece. This is because odd numbers are more visually appealing, memorable and impactful than even-numbered pairings in jewelry.

We naturally pair things up in our minds, so an odd number of elements in a jewelry design prevents us from easily pairing or grouping things, and keeps our eyes moving throughout the piece. This helps explain why odd numbers and uneven spaces are more visually stimulating. In Feng Shui, odd numbers represent Yang energy and even numbers represent Yin. Yang expands and moves and Yin contracts and condenses.

Incorporate the rule of three and the power of odd-numbered composition into jewelry by using three groupings of odd-numbered elements or odd-numbered groupings of three components. Triple-strand bracelets and necklaces fall right in line with this design principle for powerful presentations. The rule of three can also be used to create a visual hierarchy within a piece, combining together different size elements, textures and colors into one coherent statement.

The Rule of Three: Part Two - Why Being Odd is Good

The odd number of strands and bead patterning in this triple-strand necklace balance the varying textures and different-sized beads in this piece.

The Rule of Three: Part Two - Why Being Odd is Good

The rule of three and odd-numbered composition brings visual interest and movement to this triple-strand bracelet.

The Rule of Three: Part Two - Why Being Odd is Good

The odd number of malachite beads in this triple-strand necklace makes a memorable and eye-pleasing statement.


The Rule of Three: Part Two - Why Being Odd is Good

The implied triangle composition, along with the odd number of cultured freshwater pearls, creates a well-balanced chandelier-style earring.

The Rule of Three: Part Two - Why Being Odd is Good

The repetitive pattern of three crazy lace agate gemstone beads adds depth, dimension and movement to this single-strand necklace.

The Rule of Three: Part Two - Why Being Odd is Good

This Dione® bead jewelry set offers three beautifully balanced pieces and the odd-numbered composition draws extra emphasis and attention to the light blue beads.


The rule of three can also be applied to fashion and wearing jewelry as well. Encourage add-on jewelry sales by showing how well three pieces of coordinating jewelry can work together, such as a necklace, ring and bracelet or earrings, rings and cuff, etc.

View more designs with odd-numbered composition for creative inspiration.



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