Jewelry Makes a Statement without Saying a Word

by Contest Artist Karen Carmichael, Design Idea PF35

A statement is a declaration of who you are and defines what you are about. You are making a claim on the personal identity you wish to project. A statement says, "This is me, this is what I stand for and this is what I like." Though it is quite often expressed in words, a statement can also be an artistic, non-verbal expression through vehicles, clothing, accessories and (of course) jewelry.


The first statements made by prehistoric humans were most likely non-verbal, perhaps made with a weapon, such as a club or spear to claim territory and proclaim dominance. But powerful, lasting statements were also made using symbols, such as cave paintings from over 45,000 years ago.

Humans put meaning into images and objects, including jewelry and accessories. For many years, beads have been used as symbols for prayer, for currency and for other purposes. And of course, beads are used for decoration and self-expression—including making a statement. Color choices can indicate emotions, group affiliations, brand identity, seasonality and style. Gemstones, especially birthstones, help others connect with us and celebrate who we are.

What is Statement Jewelry

Thank goodness there is no rules committee, judging panel or published standards that dictate what is and what isn't a statement piece—only the court of public opinion. Determining what is a statement piece is an instinctive response, a perception thing: "I'll know it when I see it." And this gives you a lot of room to work with because there are as many conceptions of what is a statement as there are people considering it.

Generally speaking, a statement piece is: 

  • Big, bold, bright, flashy, complex, unique, an eye-grabber, a head-turner, a topic of conversation—it may intrigue or repel, but it won't be ignored.
  • Not even close to subtle: "I'm good and I'm different, I know it and now you know it, too."

When would a designer intentionally set out to create a statement piece of jewelry? Here are a few reasons: 

  1. On commission—the designer-artist creates a statement piece reflective of the desires and personality of the person who is paying for the work.
  2. To experiment—the designer-artist wants to showcase a new, different, exciting design, technique or design element(s).
  3. For practice—the designer-artist is expanding their skill set and creating a statement piece that lets all the new skills come together.

What Makes an Ideal Statement Piece

Many of the designs that have won a prize in one of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads jewelry-making contests could be considered statement pieces, but plenty of other designs certainly qualify. Let's look at design ideas typifying some of the aspects of statement jewelry.


When thinking big, it's easy to think bib, as in bib-style necklace. The large size of a necklace design offers plenty of opportunity to use a multitude and variety of components. There's lots of real estate to build on.


This kind of jewelry statement can involve a daring use of components or to "boldly go where no design has gone before" with form. Necklaces can be bold easily—and so can bracelets, earrings and rings. Bold can be in the size, the shape, the use of color or any blend of those elements. Bold is in your face, and daring you to like it.

Bright and Flashy

Crystal beads and fancy stones suit the bright and flashy definition, as do faceted gemstones such as cubic zirconia, glass rhinestones, glittering fire-polished glass beads and other sparklers. Then there's colorful anodized jump rings and a wide range of metallic, galvanized and metal-lined seed beads.


Because of their small size, seed beads can build up into highly complex designs. Wire, too, can transform from something incredibly simple into intricate, complex jewelry. Mixed media and bead embroidery designs build multiple, overlapping layers to create intricate and complex final designs.

Unique, Eye-Grabber, Head Turner

Not confined to just necklaces and bracelets, statement jewelry can come in many forms. Designers can create anything to make a statement, from one-of-a-kind headdresses and beaded clothing, to shoulder-duster earrings and chunky cuff bracelets, all the way to embellished purses and shoes.

This is by no means an exhaustive examination of all of the possibilities for statement jewelry and accessories; however, it should serve to give you a clearer understanding of what is possible.

Given the possible combinations of the many thousands of jewelry-making components, the opportunities for self-expression through jewelry are virtually limitless. 

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