Style Snapshot: Tassel Jewelry Designs

Design Idea B463 Earrings

by Lisa Coen, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Tassel jewelry offers a classic look that has been admired for ages. Jewelry artists are capitalizing on this style by creating with tassels composed of chain, gemstone chips, small beads and crystals, seed beads and silk thread. Just about any small material or textile will work, alone or mixed with other materials.

Before they became ornamental, tassels simply finished the ends of groups of thread or string as knots by creating a 'head' and 'skirt' to prevent unraveling. In the 16th century, the first Guild of Passementiers was created in France to document passementerie, which is the art of making decorative trimmings such as braids, cords, embroidery, fringes and tassels.

Style Snapshot: Tassel Jewelry Designs Style Snapshot: Tassel Jewelry Designs

Tassels have been used as ornamentation for interior design elements such as pillows, blankets and drapery. Tassels could be found on most textiles, including clothing, during the Victorian era. In Western cultures, they have also been used to represent military or social rank on uniforms.

Colorful tassels are still the finishing touch on mortarboards worn by graduating high school and college students. Fishing enthusiasts may use plastic or wool variations of tassels as part of their fishing lures.

Style Snapshot: Tassel Jewelry Designs

Style icons like Natalie Portman, Ivanka Trump and Gwyneth Paltrow are among a large group of celebrities currently wearing tassel jewelry. In 2010's film "The King's Speech," Eve Best's character, Wallis, wore a daring tassel jewelry design that accented her bare back in a low-cut dress. Not stopping at jewelry, fashionista Nicole Richie created a line of retro-chic sunglasses featuring removable chain tassels at the end of the earpieces.

Creating Tassel Jewelry

Tassels can be made out of nearly any kind of stringing material: chain, thread, cord, beading wire and more. In addition, tassels can be made of gathered strands of beads--seed bead tassels are especially popular--for additional color and sparkle.

Soft tassels can be created by hand using silk and imitation silk thread, suede and faux suede lacing or leather and leatherette cord--or purchased ready to use in cotton and silk or imitation silk.

Style Snapshot: Tassel Jewelry Designs Style Snapshot: Tassel Jewelry Designs

Add beads to any of the threads and cords above--or any stringing materials--for beaded styles that have extra color, sparkle and swing. Beaded tassels can feature seed beads, silk and nylon threads will give beaded strands a certain boho swing, while beading wires such as Accu-Flex® add formality.

Tassel designs can be created easily with chain and jump rings--or purchased ready-to-use--and the style works for both glamorous and casual dress.

Style Snapshot: Tassel Jewelry Designs Style Snapshot: Tassel Jewelry Designs

Tassels are a fantastic focal point in designs whether in collar necklaces adorned with multiple tassels, long necklaces with one tassel or when featured on bracelets, earrings, hair pins, belts and purses. Tassel earrings are especially elegant when designed as long flowing shoulder dusters. Experiment with various materials to create tassels.

View tassel design inspirations from the Gallery of Designs.

Style Snapshot: Tassel Jewelry Designs

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