7 Principles of Design for Jewelry-Making Inspiration: Part 1 - Balance

Design Idea MH62 Necklace
by Susanne Kathol, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®

Making jewelry is a creative endeavor, yet all jewelry creations can benefit from some simple design principles. This seven-part series will help you to have the tools you need to create cohesive jewelry designs. These articles will cover the principles of balance, proportion, contrast, unity, harmony, movement and emphasis, complete with examples.

Part One: Balance

Balance in jewelry design refers to the distribution of materials, colors, texture and space. Think in terms of a seesaw--the weight should be similar on both sides. For example, a necklace can be balanced by matching on each side, or several small elements on one side can balance a larger element on the other side. In addition to physical weight and size, it's important to consider visual cues like color, shade and texture. Typically, when components are equally distributed the jewelry design feels unified.

The three different types of balance are symmetrical, asymmetrical and radial. There is also an exception to the rule of balance, off-balance design.

Symmetrical (Formal) Balance

Symmetrical balance, also known as formal balance, is a mirror image. If you draw a line down the center, all the elements on one side are mirrored on the other.

7 Principles of Design for Jewelry-Making Inspiration: Part 1 - Balance

7 Principles of Design for Jewelry-Making Inspiration: Part 1 - Balance

Asymmetrical (Informal) Balance

Asymmetrical balance, or informal balance, is when each side of an object is different yet the components are in relative proportion to each other. This can be achieved in many ways, using size, texture, color and weight to get the right look.

Asymmetrical pieces can appear more casual and less planned; however, they can take more patience to design. Care is needed to ensure the design is still balanced. An off-kilter design can be harsh on the eyes.

7 Principles of Design for Jewelry-Making Inspiration: Part 1 - Balance 7 Principles of Design for Jewelry-Making Inspiration: Part 1 - Balance

Radial Balance

Radial balance is where all the elements in a piece radiate from a center point. It is easy to maintain a focal point since all the elements lead your eye toward the center. A starfish is a perfect example of radial balance.

7 Principles of Design for Jewelry-Making Inspiration: Part 1 - Balance 7 Principles of Design for Jewelry-Making Inspiration: Part 1 - Balance

Off-Balance

The exception to the rule of balance is off-balance. Jewelry that is intentionally planned this way creates visual interest and can suggest motion.

7 Principles of Design for Jewelry-Making Inspiration: Part 1 - Balance 7 Principles of Design for Jewelry-Making Inspiration: Part 1 - Balance

Balance is a handy skill to have when designing jewelry and can help you to create whatever look you are after. Try the different types out and see how your jewelry creations can benefit.

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