7 Principles of Design for Jewelry-Making Inspiration: Part 5 - Contrast

Design Idea 017B Necklace

by Susanne Kathol, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®

What visual message is your jewelry sending? The answer to this can be found in design theory, more specifically the principles of design as applied to jewelry creations. The design principles include balance, proportion, contrast, unity, harmony, movement and emphasis. These principles of design are used to arrange the elements (beads, components, etc.) in jewelry art, guiding the visual message of the piece.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's an illustrative exploration of seven different principles of jewelry design, including design ideas to help identify and/or integrate these principles into your own work.

7 Principles of Design for Jewelry-Making Inspiration:
  1. Balance - A Balancing Act
  2. Emphasis - Point of Emphasis
  3. Movement - The Magic of Movement
  4. Proportion - Power of Proportion
  5. Contrast - Contrast Consideration
  6. Unity - Understanding Unity
  7. Harmony - Happiness of Harmony

Contrast Consideration ...

Contrast is created by using elements that conflict with one another, such as complementary colors (colors opposing each other on the color wheel), using different directions (horizontal and vertical lines) or extremely light and dark values. Contrast creates interest and draws the eye to certain areas in a piece, as seen in the following design ideas.
Design Idea AB2A Necklace

Contrast is created by using complementary colors on the color wheel, represented by turquoise gemstone and coral beads.

Design Idea 017B Necklace

This necklace illustrates the design principle of contrast using black onyx and snow white mountain "jade" gemstone beads to create visual interest.

This is the fifth part of a multi-part series on the principles of design for jewelry-making inspiration. View additional design principles: