The Rule of Three: Part Three - Third Color's the Charm

Design Idea D32F Necklace and Earring Set

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

Third Color's the Charm

Many times the best place to start a jewelry design is by selecting the colors or color palette you wish to incorporate into the piece. Color plays a crucial role in any design, but how much is too much when it comes to color? How many colors should be included in a given design? Although there is no black and white answer to this (a creative license is exactly that--a license to do what inspires you), a tried-and-true design principal is found in the rule of three.

Selecting three colors for a jewelry design is a good starting point and can provide visual balance to the overall appearance of the piece. Once you’ve selected three colors, now it’s time to mix it up. Instead of using equal amounts of three colors in a design, a common guideline suggests dividing the colors into percentages of 60, 30 and 10 for a stronger color statement. And create spectacular color pops by using the same bright color in three different places within the design.

Looking for color inspiration? Download FREE seasonal color forecasts to help guide your color choices for upcoming jewelry lines. Incorporate three colors into a piece by using varying shades of the same color, producing an ombré effect. Mix three types of metals in the same piece for a stunning presentation. Or use the online color wheel guide to easily select a combination of split complementary colors for beautiful results.

The Rule of Three: Part Three - Third Color's the Charm

The color pops in this mixed metal necklace are brilliantly created by combining three different shades of Swarovski crystal bicones including fuchsia, Siam and ruby.

The Rule of Three: Part Three - Third Color's the Charm

This piece uses the rule of three by combining gold, red and black and makes an impactful, yet balanced, color statement by incorporating three separate groupings of red and black beads.

The Rule of Three: Part Three - Third Color's the Charm

The design guideline of dividing colors (turquoise, coral and black accents) into percentages of 60, 30 and 10 creates an outstanding presentation.

The Rule of Three: Part Three - Third Color's the Charm

Three gemstone donuts, in a split complimentary color scheme, make a dramatic statement.

View more design ideas illustrating the Third Color’s the Charm for creative inspiration.

Additional Resources ...