Intro / what is a pendant?
A pendant is any decorative object that we can hang from a chain around our necks. The very earliest vintage pendant would have been a decorative piece of wood or bone or a stone with a hole in it. They don’t have to be expensive gems although they often are. Pendants can be made of gold, set with diamonds, craftsman silver or another material. Crosses and lockets are specialised types of pendants. What they all have in common is that they are hanging down – anywhere beneath our collar bones.
Fob, Charm or Pendant?
These three pieces of jewellery are all very similar – so what is the difference between them. Charms tend to be small perhaps up to an inch across and are used to hang from bracelets. In the past, a charm had spiritual or mystical significance attached to it and could be larger and hung around your neck.
Fobs tend to be for the gentleman – they hang from watch chains and key rings. Other than this it is down to terminology and personal preference.
Types of Vintage Pendant
Earlier it was mentioned that pendant can be made from almost anything, however, there are some popular ones:
A natural stone precious or semi-precious hanging from a chain. This is a popular way to display a specimen piece of stone. Precious stones can be mounted in gold or silver and have a decorative setting. The Victorians were keen on interesting natural stone specimens. In the 1960s and 1970s there was a revival of this fashion however the settings were much more modern and quite often on silver.
Many like to wear a symbol of their religion around their necks such as a cross or St Christopher. These can be dainty signs of religious devotion or bold and showy as a large gothic cross. Of course, these symbols are adopted by non-religious groups as ornaments such as crosses by Goths and Emos.
Possibly the most popular for of pendant. One thing I am going to say about lockets is ” Buy Vintage”. Why? Well, most lockets have a solid silver back or front. In modern pieces these are much thinner than vintage ones – Please check this out by examining new ones in person. The large flat areas need to be thicker than they are making them these days if the locket is to last. A Vintage locket does not have to mean pricier – look for those from the 1960s to 1970s, the prices are often cheaper than new for something better quality.
Lockets can also have glass fronts so that your photo shows to the outside. Recently I have though of using antique silver watch cases as lockets – this is great if you want a larger memento as they are usually deeper than lockets.
The lavalier is a specialist pendant which was first worn by Madame Lavalier named after one of the Mistresses of King Lois XIV of France. These have a thin chain either side of a highly decorative portion which is attached to the chain not hanging from an O-ring or bail.