Modern Day Pendants Draw Inspiration From The Past

Marie Lichtenberg’s yellow gold mini Scapular, set with white diamonds, a red enameled heart and a blue enameled arch echoing the temple of love.

Contemporary designers borrow details and inspiration from the past of different cultures for pendants, medallions and charms. Some feature talisman qualities, while others reference love and passion. Whether you wear one on a chain, graduate or layer look, there are various motifs and styles from which to choose to enlive your wardrobe as you change your closets from winter to spring.

Katerina Tarazi plays on the French antique and vintage spinners and pedants, which refer to Effeuiller la marguerite” or “plucking the daisy’s petals.” It is one of the oldest French games, which we also adopted here in the U.S. Tarazi re-imagines when sentiment and mechanism came to meet. Spin the daisy and read your answer under the lower tip of its heart-shaped gemstone: Un peu – A little | Beaucoup – A lot | Je t’aime – I love you | A la folie – Madly | Pas du tout – Not at all.

Jillian Abboud’s spinner pendant is an ultra-modern high polished re-envisioning of antique swivel pendants with beautifully cut exclusive gemstones and engraved mottos or motifs. One side features vibrant colors, the other: a swallow which was the bird reported to lead sailors home in the dark. Thus, they came to mean “safe home” in the 19th century. They also mate for life, adding more romance to the piece.

Le Sibille continues in the centuries-old Roman tradition of Tesserae micro mosaics in which small pieces of glass are fit together by hand to create a motif or pattern. It is a painstakingly detailed art that the three women who own the company have kept alive and have contemporized with colorful gemstones and a range of designs that nod to the old-world technique with a modern eye.

Circa 1700s’ unique version of a Toi et Moi (You and Me) spinning egg shaped pendant in 22K gold with cushion cut sapphires symbolizing fidelity and antique diamond symbolizing enduring love. The egg shape, says designer Susan Cohen, “represents luck and the delicately engraved star motif, guidance and protection.”

Erica Molinari’s Under The Looking Glass 18K gold pendant with granulate border and vitreous glass enameling that Molinari painstakingly learned and now creates by hand. In the center is a gold snake for renewal and rebirth.

Alexandra Rosier’s modern-day Vajra is a symmetrical object composed of two crowns. She explains, “We lend the Vajra the power to remove darkness and bad energies, turning it into a talisman of renewal and transformation.” Rosier adds sparkle with multi-colored gemstones and diamonds.

Linda Hoj offers her take on a protective talisman pendant. She explains, There are three ingredients to turn dreams into reality, which are present in this pendant. Passion, the flame of fire that moves us; choice, in which everyday decisions are made and reactions calibrated and finally, a shield for protection while stepping beyond ourselves into the unknown. The pendant is constructed in 22K gold with rubies and a shield-cut black diamond with pave white diamonds and hangs on a handmade sailor’s knot chain.

Foundrae’s Beloved with Wings We Fly Large Specialty Medallion is handcrafted in 18K yellow gold. It combines two of Foundrae’s Tenets in a single medallion – True Love and Passion. Beth Huchings, designer and creative director, explains, “With Wings we Fly suggests when you and your pair come together, you lift each other up. Passion is what makes life worth living and what illuminates our dreams.”

Acanthus’ round carved quartz is wrapped in warm yellow 14K gold frame and accented with a diamond in the bail. You can choose the symbol which speaks t0 you most: from the designer’s motifs and interpretative meanings: Crescent Star “Growth” (star with moon), North Star “Guidance” (single star), Opal Eye “Protection”, Rainbow “Hope,” Skull “Life” and pictured here: Scared Heart “Eternal Love.”

Heavenly Vices’ 14K gold engravable crossed sword shield with a rose offers double protection for the ones you love. The cross swords reflected bravery in battle in heraldry, the shield, a safeguard from harm and the rose, enduring love.

Sofia Zakia evokes the tiniest 14K gold antique lockets and magical books filled with adventure and fantasy in her Woodland Cathedral locket. This pendant locket with an opal center offers a way to remember a story or to immortalize your own. You can choose from varied covers, some with gemstones, others with hand engravings or customizable text.

Marlo Laz’s Southwestern Heart Collection evolved from the designer Jesse Marlo Lazowki’s Desert Rising Collection. The heart is decorated with gold embroidery of floral and paisley motifs as an ode to the enchantment of the American West and trailblazing women like Georgia O’Keefe and Milicent Rogers, who embody its spirit.

Celine Daoust’s 14K gold Dream Maker oval diamond & moon crescent and marquise diamonds necklace. says Daoust, this pendant is meant to bring your dreams to life. The openwork designs allow light to pass through, eliminating negative energies and keeping dreams intact to turn them a reality.”

Jenna Blake’s flying scarab necklace dates back to ancient times and Egyptian culture when scarabs offered protection against evil and harm. They still do as talisman. Her modern incarnation offers a more feminine feeling with open enamel wings and an opal center with diamond accents.

Gwen Barba has created an 18K gold pendant which is she has hand enameled with the meticulous craft of vitreous glass (hard/hot) enameling. In the Victorian Language of Flowers, Iris means bringing a message or bearer of good tidings and warm wishes.” Barba reinvigorates this flower with small diamond accents and the irregular shape of the pendants creates a feeling of perfect imperfection.

Selim Mouzannar delves back into history and the 19th century with floral cluster pedants and old-cut diamonds. He modernizes it with a center pink sapphire, pear-shaped petals, a double chain, and a diamond-accented toggle front.

Anna Maccieri Rossi has evolved her Carpe Diem pieces with a range of pink shades in the pendant and the chain. It creates a feminine look that still makes a statement about seizing the moment as we never know when the moment will pass.

Monica Rich Kosann also feels that time is precious and has also evolved her collection of compasses for guidance, stars for wishing upon and her belief in living the adventure while you can. This new piece is inspired by a vintage sundial in Kosann’s garden, which she explained, “reminded her that it’s essential to slow down and be in the moment.”

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