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7 Principles of Design for Jewellery Making Inspiration - Part 4

Posted by NEED4BEAD on

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

What visual message is your jewellery sending? The answer to this can be found in design theory, more specifically the principles of design as applied to jewellery 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 jewellery 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 jewellery design, including design ideas to help identify and/or integrate these principles into your own work.


7 Principles of Design for Jewellery-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

Proportion - Power of Proportion

Proportion is the feeling of unity created when all the elements (colour, size, amount) in a particular jewellery piece relate well with each other. Proportion is all about the relationship of one part of the design to another or one area to the whole. Proportion is usually not even noticed until something is out of proportion. When the relative size of two elements being compared seems wrong or out of balance it is said to be "out of proportion." Artists can use exaggerated or enlarged proportions to bring emphasis or show importance.


Tips for achieving good proportion in jewellery designs include grouping similar elements together or things that share a common feature, such as texture, colour, materials, etc. The clasp and focal piece should be proportional to the beads in a particular jewellery design and the overall piece should be in proportion to the person wearing it.

This necklace uses an exaggerated proportion to bring attention to the turquoise centrepiece. The overall design remains in proportion as small seed beads are combined to form a thick collar and accent fringe.

These Art Clay® earrings represent good proportion as all the different-sized leaves relate well with each other and the overall design. Placing similar patterns on the same-sized leaves helps create a sense of proportion as well.

This is the fourth part of a multi-part series on the principles of design for jewellery-making inspiration.