Jewelry making is a complex art and often comprises of elements so similar to each other that to the average person, they may all seem the same. Take pendants and charms for example: they’re so similar to each other in purpose and function that a wearer might not be able to differentiate one from the other.
In fact, you must have often come across numerous people interchangeably using the terms pendants and charms. Perhaps many jewelry sellers commit this mistake too but who can blame them? If you too have come here in hopes of finding the difference between pendants and charms then we’re not going to disappoint you.
Together, we’ll discover the elements that separate the two jewelry items and lend them their own identity.
Pendants and Charms: Is there really a difference?
Oh yes, there absolutely is a difference between the two starting from their size. You will find pendants and charms in a plethora of varieties of sizes, shapes, designs and materials. But it would be wrong to categorize the two items as one and the same thing when even the Oxford dictionary has a separate definition for each.
A pendant, according to the Oxford dictionary, is a bead, tassel or jewel like the one to attach loosely to clothing. It hangs down as an ornament. In other versions, the dictionary defines pendants as a piece of jewelry hanging from a chain around the neck, while others still describe it as a necklace with a piece of jewelry attached.
Now broadly speaking, we can interpret a pendant as a piece of ornament, such as a jewel, bead, tassel or fringe that hangs from the substantial part of an earring or a necklace. In modern times, we also refer to a pendant as a tear-drop when describing it as a jewelry item.
As for charms, the dictionary describes it as anything a person wears to protect against or ward off evil and ensure prosperity. In other versions, the dictionary describes it as an amulet or a small trinket or ornament that fastens to a girdle, watch or chain.
Now if you look at the definitions at a glance, you’ll only find a few substituted words but no glaringly obvious difference. But if you speculate closely, you’ll note the primary function of a pendant is to be more visible and primarily serve as a decorative ornament.
In the case of charms, we can deduce protecting against evil as its primary function. We can also deduce that primary function of a charm is not to be a big, visible ornament because it is more symbolic than decorative.
Now that we have established the primary and perhaps the main difference between pendants and charms, let’s expound on the other minor differences below.
Pendants vs. Charms
To start with, the larger size of a pendant instantly sets it apart from charms. You will note that pendants are not only larger but often come with bails too. In case you don’t know, bails are the loops on a pendant that we use for hanging it on to our necklaces. Many also refer to bail as ‘hook’.
The bail can either come as a built-in part of the pendant, or you may solder it on. Often jewelers also sell separate findings as an attachment with their pendants, all depending on the kind of bail the design features.
You will usually never find a bail in a charm because they’re so tiny in size that it is not possible for anyone to fix charms to bracelets using jump rings and bails. Since pendants are somewhat on the bulkier side, they make it easy to work with a jump ring and bail.
Moreover, usually pendants are so large in size that they do not seem appropriate to put on a bracelet, which is daintier piece of jewelry comparatively. Pendants look far more appropriate when hanging from a necklace. However, this was always the rule since in the past, people used to wear medallion charm bracelets during the forties.
Medallion charm bracelets had a huge pendant-like ornament that people called medallion hanging from the bracelet chain. Due to the more compact and smaller size of charms, they align better with bracelets and are more suitable for hand jewelry.
If you buy pendants separately, such as the classic rose charm, forever loyal to you charm and the others from our store, you will find split rings, jump rings, lobster claw or link locks attachments with these. If you buy the finished bracelets from our products, you will not have to perform any additional work for the charms will come soldered onto the bracelets already.
You can easily attach charms to your rings, earrings and necklaces if you wish to. All it takes is attaching the charm just as it is on a link in your jewelry product or you can buy a charm holder for the attachment.
A charm holder is a ring featuring an opening through which you can slide the charm onto the jewelry piece. There will also be a bail on the top so that you can attach more than one charm if you wish to. Charms encompass a broader category because they include the European-style beads as well.
These include Pandora charms, Chamilia beads and Troll beads etc. You will find these beads available in a variety of sizes, from round to rectangle, usually with an opening in the middle. Certain beads also have dangles instead of openings and both the elements exist to help the wearers attach them to necklaces and chain bracelets.
Pendants and charms are similar in design and structure but due to their sizes, suit different jewelry articles. Pendants, being larger in size, are more appropriate for attaching to necklaces because they help make a statement. If we trace the history of pendants, we discover that back in the old age, people used these are ornaments for adorning jewelry items.
Charms on the other hand, are more minuscule and initially serve a meaningful purpose. People wore charms back then in the form of trinkets, beads and amulets to protect from evil eyes and ward off danger. Today, the role may have changed but charms are still more compact in size and are the best pick for adorning bracelets.