Four Pendants

Reproductions of each pendant are available at our sister site, Edelstein Metalsmiths.


November 2006
Sterling silver

While each of the pendants pictured at left stands on its own quite capably, they're shown here together because they were designed and executed simultaneously as part of an exercise that I was doing to come up with distinctive and graphically strong pieces that contained the same essential elements. Each piece is about the size of a quarter.

The piece at the top left was actually inspired by my own star--people seemed to really like it, but I wasn't going to be selling people a piece of jewelry whose central design was my mark. I'm not Louis Vuitton yet. The way that the חי (chai) extends beyond the boundaries of the star itself is a pleasing use of negative space.

Taking that idea to the extreme, the piece below it at the bottom left uses the negative space within and in excess of the star's boundaries to show the outline of a hamsa. One of the things that I like about this design is that although graphically both shapes are very bold--the hamsa and the star "behind" it--the piece itself is actually very delicate. There's way more negative space than there is metal in the design, and when held in the hand the piece is practically etherial.

The piece at the top right takes the same two shapes and sharply reins in the enveloping negative space of the hamsa in the pendant described above. Here, the drama of the piece is partly in the relatively vast expanse of plain, undecorated silver in the star. The offset of the tiny hamsa in it was inspired by an unusual Japanese mon (family crest) from the Heian period which features a suhama (circle-based) shape with a tiny hanabishi (flower diamond) shape offset to the right edge. I thought it would be interesting to do something similar with common Judaic motifs.

The hamsa at the bottom right was an answer of sorts to the previous three, which had all used negative space to create the shape within the shape. I used the same font that I used in the star/chai at the top left, and set it inside the outline of a hamsa which had been empty in the two previous designs.

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