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Pendants through the Ages

Pendants are a piece of handcrafted jewelry - that hang from a chain - and are worn around a person’s neck. Each pendant has a loop or bail attached to it, a chain is then threaded through the bail and the pendant dangles from it. The word pendant originated from Old French and means hanging (and also during).

The act of adorning one’s self with pendants and necklaces began with the earliest humans. Incredibly, the very first signs of jewelry date back 75,000 years ago when beads made of snail shells were found at Blombos Cave, in Africa. In Kenya beads made from ostrich shells were dated back 40,000 years ago. Skeletal remains of a Cro-Magnon - dating back approximately 35,000 years ago - were found with pieces of shell and an animal tooth which appeared to be a pendant or necklace of some kind.

Pendants have been around for thousands of years and they have served numerous functions. Today, pendants are used mostly as an accessory but throughout history they have also been used as a form of currency, worn for identification, for protection, and for sentimental reasons as well. Humans have loved handmade designer jewelry dating all the way back to ancient times and pendants made a statement of wealth, power, and personal style; giving clues about the wearer by incorporating symbols or sayings that are associated with certain religious, political, or cultural groups.

Pendants are made of many different materials which may be carved into all shapes and sizes and some include intricate and abstract hand engraving. As styles change so do jewelry trends, pendants started out very simply with natural materials fastened in a very simple way. Today modern techniques, tools and artistic evolution have given way to exquisitely crafted, remarkably creative works of art. Pendant design runs the gamut from a simple tiny seed pearl - to large, gemstone encrusted medallions. Pendants can be worn alone or layered with other pendants and chains of varying sizes.


Pendants were also used as currency. They were exchanged for goods, services and even slaves. Pendants and beads were easy to transport and used mainly in Europe and Africa. Trade beads were the most common form of currency but any pendant that contained precious or valuable materials such as gold, ivory, or gemstones could easily be used to barter with.


Throughout the ages pendants have also been worn for protection. Sometimes the pendant will contain a religious symbol, saying or a saint which is believed to protect the wearer from harm. Certain gemstones associated with protection and were crafted into pendants and commonly worn during fierce battles. For example garnets were often worn for protection and were believed to aid in healing and provide strength to the wearer, jade was worn to protect the kidneys, liver, heart and was thought to increase body strength and longevity, and diamonds were thought to give victory to those who possessed it.


Pendants are also worn to remember someone who is far away. Lockets that contain photos of loved ones – past and present – have been around for a very long time. There are also pendants which have two pieces, which fit together like a puzzle. An example of this would be a Mizpah, which is given to a loved one when distance separates two people. Each person takes a piece and hangs it on a chain. The saying on the pendant is a bible verse which reads “The Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent from one another”.

The handcrafted pendants that Yoni Veizman creates allow you to make a statement about your personal style, these hand engraved creations can symbolize a commitment or just show someone you love that you are thinking of them. Each piece is engraved with a free-flowing abstract design that pays homage to all that is beautiful in nature. Take a look at all of the pieces on the Veizman.com and be inspired.