# Proportion and Size of pendants

Hi

I had a thought the other day of making a pendant with an outer edge
decoration of varying sizes of spheres, ovals, rectangles, and
spikes. It is, in my head, similar to a cityscape (although I
couldn’t say what’s up with the spheres…maybe it’s a futuristic
city). Anyway, on my first attempt, the effort was not daring enough.
The edge was not really noticeable. I was wondering…what is the
name of the study of proportion? In other words, the design of pieces
with the proper symmetry, size, proportion…I don’t know if I am
saying it right, so I hope I am not being confusing. Do people just
judge by eye what looks good? Do you keep going back to the drawing
board until you get it right?

Thanks
Kim Starbard

The edge was not really noticeable. I was wondering…what is the
name
of the study of proportion? In other words, the design of pieces with
the proper symmetry, size, proportion…I don’t know if I am
Probably
you mean “composition”. It was the Greeks who understood the “Golden
Rectangle”, which is 3x4. That also means 6x8, 9x12, etc. They
realized that it is the most pleasing rectangle to the eye. The front
of the Parthenon is a golden rectangle. And then there’s the circle.
The point being that if you piece in some way has those proportions,
even an oval shape of a 3x4 proportion, that’s a start. And it’s not
necessary, just a good design base, lacking other info. The rest of
composition, alas, is deeper than that, and one’s eye and talent come
into play. You can find many books about it, though. I’m afraid the
book I’m thinking about is not here, so I don’t have the title - It’s
“The Nature of Design”, or something, and has a wealth of info on
your very question - If I remember, I’ll look it up and repost the
title…But there are many others.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com

``````It was the Greeks who understood the "Golden Rectangle", which is
3x4. That also means 6x8, 9x12, etc. They realized that it is the
most pleasing rectangle to the eye. The front of the Parthenon is a
golden rectangle.
``````

Sorry - but the proportion of the golden rectangle is 1:1.618, not
3:4. A whole number approximation that is close is 5:8 which is
1:1.625.

If you really want to understand the golden rectangle, I’ve put the
formal definition on my website, along with a piece of jewelry based
on the golden rectangle - I call it the golden rectangle in gold.
Definition is found at www.marstal.com , then click on the Etc
section.

I guess you really can’t lose your education, my degree is in math.

Judy Hoch

``````I was wondering...what is the name of the study of proportion? In
other words, the design of pieces with the proper symmetry, size,
proportion....
``````

I think what you’re looking for is the Golden Ratio, or Golden Mean,
discovered by the Greeks long ago. Google the terms and learn about
the ratio of 1.61803 or, “the smaller is to the larger as the larger
is to the sum of the two.”

Look long enough and you may come across the various Golden Mean
arrive at golden proportions.

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL

``````you mean "composition".
``````

Thanks very much, you hit the nail right on the head. I googled
"golden mean’ and found very much to get me started.

``````so I don't have the title - It's "The Nature of Design", or
something, and has a wealth of info on your very question - If I
remember, I'll look it up and repost the title..But there are many
others.
``````

You have the title correct I believe. I skimmed the table of
contents on Amazon and it seems to have all the you

It’s very difficult to learn about a process without having the
proper terminology. Your email was a giant help for me.

There is a talented maker of baskets, Billie Ruth Sudduth (sp? I
don’t have time to look up) who uses the principles of Fibbonacci
(sp?) in the design of her baskets. It is intriguing to me that there
are so many thought processes involved in the design of different
works. I like to look at a great variety of work. Basketry, pottery,
jewelry. It’s fascinating.

I have always wondered how people manage to narrow it down to a
single design. If there are so many things out there that are
fascinating ideas to work with, how do you decide which to go with? I
am always thinking of different ways to design pieces, but the ideas
are somewhat disjointed. The artists who seem to do well also seem to
have a common design thread in their work. A principle that ties
everything together.

thanks again
Kim

``````Sorry - but the proportion of the golden rectangle is 1:1.618, not
3:4. A whole number approximation that is close is 5:8 which is
1:1.625.
``````

Yeah, I forgot the exact number - almost 3:4!. The concept is
extremely useful, though

Judy Hoch is absolutely right. But the golden proportion (1:1.618)
is much more than a pleasing rectangle to the eye, it is the number of
the nature itself. It can be found in both Flora and Fauna, probably
in rocks and minerals too. Even your own body incorporates this
equation.

multibly the result with 1.618 and you have the total length of your
arm, from shoulder to fingertips. From your kneecap to the floor x
1.618 gives you the total length of your leg. Measure the distance
from your bellybutton to the floor, multiply with 1.618 and you have

Sacred Geometry. Curious, isn’t it?

Jon Holm
Bornholm, Denmark

The relationship of proportion is described by Fibonacci’s number.
(I hope I spelled that right–did it from memory.)

J. S. (Sue) Ellington
http://www.jsellington.com

``````I have always wondered how people manage to narrow it down to a
single design. If there are so many things out there that are
``````

That’s really very simple - do it! At times I paint, and I’ll sit
there with a canvas - “hmm, what to paint?”. Well I could do this or
that, OK, I’ll do that! And just paint. I used to do batches of 100
turquoise rings. I’d make 25 bezels, put them on 25 plates on my
soldering pad, and just design them on the fly, one after another.
Relatively simple pieces, to be sure, but all different. Don’t
agonize over it, just refine the design till you’re happy, and then
make it. You forget, I think: You can make all those other ones in

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com

Hi

``````You forget, I think: You can make all those other ones in your head
tomorrow and the next day....
``````

I tend to paint myself into corners sometimes…and I don’t realize
it. My husband sometimes calls this the “all or nothing mentality”.
An example: when I wear my jewelry, I tend to get compliments. If,
however, I wear something and don’t get a compliment, I have a
tendency to say “oh, this design isn’t right…no one commented on
it”. This is the all or nothing mentality. Sometimes, I can go out
for a jog and get some clarity. Sometimes, it’s pointed out to me and
I go “oh yeah, i was doing it again”. Thanks for pointing it out.
This helps me to snap out of that way of thinking.

I took a class back in the end of June. I was way pumped up about
the class. I came home after the first half and insisted that I had
to get an ounce of gold right away. My goal was to learn fusing,
granulation, classical chain making, alloying my own 22k…all in
one shot. You probably already guessed that there was not nearly
enough time. I left at the end of class practically in tears,
defeated…and I had spent almost 600 on gold and did not know what
to do with it. This is an all or nothing mentality. This is me in a
nutshell.

Isn’t it funny how, even though the people on the list live hundreds
or thousands of miles away from each other, they can learn so much
about others that it’s like they live right next door.

Thanks again
Kim

I’ve been reading this thread with interest, new stuff for me. But I
have a question, of sorts. If everyone followed that proportion rule
would not too much of art have a similar look? Wouldn’t it stifle
creativity? The other day I ordered a necklace with a pear shape
stone with the proportions of 2:1. 22 x 11 mm. I measured it with
this discussion in mind. Its just the most graceful, feminine shape.
Its pricey but I know I won’t have any trouble selling it. Maybe I
should have ordered two. But back to proportion, sorry, I tend to
digress alot. There are numerous examples of fine jewelry that does
not adhere to the 1:1.6 ratio. Take the ubiquitous bar pin. Probably
many bar pins have a ratio in the area of 1:10. IMHO, the purpose of
a pendant is to frame or define the neckline, enhancing the face. But
maybe I have a very different opinion on jewelry, I see it as
something that should ‘work’ with the wearer, not be something that
sits on display.

Hope I haven’t stepped on any toes here.

Hi Neil:

``````If everyone followed that proportion rule would not too much of art
have a similar look? Wouldn't it stifle creativity?
``````

This is a good question, but I think the only thing that is really
able to stifle creativity is the designer him/herself. The Golden
Mean proportion was mentioned to me as a basis for finding the
correct ratio of different sizes/shapes used in a pendant. Judy Hoch
posted a reply giving a link to her website. What is fascinating is
that her work (beautiful work actually) doesn’t look anything like
what I envision I would like to do.

Other than that, I find unanswered questions intriguing. By that I
mean, this ratio has been used and studied for now thousands of
years. The work of previous artists in many different disciplines has
been studied from an historical prospective and the ratio has been
found repeatedly. However, no one can say for sure if this ratio was
used purposefully or it was a case of pure serendipity. The ratio
shows up again and again, seemingly of it’s own accord. So the
question here would become, is it happenstance or something
instinctual? I find this very good reading and am glad that it was
brought up. It has really got me thinking.

For myself, I am thinking of a series of pendants that would be
embellished with different sizes of rectangles, spheres, ovals etc.
I was looking for something to tie them together since (at first
look) they are all so different…I had this ordered pattern of
difference idea. If it sounds confusing, it’s because it’s still in
my head and it doesn’t really have structure to it yet. Maybe I
should draw it.

Thanks for opening this discussion everyone. I was kind of in a rut.
Yesterday, I got a call from the waitlist. I can’t do the show
because I have other things going on now(and that’s great), but it
still breaks me up that I can’t do the show.

Best Regards
Kim

``````If everyone followed that proportion rule would not too much of art
have a similar look? Wouldn't it stifle creativity? The other day I
ordered a necklace with a pear shape
``````

I know my toes are fine… All of what you say is true. Concepts
like the Golden Mean are only ways of getting good compositions, they
are not “rules”. A better example would be the circle, which is also
a “Golden” thing. Just scan your eyes around your space and count how
many circles you see. They are everywhere. And yet it doesn’t produce
a “sameness” or a “stifled creativity”, it creates a comfortable
familiarity. The same is true of other concepts, like the Golden
Mean. It’s just a tool that people have responded positively to over
the centuries.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com

``````I've been reading this thread with interest, new stuff for me. But
I have a question, of sorts. If everyone followed that proportion
rule would not too much of art have a similar look? Wouldn't it
stifle creativity?
``````

To a point, yes. And no. As has been mentioned, there are only 12
notes in (most) music, yet there are billions of songs. The fact that
there are only 12 notes certainly hasn’t stifled musical creativity
over the generations.

But the original question was just a person wanting to know what it
was called, and nobody here is saying that we all must adhere to the
Golden Ratio. There is nothing anywhere that says anybody has to
follow the rule, and that’s where art usually walks in.

``````There are numerous examples of fine jewelry that does not adhere
to the 1:1.6 ratio. Take the ubiquitous bar pin. Probably many bar
pins have a ratio in the area of 1:10. IMHO, the purpose of a
pendant is to frame or define the neckline, enhancing the face.
But maybe I have a very different opinion on jewelry, I see it as
something that should 'work' with the wearer, not be something that
sits on display.
``````

I totally agree. Just as in the “Jeweler Chic” thread, appearance is
something that has to work with the wearer. It’s the same with
jewelry. Although there are many who subscribe to this forum who are
aware of the Golden Ratio, I’ll bet my bottom dollar that not one of
them would say that everyone must stick to it in order to make a
pleasing or functional design. Indeed, a functional design may
require a different ratio.

Hope I haven’t stepped on any toes here.

Hmmm, wait while I check…ummm…nope, I’ve still got all 10 of
’em…

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL

Let me jump in on this one and put on my art historian’s hat here.
The Golden Ration, Section, Mean, whatever you want to call it, was
intended primarily for the design of architecture and it was
initially used as such. In the Renaissance it again became useful in
architectural design, but soon found it’s way into painting
composition. The ideal ratio of 1: 1.618034 became simplified as a
1:2 ratio. Look at Dutch 17th century landscape painting (I was a
specialist in 17th Century Dutch and Flemish painting, as well as
15th and 16th Century German painting and printmaking) and you will
see this ratio; 2/3 sky, 1/3 land in paintings by artists such as
Ruysdael, Hobbema, de Koninck and many others. The commonality here
is the existence of right angles and straight lines forming squares
and rectangles that could be divided up. When you come to circular
or oval shapes, or the freeform combination of shapes so often found
in modern jewelry, the ratio becomes less useful or falls apart all
together. Unless you’re planning to stick with square or rectangular
designs for your work I don’t see the point in pursuing the ratio. I
fail to see how you will be able to create better pieces by its use.
For one thing, the modern eye isn’t used to seeing this ratio of
proportions because our architecture and our two-dimensional visual
design aren’t based on it, so it is no longer a standard of beauty
that is recognizable.

Brian Corll
Brian Corll, Inc.
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

I have reading most of the posting in this discussion, but with this
one, I feel need to put in my two cents worth.

The golden mean is not the same as the rule of third, both are
separate compositional tools. I disagree also with the premise that
the modern eye is not used to seeing the golden mean applied. As a
Design teacher, with a strong background in both design and in
science, the golden mean is often used to explain and template ideas,
such the structure of spiraling constellations, of storm systems,
etc… Even as an organic artist/jeweler/photographer, I applied it
frequently to my designs, as I apply the other compositional tools
like the Hogarth Curve, the rule of thirds, cruciform and the others.
I also disagree that the primary application of the golden mean in
antiquity was architecture, it was used as the standard for statuary
and early jewelry also.

Peace,
Richard

``````Unless you're planning to stick with square or rectangular designs
for your work I don't see the point in pursuing the ratio. I fail
to see how you will be able to create better pieces by its use.
``````

It was I who first brought this all up in the first place. And I
misremembered the proportion, which is kind’ve the point. It’s just
that it’s useful to have the concept in your brain, that there are
proportions and ratios that are pleasing to the eye when composing
anything. The golden mean is not something I ever think about
conciously, but it is ingrained in there somewhere. And it doesn’t
apply only to rectilinear work at all. As the post in the quote
points out, it is a way to lay something out - 1/3 sky (white gold)
2/3 land (yellow gold), etc. If you’re overall piece fits inside of
the mean (If that’s the proportion you want at the time), then it is
useful, whatever shape the piece is in. But, again, it’s only a
concept - another tool in the arsenal, not a rule or “law”.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com

I’m a bit late responding to this thread…sorry. I just want to add
that Mother Nature really has her own way of determining proportions.

I cut a lot of free form stones! I mean a lot. The cost of rough and
a desire for more freedom in the use of material has pushed me in
that direction. If I have a large slab and want to reduce it to
freeform sizes, I do not use a saw but drop it flat onto the floor!
Amazing what comes out. After doing that many hundreds of times I
find MN tends to give me triangular shaped stones I would venture to
say, nearly 90 percent of the time. Usually the stones break along
otherwise weak lines and therefore there is little or no waste except
for maybe a few small pieces that can go into the tumbler.

MN’s triangles are beautiful. Some sides are rounded, some straight,
some slightly concave, etc., but the proportions all appear natural
and proper. All I need do is smooth them and cab or even leave the
top/bottom flat/buff. Sometimes the edges are so beautiful, I leave
them that way.

My point is,…why try to force a design into what is man’s idea of
proportion when MN does so much better? After cutting such a
freeform, the design and setting becomes academic.

Just another 2c. Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL
where simple elegance IS fine jewelry!

Hi

``````why try to force a design into what is man's idea of proportion
when MN does so much better?
``````

The proportion question wasn’t really anything that I thought was
going to be that deep. I have a picture in my head of a pendant I
would like to make. I thought to my self that the pendant might be
better conceived(by me) if I had the ability to draw it. The pendant
itself involves random and varying spheres, rectangles, squares, and
ovals. Many people can envision such shapes in their head but very
few, including me, can draw them. I was thinking out loud when I
asked the question and it was such a vague one that I was shocked I
even got a response. I was really only looking for a jumping off
point ex. if the diameter of the sphere is 2, maybe it would look
good if the length of the rectangle was 3? maybe not. I often have
ideas that involve techniques that are beyond my skillset at the
time. Bringing something from an idea to a drawing to an object is
currently beyond my skillset…but this time I would like to
complete the idea. Besides, customers love a good story “Oh, you
designed this piece using an ancient Greek principal of divine
proportion, lovely, here’s all my money”…I’m just kidding

Thanks for all the information
Kim

Kim,

Why not just cut your shapes out of heavy paper and keep arranging
them until you’re satisfied. You’ll soon see if you have a pleasing
placement and proportion of your components, and you’ll have
templates to boot !

Brian Corll
Brian Corll, Inc.
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055