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A pendant is a type of necklace in which a jewel, fob or jeweled motif hangs on an otherwise unadorned chain. The word pendant is both a noun and an adjective, and can mean 'hanging from something else.' A chandelier, for example, might be described as 'pendant from the wooden beams.'
In the jewelry world, a pendant is either a complete necklace -- that is, the jewel and the chain -- or the jewel or setting alone. Pendants are often sold without chains so that the purchaser can select a chain to suit their needs. Some pendants are made with a pin-back as well as a loop for a chain and can be worn either as a brooch or a necklace.
Dramatic pendants can be made from large single crystals or gemstones with little in the way of a setting, just a simple attachment so that the jewel can be strung on a chain. Other pendants feature heavy worked silver or gold settings with an array of colored jewels in elaborate combinations.
A locket is strictly speaking a pendant. Pendant watches, variously jeweled or enameled or simply made of precious metals or even plastics, go in and out of style.
Many people use pendants to make statements about themselves. A Christian might wear a bejeweled cross, while a Wiccan might wear a pentacle, to announce their affiliation with a particular faith. Birthstones and medallions for various organizations or causes are also popular pendants.
Some people like to wear a particular stone pendant for its metaphysical properties. Folklore maintains that different stones are good for different conditions, or can assist with different life aspects. People may want to wear a rose quartz pendant if they are interested in attracting love into their life, for example. Citrine, a lovely lemon yellow or deep apricot-colored stone, is thought to attract money or enhance prosperity, as well as dispel negativity -- useful qualities indeed! Carnelian, a deep red stone, is thought to help one make decisions, while hematite, a shiny black metallic-looking stone, is protective.
Pendants can be formal or casual, elaborate or simple, costly or inexpensive. Many people just don't feel 'dressed' without them.