Necklaces have been popular since ancient times - there are finds that are believed to be 75,000 years old! The earliest "designs" were often made from found objects, such as shells and stones, or hunting trophies like animal teeth, claws and bones. While you can still find necklaces made with at least some of those items, other materials have taken over as the top choices, and designs have evolved.

One style that has really caught on, especially in recent years, is the charm necklace. It’s easy to see why: you can personalize them and add any number of charms, or anything that can be attached to a jump ring really. And there are lots of clever and unique designs available - some are stylish; others are unusual, fun and interesting. Here are a few of my recent favorites:

The adorable headphone charm necklace from Complete Technique comes in gold or rhodium-plated sterling silver. The miniature headphones are part of CT’s custom line of jewelry, which include toys, watches and other music-inspired pendants such as microphones, speakers, mp3 players, etc. 

French designer Marianne Rautureau of Calourette finds inspiration in nature, animals and “objects that speak of her everyday life, passion and favorites”. I think donuts would fit at least two of those categories for most people... :-)  Her donut pendants, which come in several different “toppings and flavors” (the chocolate glazed is my favorite, both as a donut and a pendant) are made from brass and enamel, and look mouthwateringly real.

Mary Jane-Style ShoesBlahnik CampariCredit:
This fabulous shoe pendant is a miniature reproduction of the famous Manolo Blahnik “campari” shoe. The shoe necklace is the result of a collaboration between Blahnik and Spanish Tous jewelry and the tiny pendants come in 18k gold (with a diamond as the button), vermeil (sterling silver plated with gold), and sterling silver in three different sizes.

Colleen Jordan, a designer and artist from Georgia came up with the idea of the planter necklace. Created using modeling software, it is made from 3D printed acrylic polymer and finished by hand. The plant “pot” is slightly translucent, watertight and comes with a leather cord attached, and if you don't want to wear it around your neck, hang it on the wall.

Inspired by her Norwegian heritage, Amsterdam-based Laurie Poast creates necklace pendants in the shape of typical Spitsbergen (Norway) homes. The little houses are made by hand from white clay. The front and back have a glossy finish, the top, sides and bottom are left in the raw clay color. You can wear the pendants interchangeably or all at the same time.

There are so many creative and talented jewelry designers out there, and thanks to the Internet, it is easier than ever to find their unique creations. And why not give making a charm necklace a try yourself? Look around the house for small objects that would be fun and unusual - old pieces of jewelry, dollhouse furniture, doll and Barbie accessories, etc. and just attach them with the help of jump rings. Anything goes!