The pendant necklace is derived from the French origin of the word “pendre.” It literally means: to hang down. A pendant is any piece of jewelry that is attached by a loop and hangs from a necklace. Known as one of the earliest types of body jewelry, men of early descent would hang rocks and seashells from their necks. Today, pendants offer a multitude of choices in eclectic materials and designs. \nMaterials.\nDepending on your preference, mood and taste you can choose from varieties including glass, metal, wood, gems, ceramics and fibers. Glass pendants have a smooth texture and come in an assortment of colors, shapes and sizes. Common metals used for pendants are platinum, silver, gold and bronze (as used in many other types of necklaces). It is best to make sure these are smoothed and finished before wearing since the original texture can be rough to your skin or snag your clothing. Gems are often used as a focal point in pendants. Ceramics, although not as common, make for an interesting medium and can be purchased glazed or unglazed. The ceramic finishes are unique and have a different feel to them. Depending on the designer, fiber or cloth pendants are generally shapes and less formal than other types of pendants.\nStyle.\nThe style of today's pendants are as diverse as the people wearing them. Traditionally, popular styles included the Solitaire with stone and Heartstone, a heart shaped pendant covered in stones. Other pendants are known as Flat pendants, even if rounded or three dimensional in shape. This type of pendant is becoming the most popular style because designers have limitless opportunity of expression. The opportunity to group pendants together on the chain is also increasing in popularity. There are two ways to group pendants. The first way is to have a primary pendant be the focal point with other pendants enhancing this. The second way is to have several pendants grouped together to create a focal point in and of itself. Sterling silver and bronze are very popular mediums for pendants that can be single-sided or double-sided to enhance versatility. These are also available in gold and platinum. The shapes and designs are limitless and your choice of pendant(s) reveal your personality, which is part of the joy of wearing jewelry.\nType.\nThe length, size and type of necklace chain you select contributes to the overall appearance of your pendant. First, consider the length. The Opera chain measures 30-35 inches and falls to the breastbone which can be ideal for creating a focal point. The Matinee chain is 24 inches long and is a very popular length as it falls below the neckline but measures shorter than an Opera chain. The Princess chain is one of the most worn chain lengths and varies from 18-20 inches in length. It falls under the collarbone and allows both large and small pendants to be very noticeable. Lastly, is the infamous Choker, which will hang at the neckline and generally hold one statement pendant or a few small pendants. The diameter or thickness of your necklace chain should be considered not just for its appearance but function. Today, bundling several pendants on a chain is trending. You should have a chain that is strong enough to hold the pendants you place on it. Also trending is more attention towards the design of necklace chains. Popular chain styles, to name a few, include the Rolo, Foxtail and Baby Ball. Each of these come in a wide choice of lengths. Another choice of necklace chain is of leather. Whether a single round cord, braided or knotted, leather can enhance the presentation of your pendant while giving it a more casual tone. When buying a pendant, consider all of these attributes as a whole. Your choice of pendant and chain will create a feeling of individuality that complements your look.