Tassel jewelry has clearly been a trend these past few years, but some of you may remember tassels being a popular embellishment you'd see around your house (or your grandma's house;). For example, you'd spot them on lampshades, curtains and pillows. They were usually tied in with some sort of fabric.
According to marthastewart.com, the tassel has almost always been a symbol of power and prestige. The word for "tassel" originated from "tassau" -- which, translated from Latin, refers to a clasp at the neck of a garment. In the beginning, tassels served as a weaving knot in garments to prevent unraveling. Then, over the course of time, they took on a more powerful significance: They were worn by ancient priests and military officers as talismans that warded off evil spirits. Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun was unearthed from his tomb wearing them around his neck.
The French turned the tassel into a trend. Around the 16th century, the Guild of the Passementiers established the art of "passementerie." It took seven years of apprenticeship to be trained in this craft, and a single tassel would cost the equivalent of thousands of dollars to commission, not to mention weeks of labor and valuable materials.
Nowadays, you see tassels just about everywhere: dangling from necklaces, earrings, key chains and purses. I started using tassels for my long necklaces that don't require a clasp. Often times I use three of my handmade glass beads, a 2 inch leather tassel and a brass chain and sometimes an additional pendant to add more color and style to the necklace. The leather tassels that I use come in various colors with brass caps. I choose glass colors to compliment the color of tassel when putting the necklace together. I've also started a small line of long necklaces for younger girls that feature a 1.5 inch leather tassel. They have three of my glass beads, the tassel and the brass chain, no clasp needed. They are cute, durable and easy to get on and off for a younger girl.
In addition, I've started using some 2 inch silk tassels to achieve a different look with a different material. You can also find tassels made of ribbon, metal chain and just about any other material you can think of.
Knowing the rich history of the existence in tassels, I think it's safe to say we're all glad they're not as expensive as they used to be;) I'm also equally happy that most of us who use tassels in jewelry are able to put a modern spin on it and have pieces that fit the trend and make them cute, fun and colorful.
Thanks for reading!