I am on a never-ending quest to make more Casually Glowy jewelry. One design challenge I often contend with in this journey is preventing light glare.

This happens when a point of light is too bright and might even cause a recoiling reaction from a viewer, which is definitely not the effect that I want to achieve. I want someone to look at these pieces of jewelry and think "oh wow" and keep looking in awe, instead of "ah my eyes!" 👀 and look away in pain 😅. This is often solved with some sort of diffusion layer, and that is a fun design challenge in itself because spreading light across a medium evenly (and with purpose) is a matter of material choice, physics, and a bit of cleverness.

So when I discovered the existence of these LED filaments, made to emit a 360 degree glow without external diffusion and imitate the warmth of a vintage light bulb, I was immediately in love! A continuous unbroken line of light is a magical thing and makes me think about space travel and fantastical tech. These filaments can be bent to almost any shape you can imagine. If you apply the minimum voltage of 3V (for short lengths), these LEDs  emit a soft enough glow to be bright but not glare-y. It opened an entire realm of design possibilities, and I was absolutely ecstatic.

Here's a closer look at some jewelry I've been able to make with these LEDs.

Retro-futuristic ring

Process video on insta

This ring was the first time I was featured on the cover of Make: magazine! You can download Vol. 85 to learn more about the entire process of how to recreate this ring in great detail. I absolutely love how this simple design turned out to be so compelling. I sometimes dream of seeing it in the sands of Dune or on some mathematical tech in Foundations.

Viking Knit necklace

Process video on insta

I first heard about this Viking Knit technique from a fellow maker during a conference. It's a method of weaving metal wire and is actually quite an enjoyable process. It provided a protective and beautifully elegant cage around this delicate LED filament. I love how casually I can wear this piece. The battery holder functions as a clasp, and although it needs a bit of improvement, I'm quite alright with it for now.

Abstract filament necklace

Original insta post

This abstract design was a result of playing and procrastinating. It has survived more friend brunches and office days than it had any right to, given how fragile these filaments can be. It's quite easy to wear, and is a versatile enough design to pair with any outfit.

Art deco sconce necklace

Original insta post

I designed this to try to overcome some of the inherent fragility of these filaments. The resin encases the entire filament so that you can still appreciate the glow from all angles while keeping it protected. The design is inspired by art deco wall sconces, proving that inspiration can come from anywhere 😄.

Bonus: Laser cut stands

For the Casually Glowy exhibit, I wanted to showcase these jewelry pieces in a way that felt authentic and unique to my style. I also wanted to keep them relatively easy to transport since I was going to be showing these pieces in at least two locations. The stand designs that I came up with are playful and colorful, using only a single acrylic standoff. I painted the engraved letters to make them stand out more and changed around the color combos to match the aesthetic of the piece it holds. It also has a magnetic strip on the back side to hold the coin cell batteries when they are not installed. I absolutely love how these turned out!

That's it! Thanks for reading. Subscribe to this blog for more (occasional) project content, and reach out on Instagram @chardane if this post inspired you in some way! Also, if you see me being casually glowy at Open Sauce 2024 or Teardown 2024, please come say hi!