There are thousands of components, findings, beads and jewelry stones available to you as a designer. If you think of those components as building blocks or elements with more than one function you will discover an unlimited number of design possibilities. For example a long slender connector can become a fabulous bail if you fold it into a round or oval loop and attach a jump ring.
Framework stampings which have no prongs and no loops can become great settings if you wrap larger filigrees around them to hold stones. Filigrees are wonderful elements since there are many openings to attach jump rings to. Filigrees are normally quite pliable so that you can wrap them around a smaller object. Be careful not to bend or fold the filigrees too much in one spot or they will break.
Brass stampings are design elements with a theme such as birds, flowers, dragons and fish as well many other objects. By adding one of those items to a pendant, you can add supporting smaller items with the same theme throughout the piece to tie the design together.
Use color to tell a story. If the focal stone is blue you could add a variety of blue and green beads throughout the strands to complement the color of the stone. In handmade jewelry it is always more interesting to use color, texture and attitude to celebrate the fact that your work is made by hand. If every bead, jump ring and clasp matches in color exactly, the piece will look mass produced.
Try making your own bar and toggle clasps. You can use many of the larger circles and the long slender stampings as unique clasps. If you don't have a hand held hole punching tool, you should invest in one. You will use it for years to come on all sorts of projects to make a variety of holes in metal. Punch a small hole in the long slender element and then add chain and a jump ring so that you can thread it through the circle. The circle will need a hole too, but you can just attach the other strand to it.
Remember, the back should always be as pretty as the front. When you use a connector in a strand always use two back to back so that when they twist and move with the wearer, that section will still be pretty no matter which side shows. The same principle applies to pendants you make with wire or wrapped filigree. Always make sure to back them up with another filigree if what you've done to join parts together isn't pretty.
You can find thousands of elements and more free suggestions and ideas at my web site.
Susan Street's thirty year career has included image consultant, public speaker, model, jewelry designer, artist and district manager for a women's clothing chain. She is now the owner of http://www.AccessoriesSusan.com and VintageJewelrySupplies.com where she shares techniques and the supplies to make your own jewelry.