What Is the Difference Between a Pendant, an Amulet and a Medallion?

An item could be a pendant, amulet and medallion, or just one of these things.
... Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

The words amulet, pendant and medallion are often used interchangeably but the terms technically have different meanings. Still, a specific piece can be all of these things at once.

1 Amulet

Often a piece of jewelry, an amulet is technically any trinket that is believed to be infused with magic. Amulets are thought to be special or blessed in a way that allows them to ward off evil, disease and other dangers and protect the owner or wearer. Technically, any piece of jewelry could be an amulet.

2 Pendant

A pendant is an object that is allowed to hang freely from something else. Hanging light fixtures, for example, are often referred to as pendants. Any object that hangs from an earring or a chain is a pendant, but the term usually refers to a decorative piece worn on a chain around the neck. An amulet can be used as a pendant, but not all amulets are pendants and vice versa.

3 Medallion

A medallion is a large medal or anything that resembles one, including an oval or circular design used in a wall panel or decorative window. Medals are usually associated with an achievement of some type, such as Olympic gold medals or medals of valor, but anything resembling a medal in appearance may be referred to as one. A medal may be used as a piece of jewelry and worn as a pendant if desired, and could be considered an amulet if it's believed to offer protection or act as a good-luck charm.

Writing professionally since 2008, Michelle Miley specializes in home and garden topics but frequently pens career, style and marketing pieces. Her essays have been used on college entrance exams and she has more than 4,000 publishing credits. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in accounting, having graduated summa cum laude.