Necklaces are many and varied – chunky, delicate, plain, colourful, monochromatic, simple, textured, short, long, chain, beads, leather, cotton, the list goes on… There are different types and styles, from collars made of felt, lace and pearls to ropes of beads and chain and everything in between.
Keep reading for the 6 most common lengths and how to layer your necklaces to reflect your style and uniqueness.
The earliest necklaces were made from shell, bones and teeth – derived from hunting – and date back to the Stone Age, more than 40,000 years ago. Pebbles, Feathers and seeds were also used. Early jewellery was more often created as a functional item. Brooches and pins,to hold clothing together, rings for seals and necklaces to hold currency and to denote rank, status and wealth.
Jewellery throughout history has been used as symbols and talismans, with gemstones and symbolic carvings and markings having a range of meanings such as protection, luck, power, transformation and love. Necklaces and pendants have been worn for thousands of years, made first from natural products mentioned above which the Egyptians replaced with beads of glass and glazed pottery. These were fashion into necklaces and other adornments and were used not just for aesthetic reasons but for trade- serving as a form of currency.
“Jewelry is a very personal thing…
it should tell a story about the person who’s wearing it.”
There are many different types of necklace, including pendant, choker, princess, collar, charm, opera, bib, matinée, torque, lariat, multi chain, locket, negligee, lavaliere, riviera, festoon, plastron, sautoir, chain, thread and rope.
While there are many styles (some of which are listed above), there are 6 common lengths of necklace.
The COLLAR necklace
The Collar necklace sits tightly around the neck and is commonly made of fabric or lace for this reason, however a collar necklace can be made in many different materials. A collar is typically 30-33cm long.
The CHOKER necklace
A choker sits on the throat at the base of the neck and are often about 37-42cm in length.
This is a versatile length and works well as part of a necklace stack. However, where a necklace sits on one individual person really depends on the size and shape of their neck and body (so it can be worthwhile putting a necklace around your neck to find your best choker length and measuring it – there is a template for you to fill in with your measurements for you to keep below).
The PRINCESS necklace
A Princess necklace sits along the collar bones and is typically 45cm long (43-46cm). This is one of the most common lengths of necklace and often comes as a chain with a pendant. This length is great for many outfits and occasions, from business attire to night time glam. Wear a chunky princess length over a high neckline tee to elevate a day time casual look to evening attire.
The MATINÉE necklace
A matinée necklace can vary quite a lot in length as it covers the area from just below the collar bones (Princess length) to just above the bust (Opera length), so can range from 50-60cm. This is another versatile length and is common as a pendant necklace, great for everyday wear and adds depth when layering necklaces. A matinée necklace works well with plunging necklines.
A Note On Pendants
If a pendant is on a 45cm chain it often sits as a Matinée length rather than a Princess length, as the pendant pulls it down below the collar bone
The OPERA necklace
Opera length necklaces sit on or just below the bust and are roughly 70-90cm. They are often wrapped around the neck twice and create a great layering effect on their own this way. Or pair with some shorter lengths to create a varied necklace stack. Try a choker, matinée and opera together to create interest in your look.
The ROPE necklace
Rope lengths fall just below the bust to the waist and are often 90-130cm. Because of their length, they can be worn a number of ways including wrapped around the neck multiple times, tied up at the end in a lariat style or worn simply long down to the waist.
Use an existing necklace or a piece of string to find your measurements:
Save this image (or screen shot it), fill in the blanks and save it to your phone for future reference.
Head to the DOWNLOADABLES page for a the template.
Layering your necklaces
I’m a big fan of layering and stacking in general – it means you get to wear more of your jewels at one time… representing more chapters of your life as once!
And layering necklaces can add interest and change a look quickly and simply.
There are 2 main aspects to consider when layering necklaces: length and texture.
Use different length necklaces to create depth. Or use all the same length, multiple times over to create texture.
Try wearing a choker, a princess and a matinée or opera necklace to create length down the body and interest in your aesthetic.
By using different variety in your necklace choice you create texture. Try having a coin necklace and a pendant on a chain. Or a simple choker necklace with a stone, and a rope of beads in a complimentary colour. Mix it up with colour, textures or materials.
I believe that a life well lived is a life filled with experiences, adventures, people, milestones, love, laughter, tears, lessons learnt and their many, many stories.
And I believe that jewellery is a symbol, a talisman of these stories, holding memories and tales from the many adventures of your life.
Layer up your necklaces from your jewellery box to tell the stories from your lifes’ adventures.
Did you know we have Gift Vouchers?
CQJ gift vouchers are available online and will be emailed to you – perfect for that last minute gift stumble or to just say…
“I want you to have the whole world of beautiful jewels to admire and delight in… so here’s a voucher for you to choose anything your heart desires!”