Necklace Lengths: A Primer

Pink, copper beads; multicolor pink, green, gold seed beads in necklace. Necklace is resting on dark, weathered board.

Necklace lengths can vary, and different lengths are suitable for various styles and occasions. Necklace Lengths: A Primer will help inform you on some common necklace lengths along with their descriptions and potential historical significance.

  1. Collar (12-14 inches): Sits snugly around the middle of the neck. Collar necklaces have been worn in various cultures throughout history, often symbolizing wealth and status.
  2. Choker (14-16 inches): Sits closely around the neck, just above the collarbone. Chokers have been worn for centuries, with notable popularity during the Renaissance and the 19th century. In the 1990s, chokers experienced a resurgence in fashion.
  3. Princess (17-19 inches) Falls just below the collarbone, resting on the upper chest. The princess length is a classic and versatile choice. It complements various necklines and has been favored throughout different fashion eras.
  4. Matinee (20-24 inches): Extends just below the collarbone to the center of the chest. The matinee length is often associated with the Edwardian era, characterized by elegant and sophisticated jewelry styles.
  5. Opera (28-36 inches): Hangs below the bust, typically resting on the chest. The opera length gained popularity during the Art Deco period, reflecting the fashion of that time. It’s often worn for formal occasions.
  6. Rope (Over 36 inches): Any necklace longer than opera length, can be worn as a single long strand or doubled/tripled for a layered look. Ropes have been worn for centuries, and they became especially popular during the flapper era of the 1920s. They offer versatility in styling.
  7. Lariat (Variable): A versatile style with no clasp, featuring a long strand that can be tied or looped in various ways. Lariats have a long history in Western and Native American jewelry, and they’ve become popular in modern and bohemian styles.

Throughout history, necklaces have held cultural and symbolic significance. In ancient times, necklaces were often worn as protective amulets or symbols of social status. The materials and styles varied based on the culture and time period, ranging from intricate gold and gemstone pieces to more simple and symbolic designs. Today, necklaces continue to be a prominent accessory, reflecting personal style, cultural influences, and fashion trends.

Let me know in the comments if you think Necklace Lengths: A Primer will help you make your next necklace purchase decision a little easier.

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