The necklace frames a person’s face and enhances it – and this is why it has always been a woman’s favorite piece of adornment. It can complement your clothes like none of the other jewelry does, because a necklace lies close to it.
Necklaces come in various shapes and sizes. They are made of many different types of materials too. But this was not the case, a long long time back.
If you trace the history of necklaces, it goes back to the stone age, when people made necklaces out of vines, animal sinew, bones, feathers, shells. It was during the bronze age that metals replaced organic matter; gold, silver, copper, electrum, platinum were all used to craft necklaces. People in ancient civilizations like Mesopotamia, Babylon, Egypt, Crete, Greece wore necklaces for religious, celebratory, or funerary purposes. Necklaces were embellished with beads, precious and semi-precious stones, pearls, etc.
Different types of Necklaces
The necklaces are mainly differentiated by the length of their chain. There are necklaces as short as 12 inches and as long as 36 inches and above. Other than that they are classified according to what they are made of, the way they are embellished etc.
Necklaces according to their length
A choker is worn around the neck. It is made of different materials velvet, ribbon, leather, thick string, and metals like gold, silver, and platinum. Pearls, crystals, and beads are also common among chokers. A choker is so versatile that it goes with any fashion style. Sometimes pendants, graduating beads, festoon-like drops, etc are added to chokers to make them more beautiful.
Collar necklaces are also called crew necklaces as they fit around the neck like a crew neckline. A collar necklace is usually 12 to 14 inches in length. They lie flat on the body and rest right above the collarbone.
A collar can be a costume jewelry or fine jewelry. They can be thin or several inches wide. Similarly, they can be single strands or have multiple layers. They are usually made of gold, silver, rhinestones, gems, beads, or pearls.
A very popular style of necklace, Princess necklace hangs just below the collarbone. It is 18 inches in length. It usually is decorated with pendants or focal pieces.
The princess necklace is available in both heavy and light designs. As the name suggests, it’s a necklace fit-for-a-princess and is an ideal choice for formal wear.
This is a 20- 22 inches long necklace that sits right above the bust. The necklace is decorated with stones or beads. It can be paired with dresses or blouses with plunging necklines. The advantage of a matinee necklace is that it looks great with high necklines or turtle necks.
Opera necklaces are long necklaces. Generally, they are 26 to 36 inches in length. They are versatile pieces of jewelry that can be worn for formal as well as casual occasions. Still, they are often worn for formal occasions, hence the name opera. They are made with everything from pearls to beads. You can wear it as a single strand or wear multiple opera necklaces of different lengths for a more dramatic look.
They are long necklaces made of beads or pearls which could be fashioned like lariats, sautoirs, or multistrand necklaces. They are 50-60 inches long and tied in a knot. They were very popular during the 1920s but as time progressed the designs got shorter
Necklaces in General style
Chains are made of metals like gold, silver, or steel. They are either plain or decorated with beads or pendants. They come in various lengths. Depending on the design, there are several types of chain necklaces. Some of the popular ones are cable chain, curb chain, marine chain, Tigard chain, rope chain, wheat chain, bead chain, omega chain, box chain, snake chain, and herringbone chain.
String or thread necklace
A string or thread necklace is a thin strand of a chain of varied length. The length can be between 14 inches to 20 inches. It’s a multipurpose necklace that can be worn with any outfit. You can add pendants, pearls, large beads, items of wood or metal on a String chain.
Rope or Bayadere Necklace
They are made of strings, beads, or seed pearls. Multiple strands may be twisted together. Sometimes these necklaces had a single pendant or tassel attached to them. They were very popular during the 18th century.
This is a thin necklace that sits close to the neck, made of plain wire.
Torque is a similar solid necklace made of metal, but thicker and stiffer. It is open at the back and is worn close to the skin. It is a different form of the choker necklace. Torque has been in existence for a long long time but is still a contemporary design that look very chic on the wearer.
This is a French term used to describe long necklaces made of pearls, beads joined with chains. It can have tassels hanging from the end or a removable pendant.
This is a variant of a string or bead necklace, with more than one layer.
Lariat necklaces are also called rope necklaces or Y necklaces. This type of necklace has no clasp. It forms a loop secured with a knot that allows it to slide without coming apart. Or it has a round filter through which the chain is pulled through and tied at the front. They are as long as 30 inches or more. Lariat necklaces are usually thin and elegant. It also comes in a chunky statement-like pieces.
This is a short necklace with several twisted strands held together with a clasp. It is made of pearls or beads. The French word torsade means to twist. They are also referred to as twisters. Torsade is a very old style of necklace. They used to wear by the ancient Greeks.
Graduated necklace is a single-strand necklace usually made of beads. The larger beads are kept in the center front and they gradually get smaller as they go back. Sometimes small beads or spacers are used in between the main beads. A commonly seen graduated necklace is that of pearl.
A chain that has flat rectangular links that look like books is called a book chain. It was very popular during the Victorian era when rectangular links were often engraved. Large pendants were sometimes added to the book chain. Also, book chain was often used to make fringed necklaces.
Highly popular during the 1950s, the triple strand necklace as the name suggests is made of three strands. The strands can be made of beads, crystals, stones, or pearls.
Rivière is a short necklace of 12 to 16 inches long. It has one or two rows of faceted rhinestones or gemstones. The specialty of rivière is that stones graduate in size while going from Center to back. Initially, the stones were set in individual collets. But later the prong or claw settings were used to hold the stones in place. Old rivières had closed-back settings. But later the stones were set in the open back to allow the light to get through. A rivière is often a classic choice with formal wear.
This is a delicate chain with evenly spaced gemstones stationed throughout. In place of gemstones sometimes other adornments can also be used.
Necklaces depending on how they are embellished
A pendant necklace usually has a single strand of silver or gold chain and a single focal piece in the front. Other than silver and gold, it can be made of leather, ribbon, and cord. It’s a very popular necklace as it can be worn with both casual or formal wear depending on the ornamentation of the pendant. The pendant can be anything from a charm to a gemstone. A pendant necklace is easily customizable and hence an ideal choice for the gift.
Locket necklace has a chain and a pendant that has an openable compartment. The pendants came in many shapes like oval, circle, or heart. They were generally made of silver or gold and were often engraved. The compartment in the pendant was used to store small portraits or locks of hair of the beloved. It was very popular in the Victorian era. Locket necklaces were very personal and had sentimental values. Sometimes it would be passed on from generation to generation.
A bib necklace has a wide collar-like portion with a fanciful design tapering down the chest. It is usually made with gold, silver, pearls, gemstones, or beads studded along with a triangular or circular frame. A bib necklace is a large statement piece and is usually paired with simple single-colored attire.
Plastron is a solid necklace that covers the entire area of the bust. They are heavy and extravagant. They can be made of wood, silver, gold, beads, or glass.
A statement jewelry means an elaborate piece of Jewellery. The statement necklace generally has a pendant and other embellishments. Though most of them are loud, they can also look elegant depending on the design. They are usually made in solid silver or gold with precious stones like diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, pearls, or coral branches. They attract attention, especially when paired with simple attire.
The term festoon means a wreath or garland hanging from two points. This design was originated in Greece. A festoon necklace has drapes of gemstones, pearls, metals, or beads hanging from a chain that is collar length. It is best suited with off-shoulder or low-neck formal wear.
A lavalier is made of a chain that ends in a large-sized pendant or tassel. It is named after Louise de La Valliere, the mistress of French king Louis XIV. It’s a delicate chain made of gold and precious stones. Its usual length is 16 inches. It was very popular during the Edwardian era because this delicate chain complimented the pastel-toned fashion trends. It has regained its popularity in the 20th century and is often spotted with feminine, bohemian fashion
This is made of a round chain from which fringes hang around the front. The fringes can be of uniform length or graduated.
Like charm bracelets, charm necklaces have charms attached to the chain. The advantage of a charm necklace is that you can add or change charms as per your mood or wish.
This is a variant of the Lavaliere necklace. It is a chain necklace with asymmetrical pendants dangling from unequal lengths of fine chains. The pendants can be gemstones, a combination of different stones, or pearls.
As the name suggests, religious necklaces are worn for religious purposes as a symbol of faith. They usually have a charm or a religious pendant attached to them. They can be of varying lengths and can be made of gold, silver, platinum, pearl, beads, or cords
Updated on March 1, 2022 by Sarina Tariq