Your Guide to Necklace Lengths and Styles
Jewellery has been worn around the neck since ancient times. There are so many diferent necklace lengths and styles. Perhaps it was a simple stone with a hole in it strung on a plaited grass cord, or a tooth or something with real meaning to the person who wore it. As the eras went by the necklaces got fancier and changed with fashions. There are lots of different styles of vintage necklace from the past we see these days indeed many genuine antique and vintage necklace are available for you to buy here.
Necklace Lengths and Styles:
You will probably consider the length of the necklace you will wear . Options include:
- 14- 16 inches – Choker – sits above the collar bone
- 18 inches – Princess – Sits over collar bones – a standard everyday length for most ladies
- 20 – 24 inches – Matinee – Sits over clothing
- 30 – 36 inches – opera – this can be worn single or double
- Longer than this up to 60 inches is a Muff Chain Popular in Victorian times
Here’s a quick guide to the different historic necklace styles you can find nowadays.
Choker / Dog Collar
A short length necklace is worn around the throat. This was very popular during the Victorian era when Princess Alexandra the wife of the future King Edward wore them to glamorous occasions allegedly to hide a scar on her neck. The choker can be metal when it is known as a Dog Collar. When it is fabric it is a choker.
A broad velvet ribbon choker can have a jewel or locket sewn onto the center. It ties at the back of the neck or you could consider closing it with Velcro. As many of them were fabric we don’t often see original chokers today but it is so easy to make your own and then add a genuine Victorian Brooch to it. This sort of jewelry had a revival in the 1970s.
This has swags hanging down as decoration as you can see here. The chains could be covered in gemstones or even have tiny pendants hanging down from them.
A drop hanging down from a chain. This can be simple such as a single gemstone or a small charm. Alternatively, it can be complex like this art nouveau pendant you see here. The locket is a specialist type of pendant worn around the neck with a photo or other memento inside. These must be one of the most popular types of jewelry. The pendant comes in many different necklace lengths and styles.
Lavalier A necklace from the past made popular by a Mistress of King Louis XIV of France and very fashionable during the Edwardian era. It has a chain around the neck and the decorative pendant joining the ends at the front. This can then have further tassels hanging down. When there are two tassels of unequal length it is known as a Negligee. Antique Lavaliers make a most popular gift these days.
The evergreen chain can also be a necklace when worn alone or can be used to attach a pendant to it. Sometimes the fashion is for long chains sometimes shorter. A very long chain is known as a Guard or Muff chain and these were the in thing for Victorian ladies. Nowadays we are mostly wearing 18-inch chains which nicely fill the area above the bust. In the 1960s and 1970s chains of 24 to 30 inches were popular as they suited the floaty fashions of the time.
A solid flat metal necklace which has n opening at the back which you place your neck into. These can have pendants or not. A very popular piece of modernist jewelry from the 1960s or 1970s but originally harking back to the medieval or Viking times.
As the name suggests this fills in the entire area where a bib would fit – from the collar bone to above the bust.
A necklace made with equal sized gemstones all the way around. The gems lie flat against the body and give a good show of color – these are designed to show off the stones.
A very long necklace popular during the 1920s where the ends terminate in tassels rather than being joined into a circle. These tassels often hung over the shoulders and down the back when the back of a dress was very low – they helped to fill in the gap.
An enduringly popular form of the necklace is a row of beads on a chain. Of course, there can be multiple rows if you wish. The beads are often glass or semi-precious gemstones polished or faceted. Of course, pearl necklaces are also strung as beads. A special form of the bead necklace is the Torsade which has many strands twisted together.
There must be more typesof necklace lengths and styles, I will add to this list when I remember them. What’s your favorite sort of necklace? For everyday wear, I like a pendant and for dressing up a pearl necklace or a Lavaliere if the occasion demands high glitz. AntiquesAvenue has plenty of unique necklaces for sale from throughout the 1900s. Please do take a look at our selection.