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  • Necklace Lengths: How to Find the Right Size and Style

    March 18, 2021 8 min read

    Wearing multiple different length necklaces

    The right necklace length can help flatter your natural shape, enhance features you want to accentuate, or distract from areas you’d like to minimize. Your necklace should complement you by showing off your shape, personality, and style. Whether shopping for yourself or a significant other, finding the most flattering necklace size shows that you have great taste and care about personal appearance. Our necklace size chart and style tips can help you decide which of our one-of-a-kind pieces will show you off best. 

    Necklace Length Chart

    Necklace Length Inches Necklace Length Centimeters Necklace Style
    14 in 35 cm Choker
    16 in 40 cm Collar
    18 in 45 cm Princess
    20--24 in 50--60 cm Matinee
    36+ in 90+ cm Rope


    Necklace lengths explained

    • 14 inch necklace: the choker clasps tightly around the neck and looks best with an open neckline. The funky, plastic necklaces of the 90s may come to mind when you picture a choker, but choker necklaces existed well before then and can be elegant additions to your jewelry collection. They draw attention to the neck and look best on a long and slender neck. 
    • 16 inch necklace: the collar is often confused with the choker, and there are different opinions over which is longer. In fine jewelry, the collar rests on the collar bone, and the choker hugs the neck. Collar necklaces look great with open necklines, especially off-the-shoulder-tops since the necklace is level with the tops of the shoulders. 
    • 18 inch necklace: the princess is the average necklace length for a woman. It looks good with anything or on anyone. If you’re shopping for someone else and unsure of which necklace to buy, you can’t go wrong with an 18 inch necklace. 
    • 20--24 inch necklace: the matinee sits in the center of the bust and is perfect for layering with a casual look. Like the princess length, the matinee looks great on most people. Women with a fuller bust, however, should note that a matinee-length necklace will emphasize the area.
    • 36+ inch necklace: the rope, or opera length necklace, can be even longer than 36 inches. Think flapper jewelry. It can be wrapped or knotted to shorten the length or create a focal point. The longer the necklace, the more elegant the look. Rope necklace lengths work best with evening wear, or layered with shorter, similar necklaces. 

    How to choose the right necklace length

    To choose the perfect necklace, you’ll need to take your measurement and match it to the necklace size chart, consider how you want to style it, choose a necklace style, make your selection, and then show it off. In our collections, you’ll find many necklaces with adjustable clasps, giving you several styling options within the same necklace. We’ll guide you through the process to make sure you’re pleased with your choice. 

    How to measure necklace length

    What you will need:

    • Soft measuring tape
    • Ribbon, string, or your favorite necklace or top
    • Marker

    You have a few options on how to measure necklace length.  

    1. Take a string or ribbon and drape and tie it exactly where you want your necklace to lie. Then, mark the length with a marker and measure the length. 
    2. If you already have a favorite necklace that suits you, simply unfasten it and measure from one end to the other. 
    3. If you want a necklace that complements a particular outfit, put on the top or dress and use the string to see what looks best and the measuring tape to find the size. 

    Men’s necklace lengths

    Finding the right necklace chain size for men versus women requires different tactics. Men have wider necks and a larger Adam's apple, so their necklace measurements are slightly different. Men should first measure their necks and then add two inches to determine the shortest comfortable necklace. 

    • 18 in (45cm): This length is uncomfortable for men with wider necks. It often fits young men best but is not suitable for a pendant. 
    • 20 in (50cm): This length touches the collar bone and is the shortest pendant size. 
    • 24 in (60 cm): This length looks nice with or without a pendant, over or under the shirt. 
    • 30+ in (76 cm): Pendants do not work well with a necklace this long. 

    Comfort and personal style are the two most significant deciding factors for men’s chain lengths. The collar or the occasion may also influence a man’s necklace purchase. Shorter necklaces look better with a collar and longer, without. If worn to a formal occasion, the necklace should also be a shorter length. 

    How to style your necklace by length

    You can use necklace length to your advantage! Believe it or not, a necklace can correct a neckline and transform an outfit. Remember the general rule of thumb--longer necklaces lengthen and shorter necklaces minimize length. Here are five things to consider when styling your necklace:

    1. Face shape

    An oval face is versatile and can pull off any length necklace. Long or rectangular faces look best with shorter necklaces, while round faces look best with longer necklaces. But “longer” is relative. For example, if you have a round face, short torso, and wide chest, then an opera necklace would be overwhelming. Your best option would be a princess or matinee length. Heart-shaped faces look great with short necklaces that don’t lengthen the chin. 

    2. Body type

    Long matinee and opera necklaces lie nicely on tall or slender women. A longer length will also make a wide neck look slimmer. A choker does not suit short necks; they look best in a necklace that falls below the collar bone to extend the neckline. Also, consider your curves--if you want to enhance them, a necklace that falls at the rib cage to accentuate the waistline will do the trick. Princess or collar-length statement necklaces look great on plus-size women who want to draw attention upward to the face. Long necklaces may also be a nice choice for someone curvy since it lengthens the torso. 

    3. Occasion

    Types of stones, as well as their color and construction, are most significant when choosing the right necklace for an occasion, but length is also important. Usually, the longer the necklace, the more elegant it looks.

    4. Clothing

    You probably know a choker does not look best with a turtleneck, but some wardrobe choices aren’t as intuitive. 14-16 inch necklaces look best with an open neckline, whether a V-neck, scoop-neck, or off-the-shoulder. For higher necklines, choose longer necklace lengths. If you want to add pizzazz to an oversized tee, go for a mid to long necklace to add a crease and create shape. You can also layer necklaces to create dimension. 

    5. Hairstyle

    A hairstyle can adjust face shape. If you’re wearing an up-do, pay special attention to necklaces that suit your face since your face shape will be prominent. If you are bustier but have long hair and are wearing it down, you may look great in a necklace that touches the bustline that otherwise might be more difficult to pull off. 

    Necklace Styles 

    Necklace styles allow you to customize or adjust necklace length. Before or after choosing a style, be sure to consider which type of chain you prefer. 
    Most common necklace chains:

    • Cable is either made of ovals linked in a chain or twisted metal.
    • Rolo is similar to a cable chain but is made of round links.
    • Curb is also similar to a cable, but the links are pressed to lie flat against the body. 
    • Figaro is also like a cable but is in a pattern of an oval link followed by a few round links. 
    • Snake is a solid chain, simple but classy. 
    • String of stones or beads completely hides the chain underneath, which is typically a snake or other smooth chain. 

    Choosing a necklace style 

    Certain necklace styles give you the chance to change up your style, add flair, or adjust necklace length. 
    Choose a long necklace to knot or wrap for adjustable length.

    Long Necklace Styles:

    • Sautoir or lariat: These are both long matinee or opera styles. The sautoir is a string of beads, often with no clasp, that you slip over your head. It can be wrapped to create layers or knotted. The lariat is an unattached string that can be wrapped around the neck like a thin scarf and adjusted at the center. 

    Spinel Gold Necklace
    Pictured: Our Spinel and Gold Necklace with a beaded chain in sautoir style
    Black & Gold Avalon Lariat Necklace
    Pictured lariat sample: Black and Gold Avalon Wrap Necklace
    Choose a necklace with accents for heightened drama or a little extra length.

    Mid-Length Necklace Styles:

    • Bib: If you choose a bib style, it will be the centerpiece of your ensemble. It’s a bib full of gems or other accents on a short to mid-length chain. Pair it with simple jewelry and wear on formal occasions. 

    7 Stick Lolite Necklace
    Pictured: Our 7 Stick Iolite Necklace with a curbed chain in bib style

    • Fringe: The fringe style is dramatic just like the bib. It resembles a beaded or bedazzled curtain that hangs from a collar necklace. 

    Mamma Jamma with Diamond

    Choose a necklace with multiple strands for layering.

    Layering Necklaces & Multi-Strand Necklaces:

    • Riviere: This style is a single strand of matching or multi-colored gemstones. 

    14k Gold Ruby Necklace
    Pictured: Our 14k Gold and Ruby Necklace with a rolo chain in riviere style

    • Bayadere or torsade: The bayadere are two strands of pearls, twisted or braided. It comes in any length. The torsade is also named for twisted strands of beads or pearls, but it includes many strands twisted and connected with a clasp. 

    Coin pearl wrapped necklace
    Pictured: the Coin Pearl Wrap Necklace with a beaded chain in bayadere style

    • Multi-strand: Multi-strand necklaces have layers of stones or beads or snake chains. 

    Multi-Strand Emerald Necklace
    Pictured: Our Multi Strand Emerald Necklace with a beaded chain 
    Silver spinel and baroque Pearl
    Pictured: Our Silver Spinel and Baroque Pearl Necklace with a beaded chain and pendant 
    Mixed Metal Long Bead
    Pictured: Triple-strand Mixed Metal Long Bead Necklace with a rolo chain 
    Choose multiple necklaces for layering.
    If you have multiple necklaces that complement each other, you can layer them. Just make sure the chains are the same style and that pendant shapes don’t clash. Also, avoid creating too many necklines by sticking to two or three different lengths. 
    Personalize with a pendant necklace for extra length and a unique touch.

    Pendant Necklaces:

    Pendant necklaces range from delicate to dramatic and encompass many different necklace styles. Choosing a pendant can save a boring look, show off your unique personality, smarten up a casual outfit, and adjust necklace length. 
    Elements Pendant
    Pictured: Our Element Pendant with a rolo chain.

    • Lavalier: a chain necklace with a large pendant 

    Circle of Fire - Blue Sapphire Bolo
    Pictured: Our Circle of Fire–Silver Blue Sapphire Bolo Pendant with a rope chain in lavalier style

    • Festoon: chains of beads draped in different layers, often joined to a central pendant
    • Negligee: pendants dangling from a central metal bar

    3 Stone Petal Pendant - gold
    Pictured: Our 3 Stone Petal Pendant

    • Book chain: a chain with large metal links, often with a pendant or beads hanging from the chain

    Blue Topaz & Sapphire Slice pendant on large link chain
    Pictured: Our Blue Topaz Sapphire Slice and Topaz Pendant
    Once you’ve determined the perfect necklace length for your style, shop our signature collection for a unique piece that speaks to you.
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