Worn around the world in every known civilization, necklaces may very well be the oldest form of jewelry. Necklaces and pendants are classic adornments, worn to display gems and other decorations or to add simple elegance to any ensemble. A beautiful chain, pendant, or pearl necklace makes a welcome gift for any occasion.
The most popular necklaces are made from a simple metal chain adorned with a gemstone or metal pendant. More contemporary necklace designs cater to bolder styles and tastes. Below are some of the most common types:
Diamonds are the epitome of glamour and prestige, and a diamond necklace exemplifies tasteful elegance. This necklace style features a line of diamonds that can be flush against one another or set in more elaborate settings. Often worn by celebrities and for formal occasions, a collar-length diamond necklace adds a dramatic finish to a strapless gown. For optimum brilliance and fire, we recommend choosing diamonds that are graded no less than I in color and SI2 in clarity.
Similar in design to the diamond necklace, this necklace style combines colored gemstones with classic diamonds. Some settings alternate diamonds and gemstones, while others may showcase one gemstone more prominently, accented by another precious or semi-precious stone. Birthstone gems are a popular choice for accent stones.
Some of nature’s most luminous gemstones, pearls exude a luxurious, elegant look suitable for any age. The highest quality pearls offer a high luster, symmetrical size, and even coloring along the strand. Pearl necklaces are available in a array of colors and varieties, and can be showcased in a short or long strand.
The ever-popular metal chain is found in a host of styles and link patterns. These necklaces are usually fairly simple, although some feature a charm or clasp design to add visual interest. Metal design necklaces go one step further, with elaborate designs worked into the links of a chain. A much desired gift, gold chains and silver chains are the most popular variations, but these necklaces can also be found in platinum and other metals.
Pendants serve as a single, dazzling highlight to a necklace, with a myriad of designs and sizes available. Below are some of the most popular pendant styles:
A timeless and romantic choice, the solitaire diamond pendant is usually a simple setting that allows the brilliance and beauty of the diamond to take center stage. These pendants can be found in every diamond cut, although the most popular varieties are round, princess, and pear cut diamonds. For maximum impact and visual appeal, choose a solitaire diamond with a grading of at least I in color and SI2 in clarity.
Solitaire pendants can also feature a single pink, white, or black pearl, or a colored stone such as a sapphire, emerald, or ruby. Like the diamond solitaire, these pendants highlight the beauty of the gems, and can be worn with casual or formal attire.
Diamond and gemstone pendants can be simple or elaborate. Three-stone settings can feature diamonds exclusively, or can showcase a center diamond flanked by two sapphires or other gems. Modern and trendy, diamond pendants can feature small stones set into the shape of a circle, heart, star, or even a monogram.
All-metal pendants in silver, white gold, yellow gold, or platinum create a stunning impact as an everyday accessory, with designs ranging from simple to elaborate. Popular styles include heart designs, circular patterns, and monogram initials. To add a personal touch, metal pendants can be easily engraved with a name or a sentimental message.
Chains vary not only by the type of links, but also by their length and how they are meant to be worn. Although you'll find exceptions, most necklaces fall into one of the below categories:
These are meant to be worn just above the collarbones, around the base of the neck. This length emphasizes the shoulders and is well-suited to shirts with high necklines. Chokers are usually 16 inches in length or shorter.
Princess length chains are one of the most popular styles, hanging over the collarbones to display a pendant. These chains are typically 18 inches long.
Also called matinee necklaces, opera length chains are longer and are usually worn over a shirt or blouse with a pendant. Most opera chains are 24 inches in length.
Rope chains can be 30 inches or longer, draping over clothing to create dramatic style. Ropes are usually worn without a pendant, although a shorter version may be adorned with a large, dangling metal or gemstone design. Ropes can be wider chains or they can be fine and very long, worn looped around the neck several times at different lengths.