Necklaces are stunning additions to any wardrobe, with trends and styles that are continually evolving. From traditional pendant necklaces to more modern necklace chains, you can find a necklace for every type of style and occasion. Our necklace styles guide will provide you with tips on buying a necklace, as well as insight into the different necklace lengths, pendants, and chain types.

Types of Necklaces

Necklaces can be worn every day or reserved for special occasions, depending on their design. You can find a selection of different necklaces at James Allen and Blue Nile, ranging from elegant diamond necklaces to thin dainty necklaces with pendants. They also offer personalized necklaces and can design a custom necklace according to your specifications. But with so many unique necklaces to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start.

 Find out more about the various necklace lengths, pendant styles, and chain types below so that you can make an informed buyer’s decision.


Pendant Styles

A pendant necklace features a small piece of jewelry suspended from a single strand or chain, usually by a small loop or jump ring. Diamond solitaire pendants are a popular choice, but so are pendants set with birthstones and other colored gems. A pendant necklace, therefore, makes an ideal gift for loved ones on birthdays and anniversaries.

Chains for pendant necklaces range from simple silver or gold chains to thick interwoven strands that pair well with chunkier pendants. Thus, a pendant necklace offers the wearer versatility and can be a stunning accent on its own or layered with other pendants.

Pearl necklaces

Pearl Strands 

A pearl necklace is always a classic and timeless choice. Pearl necklaces feature single or multiple rows of pearls, either uniform in size or graduated. Pearl necklaces are the epitome of class and are associated with old-world status and prestige. They are the perfect match for a little black dress or a nice accent for office wear.



A chain necklace consists of a series of metal links. Perfect on their own or with a pendant, chain necklaces come in a variety of different styles, metals, lengths, and widths.

Link, princess necklace

Similar to chains, link necklaces are made up of interconnected metal links. However, the links on a link necklace tend to be much larger and may feature non-metal accents.

Collar necklaces, princess necklaces

Collar Necklaces

The collar necklace is a wide style of necklace that lies flat over the collar bone or the base of the neck. This type of necklace often takes the place of a collar on a shirt (hence the name) and can instantly transform a casual outfit into something a bit more formal.

choker necklace, princess necklaces

Choker Necklaces

A choker necklace is characterized by its short length, which allows it to wrap closely around the neck. Similar to a collar necklace, these types of necklaces are a great accent to high-collared tops and dresses.


Tennis Necklace

Like a tennis bracelet, a tennis necklace features a continuous and complete strand of diamonds or gemstones encircling the entire neckline. The diamonds in a tennis necklace are generally uniform in size, but they can be large or small, depending on the design. Due to their glamorous appeal, tennis necklaces are one of the most popular styles for diamond necklaces.

Riviera, bead necklaces

Riviera Necklace

The Riviera necklace is another style of diamond necklace that features a single strand of diamonds or gemstones. However, unlike the tennis necklace, this type of necklace features stones that are graduated in size, from the largest in the front center to the smallest in the back.


Bar Necklace

A bar necklace consists of a horizontal metal bar joined by a matching chain on either side. They are custom necklaces because the bar pendant can be engraved with a name, date, or message with special significance to the wearer. Thus, they make excellent gifts for commemorating special milestones and events such as anniversaries or birthdays.

Necklace Lengths

Necklaces come in a variety of lengths. Some lengths are typical for a specific style and wear well with a particular neckline. For example, chokers are characterized by their short length that pairs well with open collar shirts, while longer necklaces are better suited to turtlenecks and high-collar dresses. Use our necklace length guide below to help you find the right necklace length for any outfit or occasion.

Collar Length

Collar necklace chains sit just above the collarbone.

Princess Length

Princess-length necklaces sit at or just below the collarbone and are an ideal length for an elegant diamond necklace or a chain with a solitaire pendant.

Choker Length

Choker necklace chains sit at the hollow of the neckline just above the collarbone.

Rope Length

Necklaces that are longer than the opera length are known as rope-length necklaces.

Opera Length

Typically, opera-length necklaces sit on the breastbone. This length can be worn as a single or double-strand necklace with one longer and one shorter strand for a tiered look.

Matinee Length

Matinee necklaces sit well below the average neckline, making them excellent for layering with shorter necklace lengths.

Chain Types

Besides the various styles and lengths, necklaces also come in a wide variety of chains. We will explore the different types of chains below.

necklace buying guide
Cable Chain

Cable chains are a common style of chain necklace made from a series of identical oval links. Cable chains look great with pendants and work well as the foundation chain for a charm necklace.

Omega Chain

Omega chains consist of flat metal plates connected to a wire inside the chain. The underlying structure of this chain can kink and bend easily, making them less durable than most other types of chains. Therefore, they are not recommended for long necklaces and are typically worn as chokers.

Snake Chain

Snake chains are made up of a sequence of small, tightly woven rings or plates that form a smooth, sleek chain. These look good on their own as gold chains but can also be paired with pendants.

Flat Link Chain

Flat link chains are made up of basic round links that have been hammered flat.

Box Chain

Box chains consist of a series of cubed links. This style of chain is popular for men and women and can be worn with or without a pendant.

Ball Chain

Ball chains consist of a strand of round metal beads or balls that are fixed along the chain. They are sometimes worn with pendants but are typically seen without them.

Wheat Chain

Wheat chains consist of twisted oval links in a plait formation, giving them durability and strength

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I layer my necklaces?

If you’re planning to layer your necklaces, we suggest that you wear at least three at a time and that these feature different lengths and thicknesses. However, it is a good idea to stick to one type of metal and only layer three gold necklaces, for example. You could also consider wearing one with a pendant if you want to add some color or variety. If you’re looking for an easy way to achieve a layered look, some necklaces are already tiered and feature several chains and pendants. They also have one clasp, meaning you only have to put on one accessory instead of several.

How should I store my necklaces?

There are several ways that you can store necklaces with the ideal method being to keep them in the box in which they were purchased. Alternatively, you buy a jewelry organizer, or a cheaper option would be to hang them from a key holder which could be above your dresser. Other options include hanging over teacups and or feeding them through a plastic straw. If possible, it’s best to keep necklaces stretch out to prevent the links from getting tangled.

How do I clean a silver necklace?

One of the most effective ways to clean a silver necklace is with half a cup of white vinegar and two tablespoons of baking soda. Leave the necklace to soak in the mixture for two to three hours, then rinse under cold water and allow to air dry. Alternatively, you can soak the necklace in warm water with some mild dish soap for ten minutes and then gently scrub it with a soft brush. Afterward, rinse and dry the necklace with a soft microfiber cloth. While both of these methods will work well for tarnished silver, you may want to use silver cleaner for antique pieces to protect their finish.

How do I measure a necklace’s length?

Start by unclasping the chain and laying it flat and straight on a solid surface such as a table. Then, using a tape measure or a ruler, measure the length of the chain in inches, excluding any pendant. In addition to necklace length, you may want to determine your neck size, which can be measured by gently placing a tape measure around the neck. To ensure that the necklace will sit comfortably, add four inches to your neck measurement.

How much is a 14k gold necklace worth?

A 14k gold necklace weighs approximately 20 grams, depending on its length and the type of chain. To find the value of the gold according to its weight, you will need to find the daily price of gold and then calculate how much 20 grams is worth on that particular day. You then reduce this price by 20 or 30% to account for the impurities. However, this only gives you an estimate of the value of the gold itself; the value of the necklace may be more depending on the craftsmanship and intricacy of the design, including the artisans who created it.

How long should a necklace chain be?

A good rule of thumb is to add around four inches to your neck measurement to ensure a comfortable fit for a necklace chain. This is generally a good length for a pendant necklace, but you can go longer or shorter depending on the necklace style you want and the outfit you’re planning to wear with it.

What is the most popular necklace style?

Trendy necklaces, like birthstone necklaces, make great gifts but are not as timeless as, say, diamond necklaces. Thus, certain styles of necklaces are an excellent idea to invest in because of their enduring popularity. Some of these include diamond solitaire pendants, classic chains, and strands of pearls (which also make great jewelry gifts for milestone birthdays and anniversaries, by the way!).

How do I choose a necklace?

Buying a necklace can be tricky, whether for yourself or as a gift for a loved one. Our necklace guide above will help you buy a necklace by providing tips for selecting the correct style, length, and chain.

Should I get a 16 or 18 inch necklace?

The most common chain length for a woman is 18 inches. This length sits elegantly on the collarbone. However, a 16-inch chain may be more suitable for slightly higher necklines.

How to shorten a necklace?

You can shorten a necklace by taking it to a jeweler and requesting that they remove some of the links.

What necklace length is best?

When buying a necklace, it is important to think about the length of the chain. To find out which size will suit you best, consider such features as your neck, height, body type, and face shape. You can even consider your clothes if you’re looking for something for a specific occasion.

Should you wear necklaces with matching earrings?

There are no hard and fast rules for wearing matching earrings and necklaces. While some people like to wear matching jewelry sets, others consider this old-fashioned and prefer to mix their jewelry pieces instead. Ultimately, it all depends on your style and the occasion.