The Complete Guide To Women’s Necklaces


There are a few basic types of necklaces that every woman should know about. Even more than that, there are some very reliable guidelines to know which necklace is right for different outfits and different occasions.

If you’ve ever wondered which necklace you need to complete your jewelry box, or which necklace is right that dress you just bought, this article is for you.

Let’s get started!

guide to women's necklaces cover image

The 6 Main Types of Women’s Necklaces

If you do some searching online, you’ll find nearly endless variation of names for different kinds of necklaces. But most of them come down to these basic six categories.

Choker Necklace

This necklace is defined by its length. A choker, like the name suggests, sits snuggly against the neck like this:

image of woman wearing choker necklace

You’ll find the choker style necklace in every variety from inexpensive alternative material fashion (as shown above), to antique cameos, to fine diamond jewelry.

Tips For Wearing a Choker Necklace

Choker necklaces are typically best worn with clothing that has a low neckline or open collar. If you’re wearing a top with a higher neckline, the choker often doesn’t stand out the way you want it to.

Depending on the material of the necklace, these can be worn as high-end evening wear with a low neckline dress, or as a casual fashion choice with an open collar shirt or low neckline T-shirt.

Rivière Necklace

The rivière necklace is worn close to the neck, but lower than a choker. Rivière necklaces are often synonymous with fine diamonds. If you’ve ever seen a stunning diamond necklace made of graduated or inline diamonds like this:

image of woman wearing a riviere necklace

That’s a diamond rivière necklace. These are also made with a variety of materials and gemstones at varying prices.

Tips For Wearing a Rivière Necklace

Rivière necklaces, especially diamond rivière necklaces, are typically regarded as fine evening wear. These are best worn with v-neckline or strapless dresses or tops. Diamond rivière necklaces in particular are perfect with a simple black dress for an evening out.

Pendant Necklace

This is perhaps the most common type of necklace. Most necklaces sold in jewelry stores are pendant necklaces, like this:

image of woman wearing pendant necklace

Pendant necklaces can be found in many forms and variations, including the “solitaire pendant.” Like a diamond solitaire ring, which is a single diamond in a simple gold mounting, a solitaire pendant is a single stone on a simple chain.

Tips For Wearing a Pendant Necklace

With a shorter chain, many pendant necklaces can be worn similarly to a rivière necklace for special occasions. But pendants can also be worn more casually as an everyday accessory. They can also be worn in combination with other necklaces as an accent in a stacking combination (more on this below).

Simple pendants are one of the most versatile necklaces out there. They can be adapted to a variety of occasions and outfits. Diamond solitaire pendant necklaces in particular are a staple piece that should be in every woman’s jewelry box.

Drop (Y-Shaped) Necklace

These are also referred to as “rosary” necklaces because their basic shape is the same.

image of rosary necklace

But any necklace that has this basic “Y-Shape” falls into the Drop Necklace category. You have the basic loop around your neck with single accent that “drops” down.

Tips For Wearing a Drop (Y-Shaped) Necklace

In a formal setting, these work well with a plunging neckline dress. More casually, you’ll often see these over a T-shirt, over business-casual clothing, or as one element in a collection of stacked necklaces.

The trick with these to do one or the other extreme: Let the necklace stand out against your skin with a plunging neckline, or let it be an accent over your clothing with a round or “crew” neckline.

Using a drop necklace with a medium length v-neck shirt will often result in the necklace disappearing in the v-shape of your neckline.

Stacked or Multi-Strand Necklace

These are commonly seen with a multi-stranded pearl necklace. Recently, the stacked/layered style of wearing necklaces has become more and more popular.

image of woman wearing multi-strand necklace

Tips For Wearing a Stacked or Multi-Strand Necklace

As a general rule, the more “busy” the stacking, the more casual the appearance. There are elegant 2-strand “opera” necklaces… And there are spontaneous necklace combinations you decide to try before walking out the door to run your errands.

In most situations, stacking works best with a casual outfit over a higher neckline.

Remember that your goal in accessorizing is to either compliment what you’re wearing or create interesting contrast…

But you don’t want your necklace and clothing to clash or be competing for space.

Collar Necklace

You may also see these referred to as “bib” necklaces because of the way the necklace covers a large area below the neck.. But whatever the name, this is the basic style:

image of woman wearing collar necklace

Tips For Wearing a Collar Necklace

Collar necklaces tend to be a similar length as a rivière necklaces. The differences with a collar necklace are that they take up more surface area and they tend to be more casual in style.

These are best worn casually with a v-neckline shirt or atop a high-collared shirt. Elegant version of collar necklaces may also be worn with a strapless dress.

Don’t Know What The Different Chain Sizes Mean In Stores?

When you’re out shopping for necklaces, you’ll notice that necklace lengths come in fairly standard sizes. If you’re not totally sure what length is right for you, here’s a length guide from Quality Gold Inc. that is incredibly helpful:

chain length diagram from Quality Gold Inc

The Guide To Women’s Necklaces, Wrap-Up:

One of the great things about jewelry, and fashion in general, is that you can experiment to see what works for you. But it can also be helpful to have a few guidelines to get you started. It’s my hope that this guide will get you started with confidence.

If you get nothing else from this article, I hope you take this away:

In all of your accessorizing, you want to either compliment what you’re wearing (a simple pendant if you want your outfit to be the star), or create contrast (a bold choker with a low neckline).

Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. Most of all… Have fun and love what you wear!