A Guide To Necklace Length

From long statement necklaces to pendants that sit on the breastbone, from elaborate chokers to dainty chains that fall to the collarbone, necklaces come in a variety of lengths. The length you choose will depend very much on your own personal tastes, but there are plenty of questions that are commonly asked about necklace lengths.

Does your face shape impact on length? How do you actually measure the length of a necklace? What are the standard lengths? How can a necklace be adjusted to make it shorter or longer? Read on for the answers...

How Are Necklace Lengths Measured?

Measuring necklace length is simple. Take a ruler or tape measure, unclasp the necklace, and lay it alongside - ensuring that it's completely straight - to measure the length.

Alternatively, if you're looking for a necklace that reaches a particular point on your neck or chest, find a piece of string. Drape this around your neck until it is the length you desire. Cut the string to this length, then lay it straight against a ruler or tape measure to find the length you're looking for.

What Are Standard Necklace Lengths?

Necklace Lengths Guide
Height Typical Necklace Length
Petite Frame (5.2" and shorter) 15"
Teenager (5.3" to 5.5") 15" to 16"
Average Adult (5.3" to 5.7") 17" to 18"
Taller Adult (5.8" to 6.5") 19" to 24"
Designs to drape 25" to 34"

There are various different necklace styles, each of which has its own standard necklace length, as follows:

  • Collar: Fitting tightly around the neck, a collar generally measures 30.5-35.5cm (12-14 inches).
  • Choker: A choker should fit loosely around your neck, near to the base of your throat. Generally, a choker will measure 35.5-40.6cm (14-16 inches).
  • Princess/pendant: Fairly similar to a choker but with a looser feel, princess or pendant necklaces sit at the collarbone. The average pendants length is 43.1-45.7cm (17-18 inches).
  • Matinee: The length of a matinee necklace will depend on where you want it to sit. They can measure anywhere between 50.8 and 60.9cm (20-24 inches), and can sit anywhere between the collarbone and the breastbone.
  • Opera: These long necklaces sit below the bust line. As a result, they are the longest of all necklace types, measuring 72-86.3cm (28-34 inches).

How To Adjust Necklace Length?

The way in which you adjust your necklace length will depend on the type of necklace you have. With a chain necklace, links can be either removed or added to make the necklace the required length.

With strung necklaces, such as pearl necklaces, you may be able to restring the stones onto a longer or shorter wire. However, with other types of necklace - for example, if you're looking to change a diamond necklace length - it is worth asking a jeweller for their views on how best to adjust the necklace length.

What Is A Good Length For A Necklace?

A "good length" for a necklace is a personal choice, and depends on many factors. These include the type of necklace you're wearing, the outfit you're pairing it with, your face shape and many more.

Different styles of necklace have their own optimal lengths, as we've described above. However, it is also worth remembering that every individual is unique, and a necklace that flatters one person may not look quite as perfect on another.

A choker, for example, can look incredible on a neck that is long and thin, but will not flatter a shorter, wider neck in the same way. For the latter, a matinee or opera necklace can help to create the illusion of length. If your neck is wrinkled, you may also find that tighter, shorter necklaces do not flatter: instead, opt for a longer pendant to draw the eye away.

Those with a larger bust may want to check how a necklace sits before choosing one of a longer length. Height is also a consideration: while longer necklaces, like matinee and opera necklaces, can look fantastic on a taller woman, those who are shorter in stature may find collarbone-length necklaces more flattering.

The final thing to consider is your face shape. While oval face shapes can suit any necklace length, those with a rounder face better suit longer necklaces, particularly those with a pendant. Chokers are incredibly flattering for those with a heart-shaped or a longer or rectangular face, helping to balance out the shape of the face.

How To Layer Necklaces That Are The Same Length?

Chain Length

Generally, the rule of thumb when layering necklaces is to choose two or more necklaces that vary in length by at least two inches. By doing so you will avoid the necklaces becoming tangled, and are likely to be more comfortable.

However, it is possible to wear two necklaces of the same length. One option is to buy necklace extenders, which you can attach to the clasps of your existing necklaces. These come in a variety of styles, colours and materials, meaning you should be able to find something that matches your necklace. By extending one necklace and keeping the other as is, you can layer your two favourite pieces of the same length with ease.

Alternatively, there are options if you want to wear two necklaces of the same length without necklace extenders. The first is to choose two necklaces of different weights - for example, one thinner necklace, and one thicker one. By doing so, you'll increase the chance that the two necklaces will remain separated, reducing the risk of them becoming tangled.

The other option is to buy a necklace spacer, or necklace separator. Using one of these will keep your necklaces separate so that they don't become tangled.

Abelini, we offer a choice of three chain link types:

Diamond Chain Type

The Cable Link: the most common jewellery chain, this is available in a wide range of widths and thicknesses. The links are oval-shaped, with an aesthetic not unlike the paper clip chains we all made in primary school. It's durable and versatile and doesn't kink easily.

The Curb Link : another common choice, this chain is similar in construction to the cable link, but the individual links are flatter in appearance. It's another durable chain, but it tends to be considered a more 'masculine' option, so makes a great choice for men's jewellery.

The Spiga Link : also known as the wheat link, this option comes in a range of widths and lengths that never fail to look beautiful. The spiga link achieves a sparkle unlike any other, which differentiates it from the cable and curb link chain. It's another durable option that performs superbly as a gold necklace for women.