Necklaces have been a part of human adornment for thousands of years. It’s thought that the 1st necklaces date back to the dawn of civilisation, and were most commonly made of shells and stones. Beaded necklaces have been found in prehistoric grave sites around the world, and the ancient Egyptians created beads from glass, pottery and other materials.
The words ‘necklace’ and ‘pendant’ are often used interchangeably, but they mean quite different things. A necklace is an unbroken length of material, often precious metal chain, while a pendant is a charm which hangs from a necklace. Here we’ll cover the 10 most popular types of necklaces right now, including:
Possibly the most popular types of necklace, and very ‘on trend’ right now. Chains are made from a series of links, usually made of precious metal. Each link could be the same size, creating a uniform and timeless chain, or could be formed of varying shaped and sized links creating a more modern and contemporary look. No matter the construction, this simple necklace design is a timeless classic.
How to Style a Chain Necklace
This timeless item is one of the most versatile types of necklaces you can find. They come in a wide range of different metals like sterling silver, gold, rose gold and platinum which make them perfect for many different coloured outfits.
Chain necklaces work well with both formal and casual outfits. A lightweight chain necklace would perfectly compliment an evening gown and bring a hint of class to an outfit, while a chunkier or irregular chain necklace would bring a casual summer dress to life. Plus chain necklaces can be added to with the addition of a pendant, bringing even more versatility to your investment! And chains are also perfect for layering. Read our article to learn How to Layer Jewellery Like a Pro.
We recommend investing in a few different types of chain necklace with varying colours and weights. Over time, and with careful selection, you'll be sure to have a chain necklace to match every outfit and occasion.
Another popular necklace type is the choker. This type of necklace has a snug fit around your neck and is shorter than the average necklace length. Chokers are made from a wide range of different materials like chain, material and even leather. They can be relatively plain in design or can come adorned with gemstones and charms, so there’s lots of variety to pick from. No matter the design, this edgy necklace will help you stand out.
How to Style a Choker Necklace
This striking piece is a fun addition to your jewellery box. They come in a wide range of different materials like sterling silver, gold, material thread and leather which make them perfect for a range of different outfits and occasions.
Choker necklaces work best with casual outfits. A lightweight choker necklace would perfectly compliment a t-shirt and jeans look, while a chunkier material choker necklace would bring a pop of colour to a casual summer ensemble. And chokers are perfect for layering with other necklaces of varying lengths. Read our article to learn about the other types of Staple Jewellery Pieces You Should Own.
We recommend being playful with choker necklaces. Experiment with different colours and designs like charm or gemstone chokers. There’s no wrong answers here, just make sure that the neckline of your top or dress doesn’t clash with your necklace – ideally, you want a nice gap between your choker and other clothing.
Chunky necklaces are bold and unapologetic, and will be sure to help turn heads. Made of chunky materials or chains, they often feature interesting patterns, textures or forms. These necklaces definitely demand attention and steal the show.
How to Style Chunky Necklaces
Chunky necklaces are a total show stopper and can be worn alone confidently, with no other jewellery. They come in a wide range of different metals like sterling silver, gold and rose gold and materials like beads and thread which make them perfect for lots of outfits.
Chunky necklaces work well when you're getting all dressed up for a night out. With so much beautiful metal and material, they catch the light well, bringing drama and finesse to your outfit as you're dancing the night away under the glitz and glamour of the lights!
We recommend not holding back when selecting your chunky necklaces. Don't be scared of playing on the edge of your comfort zone - more is more with these. Our only word of warning is to make sure that your chunky necklace is the main focal point. Your clothing should take a back seat here, and your neckline should compliment the necklace, either sitting higher than the necklace, or lower so that the necklace sits directly against your skin. Avoid tops and dresses which sit at the same height as your necklace as they’ll both be competing for attention and your necklace could end up slipping slightly behind your garment.
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Long necklaces are a beautifully elegant neck adornment. They’re most commonly made of chains with small links of uniformed sizing. They come in a range of different metals and often feature a striking pendant. This simple necklace design will add a touch of timeless elegance to any outfit.
How to Style Long Necklaces
This necklace is one of the classiest types you can find. They come in a wide range of different metals like sterling silver, gold and rose gold which make them perfect for many different coloured outfits.
Long necklaces work perfectly with formal outfits. They compliment an evening gown and bring a hint of class. If you have a backless dress or gown, you could even experiment with wearing a long necklace with the pendant hanging down your back so it fills the space and gives a more contemporary look. For a more casual look, you could layer your long necklace with other shorter pieces, and don’t be afraid of playing with different coloured metals. Read our article to learn about Gold or Silver Jewellery? What You Should Wear.
We recommend starting by investing in a striking long necklace with an interesting pendant in a metal colour that you’re comfortable with. Once it’s time to broaden your collection, you can then branch out with varying lengths, colours and designs.
Similar to chunky necklaces, statement necklaces pack a punch. Made of many different types of materials from chains to leather, they feature interesting and stand out forms, patterns and textures. They can be versatile and work in lots of situations and settings.
How to Style Statement Necklaces
Statement necklaces are great worn alone with confidence or with other jewellery. If you’re wanting to combine different pieces of jewellery, use a statement piece as the focal point, and other more understated pieces alongside the central piece – this will ensure that there aren’t too many elements competing for the limelight.
Statement necklaces come in a wide range of different metals like sterling silver, gold and rose gold and materials like gemstones, beads and thread which make them perfect for lots of different types of outfits. Statement necklaces work well for a night out or a more formal occasion when paired with a simple outfit, like the classic little black dress.
Have fun with statement necklaces. Whether worn alone, or as part of a jewellery collection, make sure that your necklace is the main focal point. Your clothing should take a back seat and consider your neckline to ensure it complements the necklace length. For statement jewellery inspiration, check out our Contemporary Handmade Jewellery.
What's more classic than a pearl necklace? Whether done traditionally or with a contemporary twist, you can't go far wrong with a string of pearls. And they’re very ‘in’ right now, so you’ll be bang on trend!
How to Style Pearl Necklaces
This classic piece will always be a firm favourite for us. There are now many different types of pearls to pick from, freshwater, akoya and tahitian to name a few. They come in a range of beautiful colours so can be the perfect addition to lots of different outfit colours and styles.
Pearl necklaces work well with formal outfits like an evening gown, but can be dressed down too for a casual and elegant look, like an understated shirt and trousers outfit. Simple in design, they help to bring your outfit together and give a sense of finesse.
We recommend investing in a good quality ethically sourced pearl necklace which will last many lifetimes. They are perfect heirloom pieces which can be passed down to future generations in your family, so do some research into pearls to make sure you make the most of your investment. The only thing to consider is that it’s a good idea to restring your pearls if they get loose after lots of wears.
Find out more about Ethical Handmade Jewellery.
Pendant necklaces are a very popular piece to have as part of your jewellery collection. Pendant necklaces are usually made of chain and feature a single charm laced onto it. They’re often made of precious metals and come in a wide range of different designs, styles and lengths. No matter the construction and design, they’re some of the most popular and versatile pieces on the market.
How to Style Pendant Necklaces
This versatile necklace will slot into so many looks, it’s a must have. They come in a wide range of different metals like sterling silver, gold, rose gold and platinum which make them perfect for many different coloured outfits.
Pendant necklaces work well with both formal and casual outfits, so don’t be scared of playing around with different ideas. A lightweight chain necklace would perfectly compliment an evening outfit or a more formal work look, while a chunkier or unusual pendant necklace could elevate both casual and formal ensembles. And pendants on chains are also perfect for layering, so there’s so much space for creativity.
We recommend investing in a few different types of pendant necklaces, from short and dainty, to longer show stoppers. With careful selection, you'll be sure to have a pendant necklace to match every outfit and occasion. And our advice would be to research ethical materials to ensure you’re having the lowest impact on our environment. For inspiration, check out our Ethical Necklaces, Ethically Sourced Earrings, Ethical Bracelets and Ethically Sourced Rings.
Lockets are a popular heirloom keepsake and often come strung onto necklace chains. They can open into two different halves and can contain portraits of loved ones or other small objects of significance, such as locks of hair, ashes or baby teeth. People often commission necklace lockets at the death of a loved one or pet and these pieces then become heirlooms over time, to help keep the memory of the person or pet close to the wearer of the jewellery. To learn more, read our Expert Guide on Heirloom Jewellery.
How to Style Locket Necklaces
Locket necklaces are often understated in design and will slot into so many looks, while keeping the memory of your loved one close to your heart. They come in a wide range of different metals like sterling silver, gold and rose gold so they’re an ideal accompaniment to lots of different style outfits.
Locket necklaces work well with both formal and casual outfits but are usually worn as an everyday item. Whether lightweight or more substantial, locket necklaces can help elevate any ensembles and add a subtle glint to your overall outfit. Lockets on chains are also great layered with other necklace chains, so can fit in around other items.
We recommend asking your close family members if there are any heirloom lockets gathering dust in a jewellery box somewhere. If not, we think it’s worth investing in one and starting a family tradition for your loved ones.
We love charm necklaces here at Duxford Studios HQ. Made up of a simple chain, the heroes of this item are the charms which are connected to different links along the chain. Again, these are fantastic heirloom pieces, and can tell the story of a person or family as new charms can be added over many years.
How to Style Charm Necklaces
This piece is one of the most interesting types of necklaces you can select as they change and develop over time. They're usually made of sterling silver, but can come in other metals like gold, rose gold and platinum.
Charm bracelets work well with more casual outfits as they're quite busy but can also be worn in formal settings, if paired with simple outfits like a plain block-coloured gown. They are the perfect piece to wear for a special occasion as they usually have sentimental importance and can be a reminder of important people who are no longer with the wearer.
If there isn't a charm necklace in your family, we highly recommend investing in a classic silver or gold chain and starting to build one – it’s a really fun process and the future generations in your family will love learning about the journey the necklace has been on, and all the stories that are remembered when talking about each charm. Over time, you can add to it and create a story of your life, the places you've visited and the milestones you've celebrated.
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Collar necklaces are eye-catching and quite unique. They differ from chokers as they sit just below the neckline, often on the collarbone whereas chokers sit on the neckline above the collarbone. They can be made of all sorts of materials and are often chunkier in design. They can be sleek or can feature interesting patterns, textures or forms. These necklaces definitely demand attention and will help you stand out.
A classic example of a collar necklace.
How to Style Collar Necklaces
Collar necklaces are stand-out and can be worn alone confidently, with no other jewellery. If being paired with earrings, we would opt for an understated stud or huggie as both pieces are worn quite close together and you don’t want the collar necklace and earrings to be fighting for the limelight. Read our article to learn about The Different Types of Earrings and How to Wear Them.
These necklaces come in a wide range of different metals like sterling silver, gold and rose gold and materials like beads and gemstones too, so there are plenty of different styles to pick from to make sure you have the perfect complement to your outfit.
Collar necklaces work well for lots of different occasions, they’re a great all-rounder. They definitely come to life when worn with lower necklines like scoop necks, off-the-shoulders and strapless as the space between the necklace and the garment allows the necklace to shine. We recommend trying on different types of collar necklaces with a low neckline so you can see how they look with your outfit and skin tone, this will ensure that you find one that suits you perfectly.
Duxford Studios creates ethical handmade jewellery inspired by the human form, modern culture, and the sensation of touch. All of our pieces are cast from hand carved wax in recycled sustainable sterling silver, gold vermeil, and other precious metals. Shop our full collection on our website or get in contact about a custom jewellery design commission. Need help choosing a piece? Read our full guide on what to look for when buying jewellery on our blog page.