Types of Necklaces: Comprehensive Visual Guide to 44 Styles

Types of Necklaces

Necklaces, as timeless jewelry pieces, have been adorning human necks for thousands of years. They serve as a form of self-expression and status symbol and enhance the aesthetic appeal of any casual, formal, or festive attire.

Each necklace-type presents a unique style, bearing its charm and history, which has evolved through various cultures and eras. These beautiful accessories come in various forms and designs, from choker necklaces that sit snugly around your neck to opera necklaces that hang down to your chest. Herein, we will embark on an explorative journey through various types of necklaces, illuminating their distinctive features and the beauty they carry.

1. Choker Necklace

Choker Necklace

The Choker Necklace, typically 14 to 16 inches long, sits snugly around the base of the neck. Its history dates back to ancient civilizations, where chokers were crafted from gold or lapis and represented power and divine protection. In the late 19th century, during the Victorian era, chokers gained mainstream popularity and were associated with elegance and high society. However, the late 20th century, particularly the 1990s, saw chokers transform into a symbol of counterculture fashion. Pop culture icons such as Britney Spears and Natalie Portman popularized this trend. In the recent fashion scene, chokers have enjoyed a resurgence, often adorning the necks of celebrities on red carpets.

2. Bib Necklace

Bib Necklace

Deriving its name from its resemblance to a baby’s bib, the Bib Necklace is a statement piece that typically covers a portion of the chest, much like a bib. Though difficult to trace its exact origin, it has been a significant part of tribal jewelry across various cultures, symbolizing status and power. The modern world saw the bib necklace’s popularity rise with the Art Deco movement in the 1920s and 1930s, which favored bold, statement pieces. Anna Wintour, the long-standing editor-in-chief of Vogue, is famous for her signature chunky bib necklaces, which have now become a symbol of high fashion.

3. Matinee Necklace

The Matinee Necklace is versatile, usually 20 to 24 inches long. Its name has an interesting etymology; ‘matinee’ refers to daytime performances in theaters, where ladies used to wear these mid-length necklaces to show off their elegance and wealth. In the modern world, matinee necklaces can complement various outfits, from business suits to dressy wear. The iconic photograph of Marilyn Monroe wearing a string of pearls during her honeymoon in Japan with Joe DiMaggio is a classic representation of a matinee necklace.

4. Opera Necklace

Opera Necklace

An embodiment of sophistication and elegance, the Opera Necklace typically ranges from 28 to 35 inches long. Traditionally, it was a favorite among the high-society women frequenting opera houses in Europe, hence its name. The opera necklace’s length allows it to be worn as a single strand or doubled up, thus offering different style options. One of the most memorable appearances of an opera necklace in pop culture is the diamond and sapphire piece worn by Julia Roberts’ character in the film “Pretty Woman.”

5. Lariat Necklace

Lariat Necklace

The Lariat Necklace, or lasso necklace, is an open-ended necklace without a traditional clasp. Instead, it’s designed to be tied or looped in various ways, offering great versatility. The popularity of lariat necklaces began in the early 20th century, but in the 21st century, they became mainstream fashion accessories. This was largely due to their frequent appearance on the TV show “Sex and the City,” where the character Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, often styled her outfits with a lariat necklace.

6. Rope Necklace

Rope Necklace

Aptly named for its length, the Rope Necklace typically measures over 36 inches, mimicking the cascading fall of a rope. The roots of the rope necklace date back to ancient cultures such as the Egyptians, who utilized them in ceremonial and ritualistic contexts. The rope necklace witnessed a significant resurgence during the flapper era in the 1920s, aligning with the period’s flamboyant fashion tendencies. In more recent history, Madonna wore a gold rope necklace in her “Material Girl” music video, which triggered a widespread fashion trend in the 1980s.

7. Pendant Necklace

Pendant Necklace

One of the most universally recognized styles, the Pendant Necklace is characterized by a singular pendant that hangs from a chain. The history of pendant necklaces extends as far back as the Stone Age when vines were strung with fragments of bone and shell. In modern times, pendants come in various designs, such as crosses, lockets, and gemstone-encrusted amulets, reflecting personal symbolism and taste. An unforgettable pendant necklace in pop culture is the “Heart of the Ocean,” a striking sapphire and diamond piece from the movie “Titanic.”

8. Collar Necklace

Collar Necklac

Also known as a crew necklace, the Collar Necklace fits snugly around the middle of the neck and is usually 12 to 14 inches long. This style dates back to ancient Egypt, where necklaces often made from precious metals and gemstones were worn as status symbols. Collar necklaces were again popularized during the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods in the early 20th century. Notably, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, has been seen wearing collar necklaces on several formal occasions, renewing their popularity in modern fashion.

9. Princess Necklace

Exuding timeless grace and elegance, the Princess Necklace typically measures 17 to 19 inches long. The name reflects its association with royalty, given its preferred use by princesses and queens throughout history. This length is ideal for pendants, allowing them to lie close to the heart. A famous example of a princess necklace is the diamond piece Lady Diana Spencer wore on her wedding day to Prince Charles.

10. Multi-Strand Necklace

Multi-Strand Necklace

The Multi-Strand Necklace creates a layered look with multiple chains, often of varying lengths. This style has been prevalent across cultures and eras due to the texture and volume it offers. Multi-strand necklaces have become synonymous with glamour, particularly with their appearances in Hollywood, such as Vivien Leigh’s multi-strand pearl necklace in the film “Gone with the Wind.”

11. Station Necklace

Station Necklace

Featuring a chain interspersed with stations or intervals of gemstones or beads, the Station Necklace originates in the early 20th century. The jewelry brand Tiffany & Co. revitalized this style in the 1980s with their “diamonds by the yard” necklace. Celebrities such as Elle Macpherson and Jennifer Aniston have embraced the station necklace’s simplicity and elegance, further popularizing this classic piece.

12. Torsade Necklace

Torsade Necklace

The Torsade Necklace is a distinctive piece that consists of multiple strands twisted together, creating a rope-like appearance. The word “torsade” comes from the French “tourner,” meaning to twist. This style became popular during the costume jewelry boom in the 20th century when it was often made with strands of faux pearls or glass beads. A popular fashion trend from the 80s, these necklaces often adorned the necks of fashion icons like Princess Diana.

13. Rivière Necklace

Riviere Necklace

The Rivière Necklace is an epitome of elegance, traditionally composed of a single strand of gemstones or diamonds that gradually increase in size from the back to the front. The name ‘rivière’ is derived from the French word for ‘river,’ alluding to how these necklaces flow around the neck. This necklace style emerged during the Georgian era (1714-1837) and remains a staple at formal events. A famous Rivière necklace is the stunning diamond piece worn by Audrey Hepburn in the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

14. Sautoir Necklace

A favorite of the Roaring Twenties, the Sautoir Necklace is long, often ending in tassels or pendants. Traditionally, these necklaces were made of delicate chains and pearls and draped down the back to complement the flapper dresses of the era. While their popularity waned in the mid-20th century, they’ve seen a resurgence recently. Coco Chanel’s signature pearl piece was an iconic sautoir, which she often paired with her monochromatic outfits.

15. Herringbone Necklace

Herringbone Necklace

The Herringbone Necklace gets its name from the intricate, flat, woven pattern that resembles the skeleton of a herring fish. This necklace style can be traced back to ancient Egyptian times when it was crafted in precious metals and worn as a sign of wealth and status. Herringbone necklaces enjoyed popularity in the 1970s and 1980s and are now returning in fashion.

16. Chain Necklace

The Chain Necklace is a staple of jewelry collections, appreciated for its simplicity and versatility. Its history dates back to ancient civilizations like the Egyptians and Romans, where chains were a popular form of jewelry. Today, chains can be found in various styles, such as the box, cable, curb, and Figaro, each offering a distinct look. An iconic pop culture reference is the chunky gold chain necklace often worn by rapper and actor LL Cool J.

17. Beaded Necklace

Beaded necklaces are among the earliest forms of jewelry, dating back to prehistoric times when they were made from naturally occurring materials like bone, stone, and shell. Beaded Necklaces come in various styles, from simple strands of pearls to intricate patterns of handcrafted beads. The use of beads allows for a wide range of colors and designs, making this type of necklace a versatile and popular choice. One of the most memorable beaded necklaces in popular culture is the one Mr. T. wore in “The A-Team” television series.

18. Pearl Necklace

Pearl Necklace

The classic Pearl Necklace has a history as rich as the gem itself. For centuries, pearls have been highly valued for their natural beauty, making them a staple in royal and high society wardrobes. These necklaces typically come in various lengths, including choker, princess, and opera. A fun fact about pearls is the famous quote from actress Grace Kelly, who stated, “I favor pearls on screen and in my private life.”

19. Y-Necklace

Y Necklace

The Y-Necklace, named for its shape, has a long dangling portion that hangs down from the main chain, forming a ‘Y.’ This necklace style gained popularity in the 1920s, as it paired well with the era’s plunging necklines. In contemporary fashion, Y-necklaces have made a comeback, seen on both runways and red carpets. Actress Jennifer Lawrence wore a stunning diamond Y-necklace backward at the 2013 Academy Awards, causing a trend in backward-worn necklaces.

20. Ballerina Necklace

Ballerina Necklace

The Ballerina Necklace is a pendant necklace with a design resembling a ballet dancer, usually made with precious gemstones. The popularity of these necklaces soared in the 1940s and 1950s, during the golden age of ballet. The most famous Ballerina necklace was perhaps the Van Cleef & Arpels ruby and diamond necklace owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post, which she donated to the Smithsonian.

21. Festoon Necklace

Derived from the French word ‘feston,’ which means garland, the Festoon Necklace consists of chains or beads draped in a swag design. This necklace design dates back to ancient Greece and was particularly popular in the Georgian and Victorian eras. It has appeared in various films and TV shows, including “Downton Abbey,” where Lady Mary Crawley wears a diamond festoon necklace at her wedding.

22. Dog Collar Necklace

The Dog Collar Necklace, a choker, was a favored accessory during the Edwardian era. Typically, these necklaces were made of multiple rows of pearls or diamonds. The name comes from Alexandra of Denmark, who popularized the style and wore it to hide a scar on her neck. She loved dogs, hence the term “dog collar.” These necklaces have significantly returned in recent years, spotted on celebrities like Rihanna and Kendall Jenner.

23. Statement Necklace

Statement Necklace

As the name suggests, a Statement Necklace is meant to make a statement. Bold, chunky, and often adorned with colorful gemstones or intricate designs, this type of necklace became popular during the Art Deco period of the 1920s and 30s. It regained popularity in the 21st century, with high-end designers and high-street brands incorporating them into their collections. Famous actress and fashion icon Sarah Jessica Parker has often been seen wearing statement necklaces on the red carpet, further popularizing this style.

24. Torc Necklace

The Torc Necklace, a rigid piece made from twisted metal, dates back to the Iron Age and was widely used by the Celts and Vikings. It was often considered a symbol of nobility and high social status. In the modern era, fashion houses like Alexander McQueen have drawn inspiration from this historical design, reviving it with a contemporary twist.

25. Negligee Necklace

The Negligee Necklace is characterized by its asymmetrical design, with two drops of unequal length hanging from the central piece. It became popular in the Edwardian era, often associated with the casual and unstructured negligee dress. Interestingly, this necklace style was a favorite of the striking and unconventional Marchesa Luisa Casati, an Italian heiress and art patroness.

26. Religious Necklace

Religious Necklaces are steeped in symbolism and personal meaning, often featuring icons, saints, or symbols associated with various faiths. Cross necklaces, for example, are a cornerstone of Christian-themed jewelry. The history of wearing religious symbols can be traced back to ancient civilizations and remains popular today. An interesting fact is Madonna’s rosary necklace in the 80s, which sparked a widespread trend and stirred up controversy.

27. Bar Necklace

Bar Necklace

Minimalistic and sleek, the Bar Necklace is a contemporary design featuring a horizontal bar pendant. It’s a favorite among modern jewelry designers and is often used as a canvas for personalization, such as name engravings or birthstones. Popular among celebrities like Taylor Swift and Reese Witherspoon, this necklace style has become a staple in everyday jewelry.

28. Infinity Necklace

Symbolizing eternity and everlasting love, the Infinity Necklace features a pendant shaped like the mathematical symbol for infinity (∞). This contemporary design gained popularity in the late 20th century and is often gifted between loved ones. Actress Kristen Stewart was spotted wearing an infinity necklace given by her co-star Robert Pattinson during the “Twilight” series filming, leading to its increased popularity among fans.

29. Birthstone Necklace

A Birthstone Necklace typically features a gemstone representing the wearer’s birth month. The tradition of birthstones can be traced back to ancient civilizations, but it was in 1912 that the modern list was standardized by the National Association of Jewelers in the USA. These necklaces remain a popular choice for personal and meaningful gifts. An interesting tidbit is that pop singer Katy Perry was spotted wearing a pink necklace with a ruby, her July birthstone.

30. Heart Necklace

Perhaps one of the most enduring symbols in jewelry, the Heart Necklace represents love and affection. The tradition of gifting heart-shaped jewelry dates back to the Middle Ages, but during the Victorian era, heart necklaces truly flourished. An iconic heart necklace in popular culture is the “Heart of the Ocean” from the movie “Titanic.”

31. Solitaire Necklace

A Solitaire Necklace is elegant in its simplicity, featuring a single diamond or gemstone on a simple chain. These necklaces gained popularity during the diamond rush in the late 19th century and have since been a classic symbol of refinement and elegance. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow famously wore a Harry Winston diamond solitaire necklace to the 1999 Academy Awards, setting a trend for minimalistic diamond jewelry.

32. Name Necklace

Name Necklace

The Name Necklace has become a modern icon thanks to its personal touch. This necklace style features the wearer’s name as the main pendant and gained popularity in the 1980s, particularly among urban and hip-hop communities. The trend went mainstream when Carrie Bradshaw, the lead character in “Sex and the City,” wore a name necklace throughout the series.

33. Locket Necklace

With roots in the Victorian era, the Locket Necklace features a small, often heart-shaped pendant that reveals a space for storing a small keepsake or photograph. During the Victorian and Edwardian eras, these lockets often contained portraits or locks of hair. Today, they are cherished as sentimental pieces that hold personal mementos. In the “Harry Potter” series, a locket that was a significant part of the plot became popular among fans.

Types of Necklace Chart

34. Mesh Necklace

The Mesh Necklace is made from intricately woven metal links and is known for its flexible, fabric-like structure. This style emerged in the 1940s and peaked in popularity in the 1970s. One of the most iconic mesh necklaces is the gold “bib” necklace worn by actress and Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly.

35. Medical Alert Necklace

Unlike the others on this list, the Medical Alert Necklace is less about fashion and more about function. These necklaces carry crucial medical information about the wearer, such as allergies or chronic conditions, and can be instrumental in emergencies. The concept was popularized in the early 1950s by MedicAlert Foundation International.

36. Slave Necklace

Historically, the term “slave necklace” referred to necklaces that featured attached rings or bracelets. In contemporary jewelry, however, the term is avoided due to its negative historical connotations, and similar designs are often called “hand chain necklaces” or “ring bracelets.” A fun fact: Jennifer Aniston wore a hand chain necklace in the movie “Along Came Polly,” sparking a trend for this unique style.

37. Graduated Necklace

A Graduated Necklace features beads or stones that increase in size from the back to the front of the necklace. This design commonly uses Pearls, creating a classic and sophisticated look. The popularity of graduated necklaces surged in the 1950s and ’60s and remains a classic style today. Marilyn Monroe was gifted a gorgeous strand of graduated pearls by her husband, Joe DiMaggio, which later sold at auction for a staggering amount.

38. Plastron Necklace

A Plastron Necklace, also known as a bib or collar necklace, covers a large portion of the chest, resembling a plastron – the front part of a turtle’s shell. These statement pieces are often ornately designed and made a huge comeback on fashion runways in the 2010s. Iconic French fashion designer Coco Chanel was known for her love of plastron necklaces, often pairing them with her signature suits.

39. Illusion Necklace

An Illusion Necklace is a dainty piece featuring small beads or gemstones spaced along a thin, often transparent, wire, creating the “illusion” that they are floating on the wearer’s neck. This design became popular in the 2000s for its minimalistic and delicate aesthetic. Actress Anne Hathaway wore a diamond illusion necklace at the 2011 Academy Awards, contributing to the style’s popularity.

40. Thread Necklace

A Thread Necklace consists of a thread, usually made of silk or cotton, strung with beads, pendants, or precious stones. This necklace style is particularly popular in Indian jewelry traditions and is often worn with traditional attire. Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra has been spotted wearing thread necklaces several times, highlighting their versatility and beauty.

41. Monogram Necklace

The Monogram Necklace features one to three initials of the wearer’s name, making it a highly personalized piece of jewelry. These necklaces became a hot trend in the 2000s, further popularized by celebrities like Taylor Swift. This style offers a unique way to express personal identity or to keep the initials of loved ones close to your heart.

42. Cross Necklace

A Cross Necklace is a religious piece of jewelry that typically signifies Christian faith, featuring a cross or crucifix pendant. The practice of wearing cross necklaces dates back to the 4th century AD. Today, these necklaces are worn by many as a symbol of faith or fashion. Popstar Madonna has famously worn cross necklaces throughout her career, becoming a symbol of her controversial blend of religion and sexuality.

43. Coin Necklace

The Coin Necklace, featuring one or more coin pendants, can be traced back to ancient times when wearing coins was considered a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Today, these necklaces come in many styles, from ancient coin replicas to contemporary designs. Celebrities like Gigi Hadid and Kate Moss have been spotted wearing coin necklaces, boosting their popularity in modern fashion.

44. Diamond Necklace

A Diamond Necklace is the epitome of luxury and elegance, featuring diamonds as the main attraction. The use of diamonds in jewelry dates back thousands of years, but in the 19th century, with the discovery of diamond mines in South Africa, these necklaces became more accessible. Elizabeth Taylor famously owned the ‘Taylor-Burton diamond necklace, a stunning piece featuring a 69.42-carat pear-shaped diamond, making headlines worldwide.

Wrapping things up, the necklace universe is as vast and colorful as the stories and traditions behind them. Every necklace tells its tale from the simple elegance of a bar necklace to the dazzling brilliance of a diamond piece. They’re not just fashion statements but symbols of our beliefs, elegant finishing touches to our outfits, and timeless art pieces. As styles change and evolve, these necklaces will always testify to our history, uniqueness, and appreciation for beauty and skill. And remember, a necklace isn’t just a piece of jewelry—it’s a story waiting to be shared, a memory to hold onto, or a badge of who you are.

Interested in more? Discover the intricate world of necklace chains with our guide on 59 types of necklace chains. It’s a fascinating journey you won’t want to miss!