Necklaces are among the oldest forms of fine jewelry, in no small part because the bead was one of the first objects whose sole purpose was adornment. Early necklaces were strung with beads made out of shells, obsidian, and rocks like carnelian, garnet, and lapis lazuli. Gold was also fashioned into beads for necklaces, and gold wire was wrapped into decorative spirals. In addition to found and mined materials, necklaces also supported glass and ceramic pieces.

While necklaces vary wildly depending on their materials, artistry, and ornamentation, there can be categorized by their construction and length. Open-ended necklaces, which are often strung with beads or tassels, do not have a clasp; instead, their ends are tied together. Chokers fit tightly around the neck and range from 14 inches to 16 inches long. Princess necklaces, the classic string of pearls, are 18 inches long. Matinee necklaces are longer (about 22 inches) while opera necklaces run from 30 to 35 inches long. Necklaces more than 40 inches long are referred to as ropes.

While beads and other objects are often strung on lengths of twine and thread, chains made of metals such as silver are also used. Sometimes lengths of silver links are left unadorned, but more often they are punctuated by beads and pendants, whose shapes often repeat, frequently in graduated sizes. Necklaces can have single or multiple strands of chain.

Some of the most famous necklaces are the ones worn by royalty and movie stars, for whom money was no object. For example, the Duchess of Windsor was a very good client of Cartier in Paris, which made ruby-and-diamond necklaces for her, as well as rich strands dripping with emeralds and bib necklaces weighed down by diamonds and amethysts. Joan Crawford, who was also known for her fondness for costume jewelry, fancied pearls, while Merle Oberon made a Van Cleef & Arpels necklace of graduated turquoise (each stone was surrounded by a ring of diamonds) famous in the movie “Hotel.”


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

All About Jewels Dictionary

All About Jewels Dictionary

This incredible reference dictionary on jewelry, from Enchantedlearning.com, is both beautiful and comprehensive. S… [read review or visit site]

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Jewelry collectors, feast your eyes on this internet gem! It's a goldmine of jewelry information featuring all styl… [read review or visit site]

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

With its vast galleries featuring clear images of jewelry and style, this site really covers it all! Divided up by … [read review or visit site]

Jewel History

Jewel History

Since March of 2007, readers of Lori Ettlinger Gross’s JewelHistory blog have been treated to her weekly (sometim… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Art Deco Era 1.00ctw Old European Cut Diamond Platinum Pendant Necklace SetFine Victorian Art Nouveau 18k Gold Seed Pearl & Garnet Pendant Necklace,boxedFine Art Deco Two Row Cultured Pearl Necklace With A 3.2ct Diamond 18k ClaspAntique Baltic Amber Butterscotch Honey Egg Yolk Bead Necklace 24.6 Grams 18.5"Fine Heavy Pearl And 112.5 Carat Diamond 18ct White Gold Pendant NecklaceVintage Diamond 29.98ct Green Emerald 18k Gold Necklace 50.6 Grams NrStunning 40 Point Diamond 18ct White Gold Pendant NecklaceAntique Natural Butterscotch Egg Yolk Amber Beads Necklace 14k Gold 46g BalticBeautiful Antique Edwardian Art Nouveau 9 Ct Gold Pendant NecklaceGia 17.87 Ct Flawless Natural Tanzanite Diamond 14k White Gold Pendant NecklaceArt Deco 5.05c European Navette Emerald Diamond Platinum Floral Pendant NecklaceFine Heavy Gold NecklaceFine Art Deco Ruby, Diamond And Opal 18ct White Gold Cluster Pendant Necklace4.10ct Diamond Ruby Seed Pearl 18k Gold Bow Pendant Necklace 61.1 Grams Nr35 Gram Antique Genuine Natural Salmon Red Coral Necklace With Coral PendantVan Cleef Arpels Vintage Alhambra 10 Motif Turquoise 18k Wg Necklace42 Gram Antique Genuine Natural Salmon Red Coral NecklaceVintage Georg Jensen Sterling Silver #15 Necklace Bracelet & Earrings Set David Yurman PavEstate 1.75 Cttw Diamond Platinum Teardrop Pendant Chain Necklace NrLe Vian 3.25ctw Quartz Chocolate Vanilla Diamond 14k Rose Gold Necklace PendantAntique Natural Butterscotch Egg Yolk Amber Beads Necklace 14k Gold 34g BalticAntique Victorian Estate Sterling Silver Genuine Bohemian Garnet Necklace 925 NrEstate 8.50 Mm Natural South Sea Tahitian Pearl 14k White Necklace Salt WaterFine 14k Gold 48 Point Diamond Cluster Necklace1970's 14k Yellow Gold Green Jadeite Necklace Chinese Character Bracelet & RingEstate 14k Gold Graduated Bead Necklace 13.9 Grams Nr88.8 Gram Antique Genuine Natural Salmon Red Coral Necklace46,2 Gr. Very Fine Genuine Natural Undyed Salmon Red Coral Necklace 2 X StrandFine Heavy Antique Rope Twist 18ct Gold Necklace136gram Vintage Genuine Natural  coral Necklace Collection Six NecklacesAntique C. 1920 Deco 10k Yellow Gold 7.25 Ct Topaz Lavaliere Necklace Pendant!Fine Sterling Silver Tribal Coral, Turquoise And Lapiz Lazuli Necklace Vintage Baltic Amber Butterscotch Beads Necklace 62.5g. 87cm.!!!!!!Effy 1.33ct Natural Diamond 14k Rose Gold Jardin Collection Pendant Necklace SetAntique Victorian Bohemian Garnet NecklaceAntique Natural Baltic Amber Butterscotch Egg Yolk Beaded Necklace Choker 17"Fine Emerald And Diamond 18ct Gold Pendant Knot Design NecklaceAntique .585 14ct White Gold Huge Onyx & Pearl Cross Pendant Necklace - Xx H39Vintage 14k Solid White Gold Diamond Cross Pendant Necklace .20cttw @ G, Vs2 NrAntique Vintage Victorian Art Nouveau Gold Peridot Lavaliere Necklace Pendant UkVintage Edwardian Platinum & 14k White Gold Diamond Necklace Pendant 1.50cttw NrFine Victorian Gold Necklace72,6 Gr. Very Fine Genuine Natural Undyed Red Coral Necklace14ct. 1 X StrandVintage/antique Real Egg Yolk Amber NecklaceFine Heavy Victorian Gold NecklaceVery Rare Unusual Exceptional Antique Art Nouveau Long Pinchbeck Gold NecklaceBeautiful 7.5mm Very High Luster Rosy Pink Pearl Necklace 14k Gold Clasp 18"14k Diamond Pendant Vintage Necklace Victorian Rose Gold Antique 4.50 Carats!!Estate Italian 14k Gold Rope Long Chain Necklace 45.4 Grams 33 Inch Long NrVictorian Silver Suffragette Suite Comprising Necklace Earrinsg Brooch C 1900Antique C. 1920 Deco 10k Gold Blue Kyanite Filigree Lavaliere Necklace Pendant!Old Vintage 26g Big Sterling Silver Ball 6 Photo Locket Pendant & Chain NecklaceDesigner Vahan 14k Yellow Gold Choker Necklace 77.4 Grams NrDiamond 27.80ct Blue Topaz 7mm Pearl 18k Gold Pendant Necklace 50.7 Grams NrAntique Baltic Amber Butterscotch Beads Necklace 42.1g. 46cm.!!!!!!1977 Vintage 9ct Solid Gold Curb Link Necklace Chain 24" Long - 10.1gramsStunning, Heavy 81.2g Sterling Silver Multi Chain Collier, Necklace, Italy 1980sVintage Gilded Solid Silver Cherubs With Paste Gems Bohemian Necklace #c60Fine Genuine Natural Undyed Salmon Coral 14 K Gold Necklace Beads 26,6 Gr.