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    

Heavy Vintage 18k Gold Beautiful Natural Green Jadeite Jade Chain Link NecklaceRoberto Coin Diamond 18k Gold Double Circle Pendant Y Necklace NrStunning Multi Coloured Sapphire 18ct Gold NecklaceAntique Victorian Edwardian Sterling Silver Amethyst Lavaliere Pendant NecklaceEstate 1.65 Fancy Yellow & White Diamond Pendant Necklace 18k White Yellow GoldFine Art Nouveau, Moonstone, Ruby, Diamond & Seed Pearl Gold Pendant NecklaceFine Art Deco Opal Gold Pendant NecklaceAntique Victorian Sterling Silver Pink Paste Riviere Foiled Back NecklaceFine Art Nouveau Design Garnet & Seed Pearl Gold & Silver Pendant Necklace24" Double Strand Extra Fine Akoya Cultured Pearl Necklace~14k Gold Flower ClaspEstate 1.30ct Diamond Platinum Pendant Necklace NrVintage 14ct Gold Diamond & Amethyst Stud Earrings & Necklace Pendant Set 1980'sAntique C 1920 Deco 18k Gold 10 Mm Angelskin Coral Bead Chinese Export Necklace!Stunning Art Deco Silver Swallow Pendant NecklaceAntique 37.25" Long Natural Butterscotch Baltic Amber Beaded Necklace 64.8 GramsAntique Chinese Natural Turquoise Bead Necklace Sterling Silver ClaspPearl Necklace With 14k Jade ClaspVintage Amber Necklace 14 K Gold Clasp 10.4mm-11.4mm 21" LongRare Tiffany & Co Elsa Peretti Two Heart Lariat Necklace Sterling Silver 19"Vintage 14k Rose Gold 2.07ct Vs Diamond/ruby/sapphire Butterfly Pendant NecklaceImportant 16.16ct Diamond 18k Gold Drop Pendant Necklace 34.5 Grams NrAntique Art Nouveau Arts & Crafts Sterling Silver Coral Flower Leaf NecklaceAntique C. 1920 Art Deco 14k Gold Carved 7 Mm Cultured Tahitian Pearl Necklace!Natural Old Antique Butterscotch Egg Yolk Baltic Amber Art Dec Necklace 36 GramsArt Deco Sterling Silver Quartz Rock Crystal Pool Of Light NecklaceVintage Sterling Silver & Synthetic Ruby Diamond Bold Statement Necklace Pendant18 Kt Bailey Banks And Biddle Necklace 15.9 Carat Fancy Citrine Fine Victorian Gold NecklaceOrtak Rare Vintage Sterling Silver Ladies Enamel Pendant Necklace E75Antique Vintage Natural Egg Yolk Butterscotch Baltic Amber Necklace Fine Natural Coral Gold Chain NecklaceFine Heavy White Gold NecklaceBeautiful Antique Victorian Sterling Vermeil Bohemian Garnet Star 16" NecklaceFinest Antique Silver Moonstone Cabochon NecklaceAntique C. 1920 Deco 14k Gold Cabochon Cut Blue Sapphire Lavaliere Bug Necklace!37.8ct Calgaro Italian 18k Yellow Gold Mesh & Ruby Necklace 20.0 Grams NrAntique Vintage Victorian Sterling Silver Rollerball Belcher Chain Necklace OldExquisite Antique Victorian Vintage Gold Filled Book Chain NecklaceRare Antique Tiffany & Company - 18k Gold - 46.70 Grams - Woman's NecklaceAntique 26" Long Natural Butterscotch Baltic Amber Beaded Necklace 25 GramsLarge Vintage Real Bluejohn Sterling Silver Mounted Pendant NecklaceUnique Multi Color Tahitian/ South Sea Cultured 32 Pcs 14.3mm Pearl 18" NecklaceAntique C. 1920 Deco 14k Gold Chinese Carved 8 Mm Angelskin Coral Bead Necklace!Vintage Mikimoto Sterling Silver Pearl Necklace 5-3mm Graduated 18.5" JewelryVtg Antique Art Nouveau Wide Pressed Sterling Silver Open Rose Flower NecklaceFine Antique 14k Gold Victorian Pearl Love Knot Heart Brooch Necklace Pendant14k Yellow Gold Art Deco Oval Opal Lavalier Pendant Necklace 16" Long Chain Nr14k Solid Yellow Gold Fine Delicate Link Chain Necklace ~ See Video ~ No ReserveEstate $42500 Certified 14k Yellow Gold 24ct Natural Ruby 2ct Diamond NecklaceVintage Natural Undyed Coral Bead Necklace - 105 Grams, Solid Gold ClaspStunning! 19th Century Natural Coral Necklace - 198 Grams, Solid Gold ClaspFine Art Deco 9ct Gold Rare Vintage Amethyst Pearl Ladies Necklet Necklace E29Fine Baroque Pearl 18ct White NecklaceVintage Estate Jewelry 14k Gold Necklace Chain 16" Long 4 Grams Not Scrap MeltStunning Art Deco Design Emerald & Diamond Gold NecklaceGenuine Natural Undyed Salmon Red Coral Necklace Strang Ca 1860 Wunderful ClaspVintage Necklace Unique Chain Mexico 925 Sterling Silver Heavy Duty Link Nice14k Diamond Pendant Vintage Necklace Fine White Gold Deco Fine Huge 3.55 Carats!Natural Undyed Red Coral Necklace Round Beads Ca. 1870 Wunderful ConditionAntique C. 1920 Deco Old Chinese 14k Gold 7 Mm Blue Lapis Lazuli Bead Necklace!