All About Necklaces: Fit, Types, Sizes And Fashion

Necklaces are as old as human civilization. Here are some of the more popular necklace forms that are still worn today.

Visit a local shopping mall and take a look at the shoppers who pass by. Chances are a majority of them are sporting a necklace of one kind or another. Men and women, the elderly and the young, sophisticates and the simple and everyone in between wear a variety of necklace-type jewelry.

Some might wear a necklace for its own value, like an heirloom pendant or a locket containing valued photographs. Or a necklace might serve as part of an overall look, like a rope necklace for a casual outfit or a diamond choker for a formal event.

Chances are that several types of necklaces, from playful to professional, have graced your neck over the past several years. Here are some of the more common or popular types of neck jewelry:

1. Chokers. These short pieces fit snugly around the neck to blazon a simple or ornate design. The band may be a basic strip of velvet fabric or a silver piece studded with diamonds. It may contain a filigree design or boast a Gothic style. Even a slender strip of hemp rope can encircle the throat, perhaps dotted with one or several beads of varied colors, to convey a casual look.

2. Dangling chains. Made of silver, stainless steel, gold, or other substances, longer versions may encompass as much as eighteen to twenty-four inches of decoration, with or without additional ornamentation like beads or stones. Shorter necklaces are suspended up to that length, each incorporating an individual style of its own that will appeal to the one who purchases and wears it. Chains can be worn with virtually any type of apparel, from casual to formal, suit or slacks. White or yellow gold are perhaps the most popular styles, with earrings to match.

3. Precious stones. Diamonds, pearls, rubies, emeralds, and garnets are among the valuables used to adorn expensive jewelry. Bought to commemorate special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, or even weddings, these items convey a strong sense of value and affection, and often are kept as keepsakes or passed down to subsequent generations. Matching bracelets and earrings may be purchased simultaneously or separately.

4. Religious emblems. Many people of all faiths or none at all enjoy wearing religious necklaces. The most popular is the Christian cross, which is made in a variety of styles and forms. For example, there is a Byzantine cross, a Gothic cross, and an Orthodox cross, or crucifix. Some display the body of Jesus while others are empty, symbolizing the risen Lord. The crosses can come in a delicate style, made of gold, or they may be large and cumbersome, hammered from heavy metals like bronze or iron. Other popular religious jewelry includes the Jewish Star of David or Islamic Arabic inscriptions.

5. Colorful crafts. Some artsy types enjoy making their own jewelry from beads, glass ornaments, pebbles, or tiny designs that are strung onto a wire or rope. A letter of the person's name suspended from a chain or a loved one's photograph encircled by supportive designs provide alternative styles. You can buy craft kits to experiment with or browse craft-style necklaces at an arts and craft store.

Whatever your jewelry tastes, there are plenty of necklace designs to capture the essence of your style or to enhance a particular look. Shop garage sales, jewelry stores, or department stores to find the best selection.

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