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Necklace & Chain Lengths

chain length necklacesWhat is the best necklace length? Will you need a 40cm chain, a 90cm chain, or something in between?  Choosing the right chain is not just about the length.  The same chain will look different on different people depending on their size, height and weight, and the thickness of the chain. 

The following simple guidelines make choosing the perfect chain easier.


Choosing a Necklace Length for Yourself

If you are choosing a necklace for yourself the easiest way to determine the length you would like is with a piece of cord or string around the same width as the necklace you like.  Simply place the string around your neck until it sits at the desired length and measure that length. 

Shorter chains are most often used for smaller pendants and longer chains are for bigger pendants but there really are no rules and you can create your own look to suit your jewellery and clothing style.

Necklace Lengths for Children

children's necklacesUsually a 40cm chain will fit a younger child and a 45cm chain is suitable for an older child just depending on the child's size.  Children's necklaces don't often come much smaller than 38cm as necklaces can be troublesome for very young children.

Young children should always be supervised when wearing any jewellery and should never sleep in necklaces at any age.



Necklace Lengths for Women

necklace chains for womenThe most popular lengths for women's necklaces and chains are between 45cm and 65cm. Longer chains are also very popular, especially worn with feature pendants.

If you are threading a pendant or locket on a chain you will need to check that the width of the chain will fit through the bail or pendant loop on the top of the pendant.  Bails can usually be easily replaced so if you find a lovely thick chain you can always have a jeweller put a wider bail on the pendant.  You'll find more information about the different lengths and styles below. 


Necklace Lengths for Men

ball chains for men or womenWhen choosing a chain for a boy or man it is particularly important to consider the wearer's height and neck width.  The most popular lengths for men are between 55cm and 65cm but some shorter men can still have thicker necks.  Some men also prefer a chain that is long enough to tuck under their clothes, especially for sentimental or keepsake jewellery.


Necklace Length Styles

The lengths given for the popular styles below will vary for shorter or taller wearers.

chain lengths for necklaces
  • COLLAR necklaces 30-40cm are very short and sit around the neck. Collars are often made with ribbon, cord or several strands of beads to sit comfortably.
  • CHOKER & SHORT necklaces 40-45cm sit at the base of the throat and look great with just about any neckline but particularly off the shoulder clothes.
  • PRINCESS necklaces 45-50cm are the most popular for everyday wear and for displaying pendants or crosses. These chains sit just above the bust line and look great with plunging necklines or with crew or high necklines. 
  • MATINEE necklaces 60cm sit just below the bust line but can be worn in a similar way to the Princess necklaces, particularly over thicker jumpers. Beaded necklaces are usually around a matinee length. 
  • OPERA necklaces 70-90cm  are very stylish and are usually worn by people who aren't carrying babies or working in the garden! This length looks great with a collection of pendants or large pendants, Opera length necklaces sit around the waistline in a single strand but can also be doubled over and worn as a choker. 
  • LARIAT or ROPE necklaces are 90cm or longer and are usually worn knotted or wrapped around several times.  Traditionally very long chains were also used as muff chains to keep hand-warming muffs in place. 

belcher chain YSome chains such as the Belcher Chains can be fastened at any point along the links and worn at different lengths or with a long tail as a Y Necklace.

If you would like any advice about necklace lengths please feel free to contact your giddy aunts - we're always happy to help.


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