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Chain Length Necklace Length Pendants

Necklace Sizing Guide

Necklaces and pendants are a beautiful and focal form of personal expression. They gently hug the wearer’s neckline or gracefully slide down to accessorize an outfit that accentuates ones features with every move! An often overlooked detail in style choice is necklace length. Here we will discuss the options to consider in this guide to choosing the right chain length, but first, let’s look at some Glossary Terms in the necklace size guide below. Did you know that words like “choker,” or “opera length” have specific measurements?


Chain Length

Where it falls on Body


Collar: Wraps around neck


Choker or Bib: Against base of throat or neck


Princess: By collarbone (most common standard length)


Matinee: Falls along neckline: From collarbone to top of bust


Opera: On or slightly below bust line


Rope: Doubles or wraps to sit at or below bust line

Using a soft measuring tape is the fastest and most accurate way to measure your neck, but if you don’t have one, you can use a ribbon and mark where the ends meet as your guide. Make sure not to measure it too tightly, but just snug enough so it doesn’t slide. Measure towards the base of the neck. The average American woman’s neck size is 13 to 14 inches, so take that into consideration when identifying where a chain may fall on you.  Let’s look at some tips and tricks for finding a length that fits you and your personal style!


Factors to Consider

The most accurate way to see if a chain or pendant length is a good fit for you is to try them on in front of a mirror. Nelson Coleman carries dozens of chains in stock for you to try on.

Here are some common factors what will help determine which chain length is best suited for you.

Size of Pendant: The pendant is the slide that goes on the chain. The necklace is the resulting combination of a chain and pendant OR a single piece with the pendant attached at one or two points. Some pendants are dainty and appropriate for smaller chains. But some pendants are heavy, chunky, long or bold and require a thicker or longer chain.

Face Shape: Round, fuller faces pair well with longer chains while square jaws, heart shaped and diamond shaped faces benefit from a 14-to-18-inch chain.

Neck Size: Larger necks need to adjust for length. A 16” choker becomes a collar, an 18” Princess becomes a choker, and so on.

Body Type: Long Neck? Short Neck? Broad Shoulders? Large Bust? All of these things play into consideration when choosing the right size necklace, so don’t assume what looks good on someone else will wear the same on you, or that something that appears a bad fit may not work for you.

Outfit: Probably one of the most important of all the factors are the outfit and neckline you will wear with your necklace. Take a look at the pendant and chain sizing guide below.

Necklines and Necklace Length

Choosing Necklace Size

As you can see, necklaces come in many different lengths. Choosing the perfect chain length is dependent on what you plan to wear it with, facial structure, neck size and more.  So, what are your options?

Adjustable Length Chains

A popular way to make your chain multi-task for you is to purchase an adjustable length chain, because this allows you to choose the appropriate length depending on your outfit of the day. There are two kinds of adjustable chains: those with jump rings and those with sliding (or bolo style) chains. Necklaces with jump rings have small rings located at various stations at the end of the chain, and are usually one to two inches apart. The downside of this is that the adjustments are fixed to where the rings are located. The second kind of adjustable chain is a slide or bolo style which benefits the wearer because the chain can be adjusted to multiple lengths with precision—the possibilities are endless. However, slide or bolo chains use a rubber stopper that may wear out over time, or come out entirely if pulled too hard.

Chain Extenders

What if you already have plenty of chains, but still crave some versatility? Ask your jeweler about a chain extender. They come in all metal finishes, varying chain types and clasps and can be easily ordered by your jeweler to match your chain.

Special Order Desired Length

We have discussed how varied and personal choosing a necklace or chain length can be. No jeweler could carry every combination of length, clasp, metal, finish, thickness or links because the options are too numerous. Fortunately, these variations can be ordered for you at no additional charge, and usually with expedient delivery.

You never knew there was so much to choosing the right chain length, did you? As they say, knowledge is power, and now you have the tools to make the best choice for you!

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