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How to Measure Necklace Length

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Multiple different length necklaces on a mannequin

How do you know what necklace length (or lengths) to focus on when you’re shopping for a chain, a strand of pearls, or a pendant? A necklace that hits at your collarbone, just below, or even longer can accentuate your best features—and elevate whatever you happen to be wearing. 

The goal is to choose a necklace length that is in proportion to your neck size; a necklace that is too tight, or swings too long, can be cumbersome—and potentially quite uncomfortable. And that discomfort could mean that a new necklace sits in your jewelry box, unworn for eternity. 

Ahead, we’ll show you how to measure your ideal necklace length at home and share a guide on the variety of lengths. In other words, you can use this guide to navigate the long and short of it—and everything in between.

 

What Are the Most Common Necklace Lengths?

Before you start measuring necklace lengths, let’s review the standard necklace lengths you are likely to encounter and where they are most likely to fall on a person’s body.

It might be helpful to keep in mind that 18 inches is considered the most popular necklace length for women, as close to universally flattering as it gets. As for men, the most common necklace length is 20 inches, ideally hitting at or around the collarbone area.  

Meanwhile, longer necklace lengths (22 inches and longer) are great on their own but perfect for layering with other necklace styles.

 

Necklace Length Guide

Women’s necklaces come in even-inch chain lengths ranging from 14 to 36 inches. Whether you fancy a snug choker, a simple solitaire pendant on a delicate chain, or a long, swingy sautoir that can be doubled up, there’s no shortage of options to choose from. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of necklace lengths and how they fit.

 

14-inch necklace length 

Style Name: Choker (there are styles shorter than 14 inches but they fit higher up on the neck, like a dog collar)  

Fit: Hugs the neck tightly (or very tightly)

 

16-inch necklace length 

Style Name: Choker 

Fit: Sits at the base of the neck, just above, or right at, the collarbone

 

18-inch necklace length 

Style Name: Princess or Standard

Fit: Falls just below the collarbone

 

20-inch necklace length 

Style Name: Matinee 

Fit: Falls a few inches between the collarbone and bust 

 

22-inch necklace length 

Style Name: Matinee 

Fit: Falls a few inches below the collarbone and bust 

 

24-inch necklace length  

Style Name: Matinee 

Fit: Falls a bit longer than the collarbone and closer to the bust

 

30-inch necklace length

Style Name: Opera 

Fit: Falls at the bust or an inch or two lower

 

36-inch necklace length

Style Name: Rope or Sautoir

Fit: Falls below the bustline, extending down to the navel

 

How to Measure Necklace Length at Home

Now that you’re more familiar with the standard necklace lengths available, you’re ready to determine the necklace length that is going to look best. Here are three simple methods to try at home. 

 

Measure the length of a necklace you already own

Let’s say you already own a necklace but don’t know what length it is. But you do know that you like where it falls. When shopping for a new necklace, you can use the existing necklace’s length as a guide. To measure:

  1. Unhook the clasp of your necklace and lay it on a flat surface.  
  2. Tug each end of the chain to make sure it’s fully outstretched and straight.  
  3. Use a tape measurer or yardstick to measure the entire chain— including the clasp. 
  4. Note the length in inches; round up to the next inch if you get a measurement that isn’t a precise number.  
  5. Add a new necklace to the cart accordingly!

 

Create a mock necklace using a tape measurer or piece of string

  1. Wrap a soft tape measure (i.e., the one that’s like a ribbon) or piece of string around your neck as if you were putting on a necklace (it’s helpful to stand in front of the mirror while doing this).
  2. Adjust it to your desired length. 
  3. Keep your finger on the spot where the two points meet. 
  4. Unwrap the tape or string while keeping your finger on the mark. 
  5. Note the length; if you’re using string, measure the length of the string using a ruler or tape measure.  

 

Measure the circumference of the base of your neck

  1. Wrap a soft tape measure around the base of your neck. 
  2. Note the inch mark where the long end intersects.
  3. Adjust to any of the standard necklace lengths for a visual on how they will look; slide on one of your existing pendants, or a ring if you don’t have one handy, to further assess how short or long you want to go.

When you find the perfect necklace, make sure it’s protected by obtaining personal jewelry insurance through Jewelers Mutual. It’s an affordable option that covers loss, damage, and disappearances. You can check your rate by clicking the button below.  

 

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About Jewelers Mutual Group

Jewelers Mutual was founded in 1913 by a group of Wisconsin jewelers to meet their unique insurance needs. Later, consumers began putting their trust in Jewelers Mutual to protect their jewelry and the special memories each piece holds. Today, Jewelers Mutual continues to support and move the industry forward by listening to jewelers and consumers and offering products and services to meet their evolving needs. Beyond insurance, Jewelers Mutual’s powerful suite of innovative solutions and digital technology offerings help jewelers strengthen and grow their businesses, mitigate risk, and bring them closer to their customers. The Group insurers’ strong financial position is reflected in their 37 consecutive “A+ Superior” ratings from AM Best Company, as of November 2023. Policyholders of the Group insurers are members of Jewelers Mutual Holding Company. Jewelers Mutual is headquartered in Neenah, Wisconsin, with other Group offices in Dallas, Texas and Miami, Florida. To learn more, visit JewelersMutual.com.