What is a Necklace?

A necklace is a style of jewellery that is typically worn around your neck. Necklaces are used to decorate the décolletage of the user and can be a number of different styles such as a simple flexible chain or a string entirely made up of beads, pendants added to simple necklace chains are very popular too. Whilst necklaces can be made in many different colours and materials the most popular long-lasting luxury necklaces commonly use gold to make classic gold necklaces, silver for more everyday silver Necklaces and more recently rose gold necklaces have become popular.

Necklaces are one the most popular style of jewellery because of their ability to be so easy to wear and also can transform an outfit. The necklace has a lot of symbolic meanings whether it is religious reasons, good luck superstitious necklaces or just important gifts. Necklaces also can be a sign of wealth when a precious stone is used for example diamond necklaces are one of the most sort after items amongst the wealthy thanks to their classic, always in style, effortlessly elegant look.

Amongst the different variations on materials used for necklaces there is also many different types such as short Necklaces, medium necklaces and long necklaces.

The History and Origin of the Necklace

The first Necklace ever made featured local everyday materials that people would’ve come across such as shells and even teeth and bone fragments. The necklace was quickly adopted by many and interpreted in many different ways to best reflect a certain tribe and their beliefs. Perhaps the earliest style of necklace and one that is still seen today is the pendant Necklace. Around 1800-1500BC the ancient celtic necklace was first created. The celtic necklace was made of twisted metal and featured an engraved crescent shaped pendant.

Two of the most iconic styles of necklace is the diamond necklace and the classic pearl necklace. The diamond necklace has long been seen as one of the most sought-after pieces of jewellery whilst the pearl necklace was first seen in ancient Rome. The pearl Necklace was a style favoured by elegant upper-class women such as Queen Elizabeth I. The pearl necklace has the ability to turn any outfit elegant and is a popular work choice necklace or even a wedding necklace.

In the 18th century the necklace was worn by upper class women who would match the Necklace design to their other jewellery accessories such as their broach, earrings and even a tiara if they were extremely important such as the Queen. Until the 20th century only the most wealthy people could afford jewellery because they were always made out of precious stones and the highest quality materials such as gold necklaces, silver necklaces, diamond necklaces, pearl necklaces, sapphire necklaces, ruby necklaces and rose gold necklaces. They were also really intricately designed with higher necklines and were mainly worn as evening wear accessories to big balls that were held frequently. Then in the 20th century jewellery was made to be more affordable through the use of different materials such as metal coated jewellery and plastic. Not only were necklaces made more affordable, but they were now being worn as everyday necklaces and more casual Necklace styles.

Global Trends of Necklaces

When necklaces grew in popularity each country would do their own take and different styles then emerged with clear region influences. For example, in ancient Rome, classic metal necklaces were popular which was vastly different to the beaded necklaces seen in ancient Egypt. In Ancient Egypt the necklaces were the most colourful and intricate with hundreds of beads being layered which created intricate collars, the beaded necklaces were so beautiful you could refer to them as pieces of art.

It wasn’t until the early renaissance period that necklaces for women really took off and they began overtaking broaches, which were once a women’s, go to accessory.

Necklaces trends and outfit trends often impact each other, for example when low v dresses were the most popular style the necklace that best suited such a dress was a long necklace or a long-gathered necklace. Whereas when the neckline was high, this is where choker fashion emerged.

Necklaces for Men were worn to symbolise status, the most decorated and ornate would signal that that man was the leader of the tribe or was the wealthiest.

The History and Origin of the Necklace

Since the inception of the Necklace it was instantly adopted by religious figures such as cardinals, Roman Catholics and Bishops. These religious necklaces would be very elaborately decorated with expensive gems and high-quality necklace chains, most depending on the religion would feature a hanging pendant of a cross. The cross necklace is a very popular style and even as a gift many cross necklaces are given at holy communions and christenings.

There are different styles of cross Necklaces which are worn by different people to symbolise different religious meanings. For example, the crucifix is commonly worn by Priests and the crucifix necklace is often ordained with gems to show respect for God. The traditional christening and holy communion styled cross necklace is the gold cross necklace. In the 20th century there was a trend on crosses and suddenly cross necklaces were being worn by people for style rather than religious reason.

Other types of personal pendants that might be worn to signify religious affiliation include the Roman Catholic saints' medals, the Jewish Star of David, the Islamic Hand of Fatima, the Hindu Om mantra symbol, or the phylactery or amulet case worn in Jewish, Islamic, and Tibetan Buddhist religions.

The Different Necklace Lengths for Women

  • Collar: When the necklaces were first invented it was originally known as a collar. As more styles were created the collar necklace because a short style necklace that sits just about the collarbone.

  • Choker: The Choker is a style of necklace that continuously comes back in trend and is adapted to suit the moment. Materials such as velvet chokers, lace chokers, beaded chokers or ribbon chokers are used to keep the choker a favourite amongst the fashionistas. In the 90s the diamond choker and the pearl choker were the necklace of the moment.

  • Princess: The princess necklace is the term used to describe the over the top beautiful precious gem encrusted necklaces that sit just below the collarbone and often have a pendant drop. The Princess Necklace is often saved for formal occasions due to the precious gems that are used it is also a sign of status and wealth.

  • Opera: The Opera style necklace is a long necklace style and lie just below the wearers bust. The Opera necklace perfectly suits almost every necklace making it very easy to wear. You can also pair the opera necklace with the matinee necklace to create a beautiful layered necklace look.

  • Rope: Another term for the rope necklace is the lariat necklace and also sometimes is referred to as the Y necklace due to the shape. The extremely long necklace style doesn’t feature a clasp and can be played right over the consumers head. The robe necklace can be worn with any neckline but particularly suits the turtleneck.

The Different Necklace Lengths for Men

There is both Necklaces for women and necklaces for men and whilst anyone can wear any style there are some necklace lengths that are more popular with men. A popular necklace style for men is the classic gold chain. Amongst the hip-hop culture necklaces worn by men are often encrusted with the most expensive gems, diamond chain necklaces for men are very popular and are used as a sign of wealth and a symbol of making it.

Popular Necklace Styles

  • Bib Necklace: The bib necklace is one of the first style of necklaces, the bib necklace was the length of the princess necklace style and had a wide front that would sit below the consumers neckline. Often the bib necklaces were very ornately decorated with pearls and precious beads.

  • Festoon Necklace: Festoon Necklace styles have a draping style, they feautre gemstones and pearls which hang off of a delicate chain. The Festoon Necklace was popular in Victorian times.

  • Graduated Necklace: The Graduated Necklace is filled with various sizes of different beads with the chunkiest bead being place in the middle of the necklace and graduating to the smallest around the clasp.

  • Lavaliere Necklace: This is a very feminine style of necklace, which has a very delicate chain and then a large focal pendant which sits at the centre. It is common for the large pendant to also have smaller pendants hanging from it.

  • Locket Necklace: The locket necklace has long remained a popular sentimental necklace. It's a popular gifting necklace because you can insert something of value such as a photo of a loved one or a small item of meaning and keep it safe inside the locket.

  • Multi Strand Necklace: A multi strand necklace is one that features a combination of different sized necklaces all joined together to make one layered look.

  • Negligee Necklace: This style of necklace originated in the 19th century and is a long necklace which has two irregular, asymmetrical drops connected to a single pendant.

  • Pendant Necklace: A pendant necklace can come in any shape or style, what defines it as a pendant necklace is the fact that it has a pendant hanging from the centre of the necklace.

  • Rivière Necklace: The Riviere Necklace is one of the short necklace styles and features more delicate gems which are placed through the chain like the graduate necklace style.

  • Sautoir Necklace: This is a very long style necklace which has an ornamental pendant hanging from the bottom. It is often a fringe or tassel which is the pendant on the necklace. These necklaces gained popularity during the 20th century.

How to Choose the Necklace for You or How to Choose a Necklace Someone will Love

When choosing a Necklace for either yourself or as a gift for someone else, you need to take a few things into consideration. It’s not necessarily the look of the necklace which you should look at first but instead what style would suit yourself or them best based on their features.

  • Finding the Perfect Length: When finding the perfect length of necklace, you should go for think about what necklines you wear most often. Also think about any necklaces you currently have and why you favour one more than the other. Think about your neck length too, if you have a longer slender length then a choker would be a flattering option and if you have a shorter neck then going for a longer length necklace would be a good option because the extra length should help to elongate your neck.

  • Matching Your Face Shape: Face shape can be a good determining factor on what necklace style to go for. An oval face shape seems to fit almost any style so the really opens up an avenue of lots of different necklace styles. For the round shaped faces a necklace of a longer length such as the robe necklace or the opera necklace would be perfect. The choker necklace really suits those with a heart shaped face.

  • Co-ordinating with Your Wardrobe: The necklace style and length will especially depend on what type of outfit you will be wearing. For the everyday looks you’ll more likely go for a classic necklace style or even a layered necklace style to add some extra detail. Whereas an evening look would suit a statement necklace more.

Radley Necklaces we Love

Radley Gold Necklace- Kew Gardens- Gold Plated Necklace

A fine gold necklace to wear as part of an everyday ensemble. Embellished by a rose charm at its centre, from there the chain divides into two strands with a simple sprig at the end of each length. This is a 18 carat gold plated necklace that balances the fun and frivolous with the classic and everlasting.

Radley Rose Gold Pendant Necklace- Heart- Etched Pendant Necklace

With a 18 carat rose gold plated heart falling from its fine chain, this elegant necklace is both dainty and refined. Look closely and you’ll notice the delicate etching into the heart's surface, depicting the London skyline, the home of Radley.

Radley Rose Gold Necklace- Birthstone- Birthstone Charm

Give their gift an extra personal touch with a beautiful charm from our Birthstone collection. Available in different Swarovski stones to represent each month, it’s the perfect gift for someone special. These charms can be slipped onto items they already own, but if you want to make it extra special, our birthstone necklace will seal the deal.

Radley Silver Necklace- Esher Street- Silver Necklace

This sterling silver necklace is a design you can wear every day. A circular shade of pink with our embossed branding, this design makes the perfect gift for those who like to add a pop of colour to their day.