by Staff Writer
Necklaces are fabulous fashion accessories, and some are quite fun, too. From a simple yellow gold chain necklace to a collar of pearls wrapped around and around the neckline to the handmade hemp braid that retro-hippie teens just love, there is a necklace style for everyone. Actually, there are many necklaces that would look great on you, each with its unique qualities. A well-appointed jewelry collection may include a variety of fashion necklaces, designer necklaces, chain necklaces, pendant necklaces and strands. If you feel a bit overwhelmed by the selection of women's and men's necklaces available today, then allow us to help you choose between long pendant necklaces, fancy designer necklaces and pretty strands for your jewelry collection.
Building a necklace wardrobe: There was a time when a young lady could expect to receive a pearl necklace on her 16th birthday. Times change and most women, and many men, now use jewelry to create and emphasize their individual style. Even though your fashion necklaces and fine necklaces can be as original as you are, having a few classics in your collection will give you a balanced jewelry wardrobe.
Chains: Keep at least one fine chain to wear alone, especially in your men's necklace collection. You might like to keep more chain necklaces on hand if you like to wear a lot of pendants. Yellow gold enhances warm complexions, and platinum or white gold chains complement cooler skin tones. There are so many chain styles available that you'll probably want several for your jewelry box.
Pendants: These pretty charms and lockets showcase brilliant diamonds, colorful gemstones, sparkling crystals and a variety of designs. Pendants are essential jewelry to wear with plain necklines. Beaded necklace strands paired with pendants also add spice to casual clothes. Pendants are especially popular with sterling silver chains.
Strands: Strand necklaces differ from chains in that the embellishments are incorporated into the necklace. A pearl necklace, for example, is a strand necklace. Many other strand necklaces incorporate beads, gemstones, diamonds and intricate metalwork. A strand is usually more dramatic than a chain; wear strands when you want to command attention or add a lot of color or sparkle to an outfit.
Necklaces for special occasions: Everyone needs signature jewels to wear for parties, formal affairs and any time you want to feel glamorous. A spectacular pearl choker or diamond necklace will brighten the complexion and add sparkle to cocktail dresses or gowns.
Choosing the right necklace length: Necklace length, like the style, is a matter of personal taste. Every wardrobe is different, and having chains in various lengths will ensure you always have one to wear with your outfits. Assessing how a necklace will fit can be difficult if you can't try it on before you buy it, especially when you are shopping online. However, there is a general rule you can follow to find your ideal necklace length: Measure your own neck and choose a chain that is 2 to 4 inches longer. This chain will lie along the collarbone. In general, men's chains will need to be longer than women's necklaces. An 18-inch men's chain will lie at the base of the throat, a 20-inch men's chain will lie at the collarbone and a 24-inch men's chain will lie at the sternum. These measurements are approximate; you may want to use a measuring tape to determine an ideal chain length. You don't need to measure the chain itself. Simply drape the measuring tape around your neck like a necklace and check the measurements.
Every time you shop for necklaces is a chance to be adventurous with your fashion. Why not try a new style? Given the popularity of beads, now is a great time to add specialty gemstone necklaces to your collection. Maybe sunny yellow sapphire, mint green amethyst or sky blue turquoise will be your new favorite gem. Tungsten and stainless steel necklaces showcase a revolution in jewelry design: the use of industrial metals in crafting everything from wedding rings to Celtic pendants. These "new metals" give traditional designs a contemporary look. Tungsten, steel and titanium necklaces are equally wearable as women's or men's jewelry.
Keep your necklaces in like-new condition by protecting them in a high-quality jewelry box. Many jewelry boxes are crafted of beautiful wood and have separate necklace, ring and earring compartments. If you have a lot of jewelry, especially necklaces, invest in a jewelry armoire. An armoire includes hooks for hanging chains, drawers for your favorite accessories and mirrors to help you put together your best style.