How to Measure a Necklace

Four Parts:Measuring the Length of a ChainStandard Necklace LengthsMeasuring the Right Necklace Length for YouAdditional Considerations

Necklace measurements are determined based on chain lengths. While there are a few standard necklace lengths, you should factor in your own measurements and similar factors when determining the right necklace size for you.

Part 1
Measuring the Length of a Chain

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    Unclasp the chain and lay it out straight. Necklace measurements are, essentially, chain measurements. If you want to measure the chain, you will need to open it up and make it as straight as possible.
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    Measure the length with a ruler or tape measure. Extend the tape measure from one end of the chain to the other and note the length. This length is the marketable size of the necklace.
    • Do not forget the clasp in your measurement. The complete chain should be measured because that is what determines how long it hangs.
    • For similar reasons, do not include the length of any charm or pendant hanging from the chain.

Part 2
Standard Necklace Lengths

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    Know the standard lengths for women. Standard necklace chains designed for women come in five basic sizes. For most women, these sizes will fall out around the same place on the body.[1]
    • Choker length is 16 inches (40 cm).
    • Princess length is 18 inches (45 cm), but this size can actually range anywhere between 17 and 19 inches (43 and 48 cm). This length usually falls out at the collarbone.
    • Matinee length is 20 inches (50 cm), which usually extends just a bit below the collarbone.
    • If you need a chain that falls at or just above the neckline, opt for a 22-inch (55-cm) chain.
    • For a necklace that falls just below the neckline, choose a 24-inch (60-cm) chain.
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    Note standard chain lengths for men. Necklace chains designed for men come in four basic sizes. Like women's necklaces, men's necklaces usually fall out around the same place on each man.
    • Men with smaller neck sizes may choose an 18-inch (45-cm) chain. This length should come down to the base of the neck.
    • The most common length for the average man is 20 inches (50 cm), which comes down to the collarbone.
    • Choose a 22-inch (55-cm) chain if you want something that lands just below the collarbone.
    • For a necklace that comes down to a point just above the sternum, go with a 24-inch (60-cm) chain.
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    Understand that children's necklaces have separate standards. Most necklaces made for children fall within a single range: 14 to 16 inches (35 to 40 cm).[2]

Part 3
Measuring the Right Necklace Length for You

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    Measure your neck size. Neck size is probably the most important measurement you will need to know when determining which necklace length will work best for you. A necklace will fall lower on a person with a thin neck and higher on a person with a thicker neck.
    • Wrap a soft tape measure around your neck, keeping the tape measure parallel to the floor as you measure.
    • Add 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) to your neck measurement to calculate your minimum recommended chain length. Doing so will prevent the chain from sitting too snugly around your neck.
    • If you want a choker necklace, however, you can stick with your exact neck measurement instead of adding any excess length.
    • If you cannot customize the necklace length to your neck size, simply choose the second size up from your neck size as your minimum necklace measurement. For instance, if you are a woman with a neck size measuring 17 inches (43 cm), your minimum standard should be 20 inches (50 cm) instead of 18 inches (45 cm).
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    Know your height. In addition to neck size, your height can also change the position of a necklace around your neck. Long necklaces can overwhelm women shorter women and short necklaces can get lost on taller women.[3]
    • If your height is below 5 feet (1.5 m) 4 inches (162 cm), stick with necklaces measuring between 16 and 20 inches (40 and 50 cm).
    • For women with heights between 5 feet (1.5 m) 4 inches (162 cm) and 5 feet (1.5 m) 7 inches (170 cm), necklaces of any length should work well.
    • Women with a height of 5 feet (1.5 m) 7 inches (170 cm) or taller look best in longer necklaces.
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    Choose a size to flatter your body type. Just as different clothes flatter different parts of the body, different necklace lengths accentuate different parts of the body.
    • If you want to accent the bust, choose a necklace that draws attention to the area just below the collarbone and above the bust. Usually, 20 to 22 inch (50 to 55 cm) necklaces will do the trick.
    • If you have a flatter, less prominent bust, thin chains measuring around 22 inches (55 cm) tend to have an elegant look.
    • Full figured women should avoid necklaces that sit on or below the bust since these chains do not often hang correctly. Stick with necklaces measuring around 18 inches (45 cm), instead.
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    Balance a length to your face shape. Necklaces can subtly make your face appear wider, narrower, longer, or shorter depending on the natural shape of your face. As such, different necklace measurements can flatter certain face shapes better than others.
    • A choker length necklace measuring between 10 and 16 inches (25 and 40 cm) can help soften the sharp angle of the chin on women with heart-shaped faces. This tactic also works well for those who have rectangular and oblong faces.
    • Women with round faces should avoid short necklaces since these chains tend to make the face appear even rounder. Longer necklaces measuring between 26 and 36 inches (66 and 91 cm) elongate the jawline better.
    • If you have an oval shaped face, all necklace lengths should be equally flattering.

Part 4
Additional Considerations

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    Match your necklace length to the occasion and the outfit. Jewelry should complement your attire, and your attire is usually defined by the occasion. The right necklace measurement for a casual blouse may not work well for a formal dinner dress.
    • As a general rule, longer necklaces should be work with clothes that have a high neck, like a turtleneck sweater. Shorter chains typically work best with formal attire, especially if the chain is short enough to sit well above the neckline of the outfit.
    • For men, most necklaces should sit at the collarbone when they are worn with an open collar shirt. Necklaces with a pendant or medallion should be a little longer, however.
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    Double up as needed. Nowadays, many necklaces often come in measurements that far exceed those of a standard chain. For notably long necklaces, you will need to wrap the necklace around your neck two, three, or even four times.
    • A necklace measuring 28 to 34 inches (71 to 86 cm) hang at or below the bust and are usually wrapped around the neck twice.
    • Necklaces measuring 40 inches (101 cm) or longer usually land at or below the navel and may need to be wrapped around the neck two to three times.
    • If a necklace measures 48 inches (122 cm) or longer, it will usually be wrapped around the neck three to four times.
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    Opt for shorter lengths when choosing pearl necklaces. Under most circumstances, a strand of pearls should not be snug or long. The ideal measurement would allow the necklace to fall just above the collarbone or just below the neckline.
    • If you want to wear pearls for a less formal occasion, however, notably long strands can still work well. You can get a strand of pearls measuring up to 100 inches (254 cm) long. For long necklaces like this, wrap the strand around your neck three to four times so that the pearls do not extend past your upper abdomen.
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    Note the effect of pendants and charms. Pendants can affect both the overall length and weight of a necklace. You should take this into consideration when measuring the right length.
    • Measure the length of the pendant. When the pendant is placed on a chain of known length, the bottom of the pendant--and the necklace overall--will extend down your front by the length of the pendant. In other words, if you have a 2 inch (5 cm) pendant placed on an 18 inch (45 cm) chain, the necklace will land 2 inches (5 cm) below the collarbone.
    • Notably heavy pendants may pull the chain down even further since the weight of the charm will cause the chain to hang taut around your neck.
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    Consider the clasp. Clasp length is not taken into account when a manufacturer measures the necklace length. While most clasps do not make a dramatic difference in the position of a necklace around your neck, this detail is still worth noting.
    • A standard clasp size is only 3/4 inch (2 cm), but shorter and longer clasps do exist.

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Categories: Personal Accessories and Jewelry