Style Guide: Necklaces and Chains
Unlike rings, which must be precisely sized in order to fit correctly, most necklace lengths will fit everyone. The right chain has more to do with style and preference than fit. That said, there are a lot of styles to choose from! Many people might not even realize they have a preference when it comes to chains until they see the options. Here’s everything you need to know about necklaces and chains!
The first thing you need to consider when choosing a chain is length. I offer chains in standard sizes of 16, 18, 20, and 24 inch chains. Some necklaces are intended to be worn on shorter chains, like chokers, and some are meant to be longer. For the most part, though, it is a matter of preference. For custom jewelry, I also offer in-between sizes.
For an idea of what different chain lengths look like when work, check out this chart:
If requested, I’m often able to make adjustable-length chains. These chains will have one longer closure and one shorter closure - typically two inches, but that can be altered depending on your needs. This is helpful for styling necklaces with different pieces of clothing and for layering. (You know how much I love layering!) Selecting a 16” piece and an 18” piece (or an 18” with a 20”) is another simple way to “hack” layering without having to use adjustments.
You can always contact me if you need a specific size. I’m happy to create custom sizes and add adjustments when needed.
Are you ready to get nerdy about jewelry? Here we go!
There are two basic ways of connecting pendants to chains: fixed and unfixed. Unfixed pendants can be removed from the chain. They often use a jump ring, which is a simple loop that is soldered closed, or a bail which is a fancy decorative connector that also allows the pendant to be removed from the chain. Bails can come in all kinds of fun shapes.
Many of my necklace designs use fixed connections, meaning that the chain is connected to the pendant and cannot be removed. There are a bunch of ways to do fixed connections, but (and this should come as no surprise) I actually have a signature style, which I call the Crescent Connection.
This little innovation actually came about by way of a happy accident. I was about to solder a jump ring closed when - rookie move - I melted the jump ring! Well, metal is unique in that it likes to “pull up” into a little ball when it melts. Crazy enough, this jump ring pulled into a half circle with a little ball at the end. “Hmmm,” I thought, “That’s surely interesting!” The chain was now fixed to the piece with a little ball holding it in place. “I wonder what would happen if I purposely melted the other side of the jump ring too…” Well that, my friends, started a whole new thing for me! And that’s the story of how an “oopsie” moment turned into a signature element.
Another cool feature of the Crescent Connection is that it can be done in all silver or another metal like yellow gold to give a piece a two-toned look (like I did with this Current Necklace). Kinda neat right?
Remember those herringbone chains from the 70s? If you got a kink in them, well, good luck because you’re going to be living with that weird-looking bump forever! Fortunately, this doesn’t happen with my favorite chain styles.
We offer a choice of three chains for our unfixed pendants: Flow, River, and Dewdrop. Each one is available in all our metals and all standard sizes.
The Flow Chain is our basic Rolo chain. Rolos have circular links that are rounded on the outside and flattened on the inside and perform really well for daily wear. They are sturdy, strong and very flexible for general movement. No worries about twisting! Not to say this style won’t ever break (we are harder on our jewelry than we realize sometimes) but overall it functions super well and holds up nicely. It’s a winner for me!
The River Chain is a close cousin of the Flow Chain but is composed of uniform oval links. Like the Flow Chain, it is both fashionable and durable.
If you want to step things up a notch, the sweet and sparkling Dewdrop Chain is the way to go. This dainty and elegant beaded chain is ideal for pairing with The Graceful Glimmer collection pendants and our ever-popular mini-pearl pendant. It’s also great for everyday wear, but it is a bit more delicate, so take it off before you head to the gym!
Few things are more irritating than struggling with a tiny-tiny clasp on your necklace while you’re trying to get out the door. I want my jewelry to be fun to wear, not frustrating, so for silver jewelry I always swap out “standard” tiny spring ring clasps for more usable lobster clasps, which have a larger hook that opens and closes. The standard size of these clasps is 8-10mm long, but if you struggle with clasps I can size up to make it even easier! Because of the cost of gold, swapping out the clasp may require an extra charge, but I can absolutely still do it if necessary. Let me know, and we can always upgrade the clasp to something that works for you!
Mixing and Matching
I’m a huge fan of two-tone styles and mixing metals. I’m also a huge fan of customizing and personalizing everything, so much so that I’ve made this a focal point of the Graceful Glimmer Collection. As I said above, the Crescent Connection can give a two-tone style to any silver necklace and pendants can be worn on a variety of chains. So go ahead and be creative!
Whoo! Who knew there was so much to learn about chains? But what can I say, I love getting carried away talking about jewelry. If you have any lingering questions, feel free to just reach out and ask - or leave them here in the comments!