Necklace 101 - At Present

Necklace 101

Our guide to getting started.

“Where to start with necklaces?” “What is a good length that I can get the most use out of?” “What the heck is a curb chain?”
We hear all these questions that are keeping you up at night, because at one point they wracked our brain too. Whether you’re just starting out with your jewelry obsession and don’t know where to begin or you’ve been collecting for quite some time, there’s actually some foundational staples that will be essential to your necklace wardrobe. These are pieces you’re going to wear all the time and be the MVPs of your jewelry box.


Straight from the TOP:

This is generally a choker or pendant that hugs closely to your neck. Often serving as an everyday piece, the chain style is typically lightweight. We like a 13” to 16″ depending on your neck size. Consider getting out the tape measure so you know exactly what you’re looking for. 
Sunrise Necklace

Next, a chain for charms:

“Charms?” you say. Yes, regardless of your personal style, there are a fantastic selection of charms (and ways to style them) that will elevate your collection. But first you need a strong, dependable chain to use as the base. Don’t settle for a lightweight chain with a questionable clasp. We suggest a length that is longer for this — anything over 20″ and make sure it has enough substance so it works with the scale of your preferred charms. 

Related: Ear Piercing Ideas for 2022


Wrangling charm choices

Back to the charms themselves. They serve as a fabulous opportunity to introduce color, texture, and even some personalization with engraved pieces. Have fun with this and enjoy collecting items that have meaning to you. We suggest incorporating  juicy stones, playful objects or animals, vintage finds, and a variety of different finishes to your collection. A charm holder can play a useful and stylish role in helping to affix charms to a chain.


Next, a good “off-setter”:

What we mean by this is a chain or necklace that will provide some contrast to the other pieces in your collection. Use it as an opportunity to play around with necklace weight (ex. if you have generally more delicate pieces, try something a bit heavier like a paperclip chain.) This is also the moment to be daring. Even a capsule collection needs a distinctive piece that “pops.” We love the liquid texture of a herringbone and the ever flattering shape of a lariat. Length-wise we like 18-20″ for this key piece.

Twelve Point Star Pendant

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Go Long:

Make sure to incorporate at least one piece with some real length on it -- 28” to 34” inches. These pieces can complete your neck state for a high impact vibe but also be worn with great success on their own. We love throwing one on as we run out the door for the extra touch that makes an outfit. Styles this length provide versatility, allowing you to wear them doubled up as well.
Bonus: Add-ons like charms, lockets, engraveable keepsakes, hooks, swivels…all those little extras are ideal pieces to enhance your look. This is like the next level above necessary necklace basics, but we’ll get into these next time.

Check out beautiful necklaces by designer Melissa Joy Manning from At Present.