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How Do I Know How Long My Chain Should Be?

How Do I Know How Long My Chain Should Be? | Shimansky

You’ve been gifted the perfect diamond pendant. Of course you’re thrilled, but it’s also likely thrown you into a state of confusion. How do you know the right necklace length to choose to wear it on?


There are a few things to consider when choosing a new chain. Firstly, what size will suit you? A pendant can work like any accessory or fashion item. It draws the eye towards you, so it makes sense it should attract attention to the parts of your body you feel most comfortable with or accentuate your best features. You can also choose a chain based on the shape of your face or body type. It's all about finding a look that's most flattering and suits your style.


It sounds daunting, but chains come in industry-standard lengths, so it's really about picking out the one that works for you based on where it falls on your body, and the pendant you want to wear on it.


 How Do I Know How Long My Chain Should Be? | Shimansky

Chain Lengths For Women: A Guide


Let’s take a closer look at the standard sizes for necklaces for women.


  • If you want a chain that fits like a choker, choose a 14" necklace. They look great worn with off-the-shoulder clothing.
  • If you want a chain that falls around the base of your neck (like a collar) choose a 16" necklace. If you're petite, it may hang at your collarbone, and be tighter if you are any other size.
  • If you want a chain that sits on the collarbone (or you want the pendant to hang over a crew neck) choose an 18" necklace. Opt for a 20" necklace to fall just below the collarbone or if you plan to wear it over a turtleneck.
  • A 22" necklace will fall at or just above the top of your bust and is a popular choice.
  • A 24" chain will fall at your solar plexus (below your breasts).
  • 36" chains are popular lengths for pearl necklaces or other beaded pieces. They will hang above your naval.

 How Do I Know How Long My Chain Should Be? | Shimansky

Will It Work For You?


If you're in the market to invest in a new gold or platinum chain, you want to get it right. As with all fashion items, it's not just about the practicality of how it fits. It needs to work with your body type. It's time to hit the measuring tape. By measuring the circumference of your neck, you'll know what you're working with.


Once you've taken the measurement, add a couple of inches to that, and you'll come up with a number that works for the average choker length (16 inches). Add four more, and you'll get a sense if a diamond or gem pendant on a necklace works for you (based on an 18-inch chain). Width is one thing, but people also come with different length necks. If you have a short neck, stay away from chokers, and look for longer chains that will have a lengthening effect to your overall look.


If you’re petite, however, be cautious of going too long in the necklace game. If you're shorter than about 5'4", stick with chains in the 16- to 20-inch range. Any longer and it'll throw the proportions of your body off. If you're 5'7" or above you can generally carry off a longer necklace. Of course, this is all a guide. We all have our style and look, and you need to choose a necklace that makes you feel good.


Just keep in mind the philosophy behind the advice is that when someone glances at you, his or her eyes are drawn towards the point when the necklace ends. So use this to your advantage to highlight the area of your upper body you feel most confident with.

 How Do I Know How Long My Chain Should Be? | Shimansky

The Shape You’re In

Nope, this has nothing to do with your body shape. It's all about the shape of your face. Necklaces can frame your face and can, therefore also affect your overall appearance. So, for example, if you have a round-shaped face, avoid short necklaces or chokers as they will highlight the roundness of your features. If you're oval or heart-shaped, you can pull off pretty much any necklace length or style. Lucky you!  If you tend towards a long-shaped face and you want to go for a softer look, choose shorter necklaces.


Not sure what works for you? Why not try on a range of necklaces and take a selfie? You’ll instantly see how this theory works in practice.

 How Do I Know How Long My Chain Should Be? | Shimansky

One For The Guys

There are also standard necklace lengths for men. Here’s a short guide for the men in your life:


  • 18" necklace will sit at the base of the neck, which means it will sit on the collar of a t-shirt. Go for thicker chains (such as a Cuban link) that will make an impact.
  • 20" necklace will hit the collarbone, which makes it a good look to wear with an unbuttoned shirt or V-neck t-shirt.         
  • 22" necklace falls below the collarbone and is one of the most popular with men. It’s ideal for wearing a pendant on.
  • 24" necklace will reach the sternum
  • 28" necklace will hang in the area below your ribs and looks great with a bold pendant.

 How Do I Know How Long My Chain Should Be? | Shimansky

Pendant Trends And Necklaces


Traditionally necklaces were an investment you made to wear with a single pendant. However, we are seeing an exciting explosion in fashion right now where the more pendants worn at once, the better.


This fabulous look (let's refer to it as pendant stacking) allows you to wear pendants of different styles at once. You can even wear your diamond engagement ring on your necklace with a few other treasures. It’s about having fun with your jewelry and expressing yourself using your favorite pieces. Just one thing to avoid is a flat necklace (the way the chain is netted) as these don’t work well with pendants.


Another rising trend is that of layering necklaces. Why wear one when you can wear three? Here are some ideas to play with:

  • Wear a simple, minimalist choker with an 18-inch necklace that has a statement pendant on it. The contrast between the thicker choker and the thinner necklace makes for a contemporary, eye-grabbing look.
  • Combine three different lengths of necklaces with the same chain style (netting) with similar sized and style pendants. Keep it monotone. If you are wearing rose gold necklaces, stick with this metal. If you’ve gone for yellow gold, keep your layered necklaces consistent. It’s about building layers of chains and pendants to create a fashion message, not just to create clutter.
  • Combine your heirloom pieces with modern necklaces for a quirky but chic look.


Finally, how can you store these necklaces to prevent a tangle? Keep a couple of paper straws in your bathroom. When you remove your necklaces to bathe or shower, string them through individual straws and reconnect the clasps. Voila!

 How Do I Know How Long My Chain Should Be? | Shimansky

Pick The Perfect Necklace Length


When you purchase a diamond or gem pendant from diamond and jewelry store Shimansky New York, our expert jewelers will give you the best advice for choosing a necklace length. This process includes taking into consideration your measurements, your style, your budget, and the pendant you will wear it with and of course the metal you prefer (gold, silver, platinum).


Plus, if you wear your necklace and pendant every day, you can book it in with us every couple of months for a professional clean. This will keep your pieces sparkling and allow us to check the settings and clasps are still secure.

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