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What is the difference between a necklace, choker, pendant and chain?

Posted on June 18 2019

We get a ton of questions asking about the difference between a necklace, choker, pendant and a chain. For starters, one thing they all have in common is that these terms can describe jewelry around someone's neck. In this blog, we will explore the differences in the jewelry terminology as simple as possible for these pieces so you will never be confused again!

What is a necklace?

Necklaces are the most recognizable of these four categories of jewelry. Like the rest, you wear a necklace about the neck. They’re constructed of a metal chain, usually (but not always) gold or silver. You may also see gemstones featured in the chain. These may be linked together in some way as well. If the necklace is consistent throughout and has no feature that hangs from it, it is simply a necklace.

A necklace is often an elegant and classical way of adorning an ensemble. It remains noticeable yet understated. This makes it a feature to draw the eye, to complement fashion, but not always one to outshine it. Necklaces are simple in nature yet can be complex in design. They highlight the neck especially, almost like a frame.

What is a choker?

A choker is a type of necklace that fits the neck snugly. They sit higher on the neck than other forms of necklaces and don’t give any space to hang lower. Already seen as different and less traditional/more modern, chokers are often designed to stand out – more highlight than complement.

They can help accentuate the lines of one’s neck rather than the length and work tremendously well with simpler fashion designs that give space to the shoulders and collarbones.

What is a pendant?

If the necklace has a feature that hangs from it, this is known as a pendant. It is most often attached or connected to the necklace via a loop. It typically hangs straight down. This makes the necklace and the pendant partners. A necklace doesn’t need a pendant, but a pendant does need a necklace from which to hang.

A pendant complements the necklace as a feature. The necklace’s lines naturally and necessarily point the eye toward it. This is a way of maintaining the necklace’s classical highlight of the neck while featuring a pendant that makes a statement. The pendant can be understated like the necklace or can stand out as a highlight. Along with the necklace highlighting one’s neck, the pendant can draw the eye to features like collarbones and neckline. Pendants can also be hung from chains and chokers. They are a complementary piece or highlight more than an isolated one.

What is a chain?

A chain resembles cable in its design. It is technically a type of necklace, so a chain can be a necklace at the same time. Chains are generally thicker and heavier in both look and weight. They may even hint at an industrial appearance and feature hardier clasps and loops. They evoke a more modern and less classical sensibility. Thus they stand out more as their own piece and less as a complementary one.

A chain necklace may also feature several chains that are meant to coordinate in appearance. These multiple chain necklaces can serve to section off one’s neck, collarbones, and neckline, thereby capturing the eye via pattern as much as by color and material.

 

SUMMARY

The difference between a necklace, choker, pendant, and chain is very small but obvious. Here is a quick formula that will clarify the contrast between different parts of a necklace:

Necklace = Choker or Chain + Pendant

Necklace, the most commonly used term out of all, describes the jewelry worn around the neck. The choker is a skin-tight version of a necklace. A pendant is an item hanging from the necklace. A chain is a type of a necklace that consists of a durable metal such as steel, gold or silver.

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