Looking for your next set of chains is exciting, and there are many factors to consider. Do you want white gold or yellow gold? Should you add a diamond pendant or keep it simple? Should you get yourself a watch or a ring to match?
While the physical appearance of your necklaces is arguably the most important factor, there is a hidden detail that is too easy to overlook. It can drastically change the personality of your chain and give its style a whole new look.
This all-important detail is the necklace’s length, and while it might seem minor, this portion of your chain purchase can make a major difference. Let’s take a look at how to make sure you’re picking the right necklace length to match your own personal flair.
Types of Necklaces
Before you decide what length chain you want, it’s important to think about all of the styles and colors at your disposal. This can dictate the type of length that might be right for you.
When it comes to the color of your chain, there is really no way you can go wrong. Any chain color will look great at any length, but if there is a specific look you want to achieve, you may want to consider how your chain’s color might imitate certain appearances.
For example, a classicgold chainis a perfect option if you’re looking to have a necklace that hangs down exceptionally low. These are reminiscent of the hip hop era, harkening back to legends like Biggie Smalls or Run DMC, who often wore golden chains draped down almost as far as their waists.
With gold chains becoming so popular, other variations were created to enhance the metal’s versatility. One of the more common colors to come out of this waswhite gold, which is obtained by combining pure gold with other metal alloys, such as nickel or silver. This same process can be used to make other gold variations, like the pink-huedrose gold.
Gold variants can also dangle low, but since their sheen feels slightly more subdued, these styles look especially great in lower lengths. They’ll add just the right amount of pop to your look.
The best thing about necklace chains is that they come in different styles that each have a unique personality. With that in mind, certain chains might be better options depending on the type of length you are hoping for.
A chain variation that you’ve likely seen if you’ve ever looked at a hip hop album cover is theMiami Cubanchain. These are classics, with oval-shaped links that are closely intertwined with one another. This is another great option if you’re trying to mimic your favorite rappers. Agold Miami Cuban chain replicates the classic look popularized by Notorious B.I.G and perpetuated by greats like Jay-Z and Lil Wayne.
If you want a variation that’s going to turn heads at any length, consider aMarinerchain. These have a nautical feel, and these are good additions to your jewelry box. This style might look great as a mid-sized chain hanging down about as far as your chest.
And then, if you need to try to balance out your distinctive chains with something a bit more subtle, you may want to go for aFrancochain. These are similar to Cuban chains but with a smaller width. These are great if you like wearing multiple chains at the same time.
Now that you’ve figured out exactly what type of chain you want to best suit your style, let’s talk about the specifics of necklace chains.
How To Measure Necklace Length
Necklace length is determined in inches from one end of the chain to the other. If you already have a necklace with a good length that you want to replicate, just lay it down on a flat surface and measure with a ruler or tape measure.
However, if you’ve yet to purchase your first necklace, all you need is a piece of string. Wrap the string loosely around your neck and drape it where you would want your chain to fall. Pull it down to a point as if a pendant or locket is weighing the string down. Once it sits in a position that you are happy with, remove the string and measure its length with a tape measure.
Most necklaces are measured in two-inch increments, with common lengths being 18-inch, 20-inch, 22-inch, and 24-inch. 18-inch lengths will fit loosely around your neck but won’t hang down very far, whereas a 24-inch necklace might drape down to your lower chest area.
30-inch chains will hang extremely low, whereas chains shorter than 18 inches might be more in line with a choker, which sits right up against the neck.
Factors That Affect Necklace Length
Depending on how you decide to customize your new chain, there are a few different things that could cause the chain’s length and feel to be altered.
While plain chains are a classic look, there’s no better way to personalize your necklace than by adding your favorite pendant. Pendants are usually symbols that can take the form of lockets,amulets, talismans, or medallions.
Keep in mind that heavier pendants will weigh down your chain, causing it to drape slightly lower than it would if there were nothing attached. If you want to avoid this but still want to spruce up your chain with a pendant, consider a lighter weight option.
Though, heavier pendants are sure to make a statement. Be mindful that not only will a pendant cause your chain to hang lower, it will also add more weight to the piece. While weighted pieces are sturdy and durable, you will notice the difference in your daily wear. Experiment with different types to see what might work the best for you.
Similar to pendants, the heavier the chain, the lower it might hang. Another factor to consider in conjunction with a necklace’s length is its width from one side to the other.
Chains on the smaller side are usually around three millimeters in width. These are lightweight and won’t weigh down your neck. But a typical chain that you’re used to seeing on most hip hop icons probably exists around the 10-12mm range. The heavier the chain, the more that it will come to a point at its bottom, resulting in the illusion of a slightly longer neckpiece.
Jay-Z is known for sporting one of the thickest gold chains in the game, and his solid gold necklace cost him $200,000. That iconic chain is extremely wide, and it’s the reason why it hangs so low on the rapper’s body. If you’re looking for a huge chain that’s just as much of a conversation starter, you’ll want to consider a30mm width chain or larger.
A hidden factor that can affect a chain’s weight, and therefore its length, is the base metal that the necklace is composed of. Mosthip hop legends are probably wearing solid gold necklaces. But as you’ve just learned with Jay-Z’s quarter-million-dollar buy, these aren’t too accessible for most of us.
Most gold chains will be gold plated, meaning that a layer of pure gold is laid on top of a base metal. The type of base metal can have a minor effect on the necklace’s weight, which will affect how far it drapes down on your chest.
High-quality base metals consist of eitherstainless steel or sterling silver. These are durable, sturdy, and malleable metals that are representative of a great chain. You’ll want to be on the lookout for options that utilize these two metals if you want a chain that lays properly on your body while also looking authentic.
The length of your necklace is a tough factor to consider before purchasing. Its color and style will dictate what length to go for, whereas the chain’s width and base metal composition will determine how exactly the chain will fit on your body.
If you’re unsure of a good length for your chain, you can use a piece of string to gauge what you prefer the most. From there, you can decide if you want to spice up your collection with a pendant.
Regardless of the length of your necklace, the most important thing to keep in mind is how great it makes you feel.