Best Necklace and Bracelet Lengths

Published on
October 26, 2021 5:14:23 PM PDT October 26, 2021 5:14:23 PM PDTth, October 26, 2021 5:14:23 PM PDT

What is the BEST Necklace Length?

18" necklaces are the most popular in the United States, but might not be the right length for the necklace that you're making.

The height and build of the person who will be wearing the necklace should be taken into consideration. Another option, is to use an adjustable chain as the base for your necklace.

The most common necklace lengths are:

  • 14" - This theoretically fits right where a tall button-up shirt collar would fit. 14" is too short for most adults... but chokers can be made adjustable.
  • 16" - This length is short and very popular for teens and petite women. It usually sits right at the neck line, in the space between the collar bones.
  • 18" - This is the most popular necklace size for women. It generally sits at the base of the neck, and is visible with most necklines. Some men with a slim build also prefer this length.
  • 20" - This is a popular length for both men and women. For most men, it sits near the neckline of a T-shirt, but for some men it may be a little too tight. For women, it sits a little lower on the chest, and looks great layered over a T-shirt, or with a low neckline. 
  • 24" is a classic length for pearls, lightweight beads, and sparkling clustered pendants. 20-24" necklaces strung with pearls or round gemstones were traditionally called "matinee" necklaces.
  • 28 - 36" necklaces are frequently called opera length, and can usually be slipped right over the head, so adding a clasp is optional. This style is most often worn with high necklines and/or evening wear. Or for casual wear, they are sometimes worn in combination with 2 to 4 additional, shorter necklaces, each with a different texture, color or pattern.
  • 42" necklaces can be wrapped 2-3x around the neck, and worn at different lengths on different days. A clasp is optional on extremely long necklaces like this.

Although short necklaces are called "chokers", they shouldn't actually fit so tight that they feel uncomfortable. One way to avoid discomfort and increase versatility, is to include a a few extra links (large enough to hook the clasp into) at the back of the necklace, creating an adjustable length choker.

Necklaces shorter than approximately 26" require a clasp, so when stringing a design, or cutting a chain, make sure to factor in the length of the clasp and any finishing findings.

Not sure what type of cord or clasp to use, and how to finish the ends?

For tips, options and techniques, check out these guides & projects:

Guide to Jewelry Stringing Materials
Choosing Clasps & Finishing Methods: A Visual Guide

Quick References for Round Beads

How many beads do you need, to create the necklace you are designing? This chart details how many 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, etc. round (or cube) beads it takes to create a 16", 20", 24" or 36" strand. If you want to create an 18" necklace using a 16" strand of gemstones, you're in luck! The clasp and finishing findings will take up approximately 1" (depending on the size of your clasp, and how you finish your necklace), so now all you need is approximately 1" worth of spacer beads! Popular spacer bead options include glass seed beads, Swarovski crystal beads, sterling silver beads, gold-fill beads and base-metal beads.

Typical Number of Round Beads per Strand

Size

16" strand20" strand24" strand36" strand
3mm136169203305
4mm102127153229
5mm81102122183
6mm6785102152
8mm506476114
10mm40516192
12mm33425176

What is the BEST Bracelet Size?

That's a little trickier. Bangle bracelets, chain bracelets and strung bead bracelets each have different considerations.

Bracelet sizing charts are coming soon. Please check back!