How to choose pearl necklaces

How to Choose Pearl Necklaces

No one has to tell a woman the charming effect that a pearl necklace can have on her overall appearance, but what many women don’t know is how this effect can be greatly heightened by wearing just the right length of necklace with just the right neckline.  Suitable necklines can also be chosen according to seasons, age factors and, as always, individual taste.


Pearl Necklace Length

Below is a chart showing popular pearl necklace lengths paired with necklines and types of clothing that set them off to their best advantage. 

Pearl Necklace Names

Length in inches

Length in cm


Matched Dresses


12-13 inch


Usually in three or more pearl strands, fitting snugly on the middle of the neck.

V-neck, boat neck, off-shoulder


14-16 inch


The most classic of all single strand pearl lengths.

Good choice if you are not sure about the length

Any outfit from casual to formal


17-19 inch


Suitable for crew and high necklines, also complements low plunging necklines; very popular. Good choice if you are not sure about the length

Any outfit from casual to formal; .perfect with pendant or pearl enhancer


20-24 inch


Looks best with high necklines and add sophistication to a professional look

Casual or business attire; long sundresses and formal gowns


28-34 inch


The queen of pearl necklace lengths. Perfect for high or crew necklines; can be doubled upon itself to serve as two strand pearl choker.

High collar clothes, sweater; evening wear


>45 inch


For the complete pearl wardrobe; can be made with several clasps to break down into different necklace and bracelet combinations or act as multi-strand choker

High collar clothes depending on individual taste; a popular trend for high fashion


Necklace lengths according to seasons, face shape, neck length and build

As different types of clothing and necklines are worn in different seasons, this will naturally affect the necklace styles that predominate in any given season.

Shorter pearl necklaces are generally more attractive with summer or autumn wear, as short pearl necklaces are shown to their best advantage with open collars. Further, a short simple strand around the neck simply looks cooler on a hot summer day. In winter or early spring, longer necklaces are more popular, as they go well with sweaters, long coats or clothes with high collars.

The shape of one’s face also plays a part in choosing pearl necklace lengths. A longer necklace will work better for short faces, while short necklaces are more suitable for long faces (a long necklace would tend to exaggerate the length of the face and vice-versa), and the shortening effect is even further enhanced with double or triple strands. Those with round faces would do better not only to avoid very short necklaces but even round pearls, and go instead with a strand of long drop-shaped pearls. Those with inverted triangle faces generally look best with long necklaces, and would best avoid necklace shapes with clear angles. 

Neck length is also an important factor. Those with short necks generally look better with long and thin pearl necklaces, or necklaces with graduated pearl sizes, and often a pendant necklace will work nicely too.  However, long and thick necklaces should be avoided. Long, thin necks are better offset with short, large necklaces closer to the neck, while twisted necklace styles often produce very pleasing effects. 

By now, you have probably gotten the idea - and can imagine how these general principles extend to one’s build. A thin person will generally look more attractive with a shorter necklace, and a long/thin necklace will look perfect for someone of a shorter height. A person with larger build would do better to choose long/thin necklaces, preferably with a pendant or enhancer.

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