How to Measure a Necklace the Right Way

how to measure a necklace

When it comes to accessorizing, necklaces are a staple in many people’s wardrobes. They can add a touch of elegance, make a bold statement, or simply complete an outfit. However, one aspect of necklace selection that often gets overlooked is the length. The length of a necklace can significantly impact how it looks and feels when you wear it, making it an essential factor to consider when choosing or designing a piece of jewelry.

Accurately measuring a necklace is not just about ensuring it fits around your neck. It’s about understanding how the necklace will sit against your body and coordinate with your clothing. A necklace that is too long may get lost in your outfit or swing awkwardly, while a necklace that is too short may not sit right or could be uncomfortable to wear.

Knowing the exact length of your necklace allows you to predict how it will fall on your chest, helping you to better envision its compatibility with different necklines and outfits. Additionally, if you’re purchasing a necklace online or ordering a custom piece, knowing your preferred necklace length can ensure you’re satisfied with your purchase.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of accurately measuring a necklace, discuss the standard lengths for different types of necklaces, and provide tips for selecting the ideal necklace length for your style and comfort.

What You’ll Need

To accurately measure a necklace, you will need a few simple tools. Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. A Flat Surface: A flat surface is essential for laying out the necklace in its full length. This could be a table, desk, or even a clean floor. Make sure there’s enough space for the entire necklace to lie flat.
  2. Ruler or Measuring Tape: These are your primary tools for measuring the necklace. A ruler can work for shorter necklaces, but a flexible measuring tape is ideal, especially for longer pieces, as it can easily follow the curve of the necklace.
  3. A Piece of String (Optional): If you don’t have a flexible measuring tape, a piece of string can be used instead. After laying the string along the necklace to measure its length, you can then measure the string against a ruler or a yardstick.
  4. Marker (Optional): If you’re using a string to measure, a marker can be handy to mark the length of the necklace on the string before measuring it against a ruler.

Types of Necklaces

When it comes to necklaces, there is a variety of styles each with their own standard lengths. Here are some of the most common types:

  1. Choker: This style sits tightly around the neck. Chokers are typically 14 to 16 inches long and are versatile pieces that can be worn with many outfits and necklines.
  2. Princess: A princess necklace is slightly longer than a choker. Measuring 18 to 20 inches, this style falls just below the throat at the collarbone, making it a great choice for both casual and more formal wear.
  3. Matinee: Matinee necklaces range from 20 to 24 inches in length. They fall between the collarbone and the bust, making them ideal for business or semi-formal attire.
  4. Opera: Opera necklaces are typically 28 to 36 inches long. They hang below the bust and can be worn as a single strand or doubled for a versatile look.
  5. Rope or Lariat: The longest of standard necklace lengths, rope or lariat necklaces are over 36 inches. They can be worn long, doubled, or even tripled for different looks.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Measure a Necklace

Step 1: Preparing Your Necklace for Measurement

Start by laying out your necklace on a flat surface. Ensure it’s fully extended, lying straight without any kinks or twists. If the necklace has a clasp, make sure it’s unfastened.

Step 2: Measuring Your Necklace

Take your ruler or measuring tape and align it with one end of the necklace. If you’re using a ruler, ensure that the start of the necklace aligns with the “0” mark. If you’re using a flexible measuring tape, it will be easier to follow the curve of the necklace for an accurate measurement.

Measure the necklace straight from end-to-end. Include the clasp in your measurement as this contributes to the overall length when worn. If the necklace has a pendant, only measure the chain unless the pendant significantly adds to the length.

Step 3: Recording Your Measurements

Once you’ve measured the necklace, write down the measurement. It’s a good idea to measure the necklace twice to ensure accuracy.

Step 4: Converting Measurements

If you need to convert your measurements (for example, from inches to centimeters), you can use a simple conversion factor. There are approximately 2.54 centimeters in an inch. So, to convert inches to centimeters, you would multiply the number of inches by 2.54.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Measuring a Necklace

When measuring a necklace, it’s crucial to be as accurate as possible to ensure the best fit. However, there are common mistakes people often make during this process. Here are some of them and how to avoid them:

  1. Guessing the Necklace Size: One of the most common mistakes is guessing the size of the necklace without actually measuring it. As per the advice from JJ Gold Jewellery, it’s important to take accurate measurements instead of estimating the length.
  2. Ignoring the Clasp: Many people forget to include the clasp in their measurement. The clasp is part of the total length of the necklace when worn, so it should always be included in the measurement.
  3. Not Considering Neck Size: According to Jewelry Wise, another common mistake is not considering the size of your neck. The same necklace will sit differently on people with different neck sizes. So, it’s important to measure your neck and adjust the necklace length accordingly.
  4. Forgetting to Record Measurements: Luxemio suggests that recording the length and thickness of the necklace while measuring it can help ensure precision and avoid errors. It’s easy to forget a measurement, so jotting it down immediately can prevent potential mistakes.
  5. Not Accounting for Pendant Size: If a necklace has a large pendant, it can significantly add to the length of the necklace when worn. Therefore, you should consider the size and position of the pendant when measuring the necklace.
  6. Inaccurate Conversion of Measurements: If you’re converting measurements (e.g., inches to centimeters), a small error in conversion can lead to a significant difference in the final measurement. Always double-check your conversions to ensure accuracy.

How to Choose the Right Necklace Length

Choosing the right necklace length is crucial as it can enhance your look and flatter your body type. Here are some tips based on various factors:

Personal Style

Your personal style plays a significant role in choosing the right necklace length. If you prefer a classic and elegant look, a princess-length necklace (18-20 inches) might be ideal for you. If you like a bold and dramatic style, consider a longer necklace like an opera or rope length.

Neckline of Your Outfit

The neckline of your outfit can also dictate the necklace length. For instance, chokers (14-16 inches) work well with strapless or off-the-shoulder tops, while princess-length necklaces look great with crew and high necklines. Matinee length necklaces (20-24 inches) are versatile and can complement both casual and business attire.

Body Type

Your height and body type should also influence your choice. For example, women below 5’4″ tend to look best in 16 to 20-inch necklaces, while taller women can carry off longer lengths well.


Consider the occasion when choosing a necklace length. Shorter lengths like chokers and princess necklaces are suitable for formal events, while longer lengths like opera or rope can be perfect for casual wear.

Measure Your Neck

For a comfortable fit, especially for chokers, add two inches to your neck measurement. This ensures the necklace isn’t too tight and sits comfortably.

When in doubt, an 18-inch necklace is a safe bet. It’s a versatile length, landing just below the collarbone, making it ideal for pendant necklaces.


Choosing and measuring the right necklace length is a skill that can enhance your personal style and comfort. We’ve covered key steps in accurately measuring a necklace, including preparing the necklace, taking precise measurements, recording them, and converting if necessary.

We also highlighted common mistakes you should avoid during the process, such as ignoring the clasp, not considering neck size, forgetting to record measurements, not accounting for pendant size, and inaccurate conversion of measurements.

Lastly, we provided tips on selecting the ideal necklace length based on factors like personal style, the neckline of your outfit, body type, and occasion. Remember, while these guidelines are helpful, your comfort and confidence in wearing the necklace matter the most.

As with any skill, practice makes perfect. So, take some time to measure your existing necklaces and see if they fall into the lengths that best suit your style and body type. This will give you a better understanding and make you more confident when purchasing new pieces in the future. Happy measuring!


How do I measure a necklace?

To measure a necklace, lay it flat and straight on a table or a ruler. Measure from the end of the clasp to the end of the necklace (including the clasp).

What is the standard necklace length?

The standard necklace length for women is usually 16 to 18 inches, which falls just below the throat at the collarbone. For men, standard chains are typically 18 to 20 inches long.

How do I know what necklace length to buy?

Consider your body type, the neckline of your outfit, the occasion, and your personal style when choosing a necklace length. You can also measure your neck and add two inches for a comfortable fit.

How should a choker fit?

A choker should sit comfortably around your neck without causing any discomfort or difficulty in breathing. It’s usually about 14-16 inches long.

How do I convert necklace lengths from inches to centimeters?

You can convert inches to centimeters by multiplying the number of inches by 2.54. For example, an 18-inch necklace would be approximately 46 centimeters long.

Does the size of the pendant affect the necklace length?

Yes, the size and position of the pendant can affect how the necklace sits when worn. A large pendant can make the necklace appear longer.

Can I adjust my necklace length?

Yes, many jewelers offer services to adjust necklace lengths by adding or removing links or using an extender.

What if I make a mistake while measuring my necklace?

If you make a mistake, simply start over. Accuracy is crucial in getting the right measurement, so take your time to ensure it’s correct.

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