Besides choosing the right kind of pearls, the most important part of looking good in a pearl necklace is choosing the right length. Pearl necklaces are available in a wide range of sizes. They are usually found in even-inch sizes such as 14”, 18” and so on although some dealers also sell odd-inch sizes. Size increments are usually in 2 inches. So, in other words, the next smaller or larger size of a pearl necklace would be 2 inches shorter or longer respectively.
Given this, it is easy to assume that one is likely to encounter an overwhelming range of choices in length while buying a pearl necklace. However, things needn’t look so formidable if you follow a few simple guidelines while making your selection.
To put it simply, the right necklace length is determined by how you wish to frame your face, accentuate your appearance and showcase your jewels. To attempt a simpler explanation, one might say that the right length depends heavily upon your physical structure (tall or short, slim or large), the shape of your face (round, oval or heart-shaped) and how you wish to look like on the whole (bold or subtle, chic or elegant). Besides all of the above, the actual shape and size of your neck will also help determine the best choice for the length of your necklace.
By a rule of thumb, shorter women look good in smaller necklaces while taller women can beautifully accentuate their height with longer strands. The smallest size that one would find for a pearl necklace is about 10” long. Even on the most slender forms, this length will wrap itself closely around the neck. If a looser fit is desired, one should opt for a 14” or a 16”. An 18” size will sit on the collarbone. Known as princess necklaces, this is a very popular size for pearl necklaces. If you wish to have your pearls dangle on or just below your bust, consider buying a 22” – 24” necklace. For a greater length (such as those that will hang well below the bust or even the navel), you will need to choose in the range of 28 inches to 40 inches or more.
While choosing the right length, remember that necklace clasps add to their length and you must factor that in into your calculation. Also remember that if you are planning to add a heavy pendant, it will pull the necklace down a bit further and make it look longer.