What is the difference between a necklace, choker, pendant and chain?

When buying a piece of jewellery online, people often ask what the actual difference is between a necklace, pendant, choker and a chain.

There are some simple easy differences and then some things are more open to individual interpretation. We will help explain these for you.


What is a necklace?

A necklace is a piece of jewellery that hangs round the neck and is usually of a similar design the whole way round rather than having a feature pendant in the centre. An example of a necklace would be our Cannes Necklace (pictured below). A necklace can vary in length from a short 15-16” “Choker Style” necklace to a longer necklace around 30”. Necklaces often feature Gemstones and Pearls which is where they differ from chains which are usually just Silver, Yellow Gold, Gold Vermeil or Rose Gold. A pearl necklace is another very good example of a necklace and is a good illustration of how a necklace differs from a chain. A necklace is a very generic term and can be used to interpret anything that fastens around the necklace however, it is generally usually used to describe the above specifications.

Cannes Gold Green Amethyst NecklaceWhat is a chain?

A chain is usually a fine necklace made up of links. Chains are used for hanging pendants onto and come in a variety of lengths, styles and with varying options for clasps. Chains can be very fine or very thick depending on the style you are looking for (see example image below). A chain is very classic and usually very plain with no gemstones, features or specific designs. Chains come in a variety of styles – from a snake chain (that resembles a snake), a curb chain (flat links that join together very tightly), a trace chain (that have links that resemble a paper chain) to a rope chain (that looks like a rope). They are traditionally used to hang pendants onto and can be very fine or very heavy. A chain is usually something that people wear with a pendant and not just on its own unless it is a heavy design that is a feature in itself. It is very trendy to wear lots of chains layered together if you are looking for trendy jewellery. This can be combined with a pendant and a necklace too.



What is a pendant?

A pendant is a small charm or token of jewellery that hangs onto a chain with a loop. A pendant hangs from a chain and can usually be removed or put on allowing you to wear at different lengths if required. Pendants are different from necklaces as they have the feature in the centre of the chain which hangs down unlike a necklace where the feature is all the way round. Multiple pendants can often be worn together in a cluster on a chain for example two or three engraved pendants representing someone’s children or siblings (see example image below). Pendants can be just Silver or Gold but it is also a popular choice to find pearl pendants and gemstone pendants too. A locket is a very good example of a pendant, which is a popular keepsake style of jewellery.



What is a choker?
A choker is simply a short necklace that fastens round the neck and doesn’t hang down. They are usually 14-15” depending on the size of the neck. Neck sizes do vary hugely so a choker for one person can be a necklace for another. You can sometimes find chokers with pendants in the centre as a feature but usually chokers are like necklaces and are the same all the way round. Chokers can also be made from fabric not just metal. Pearl Chokers were hugely popular in the early 19th Century to mid 20th century with a rows of pearls making these up which you will often see in portraits.


When choosing a necklace, pendant, chain or jewellery set, it is useful to know these differences so that you can make the right decision. From choosing online pearl jewellery to multiple pendants on a chain, you want to find the perfect combination of jewellery and the right necklace for you.