Pearl necklace lengths

” A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls” – Coco Chanel

To continue on from my post yesterday, ‘Pearl Basics’, I am going to discuss the names of the different lengths of pearl necklaces (and, in fact, all necklaces).


This measures 10 to 13 inches or 25 to 33 cm in length.  It sits directly against the throat and does not hang.  Collars can be a single strand or a multiple strands of pearls.

Caterina Sagredo Barbarigo by Rosalba Carriera, cir. 1740. Wearing a single-strand pearl collar and pendant pearl earrings

Pearl choker

This measures 14 to 16 inches or 35 to 41 cm in length.  It nestles just at the base of the neck.

Princess length.

This measures 17 to 19 inches or 43 to 48 cm in length.  It comes down to or just below the collarbone.

Matinee length

This measures 20 to 24 inches or 50 to 60 cm in length and it falls just above the breasts.

Opera length

This measures 28 to 35 inches or 70 to 90 cm in length.  It usually reaches the breastbone or sternum.

Pearl rope or Sautoir

This measures more than 45 inches or 115 cm in length. It is any length that falls down farther than an opera.

Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy is wearing a multi-strand choker and a rope of pearls, possibly with matching bracelet and earrings

Necklaces can also be classified as uniform or graduated. Freshwater pearls, Tahitian pearls and South Sea pearls must all measure to within a millimeter to be considered uniform. They are called ‘tin-cup’ when they are separated by lengths of chain.

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