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Necklace Terms

Find out what common necklace terms mean with this glossary. When shopping for jewelry, the more you know, the better prepared you are to purchase. Here are some of the most common necklace terms you need to know.

Bail
A bail is the metal part of a pendant which the pendant hangs from on the chain.

Barrel Catch (or barrel clasp)
Named because of the resemblance to a barrel, this clasp connects two ends of a chain necklace with two halves which screw together.

Box Chain
One of the strongest chain types, it uses small links to form interlocking boxes.

Box Clasp (or tongue-and-groove clasp)
Used to attach two ends of a chain, the box clasp uses a box with a notch on one end and a metal spring that slips into the box. When the two are joined, it locks the clasp in place.

Byzantine Chain
A byzantine chain contains multiple oval links that are connected in a way that they form a woven chain.

Cable Chain
A cable chain is any chain comprised of round or oval links all the same size.

Choker
A style of necklace that sits close to the neck. It is usually 14 to 16 inches long.

Clasp
A clasp is an adjustable catch, bent plate, or hook that joins two ends of a necklace to create one closed loop. Clasps can be simple or hidden, as well as ornate to add to the design.

Collar
Typically, a necklace that sits close to the neck with strands hanging down. It is usually 12 to 14 inches. It sits higher up than a choker.

Curb-link Chain
A curb-link chain is made of oval links which can lay flat while interlocking.

Foxtail Chain
A foxtail chain is an elaborate chain containing three rows of links braided together.

Herringbone Chain
A herringbone chain uses small, slanted links that fit together tightly at an angle and form a flat chain.

Hidden-box Clasp
Perfect for styles that hide the clasp, this is a clasp that is hidden under the last link of the chain.

Lariat
Typically, a cord necklace, it features two open ends that hang in the front which can be left loose or tied in a knot.

Links
Links are the loops, whether round, square, oval, or other shapes, that join together to form a chain.

Lobster-claw Clasp
The lobster-claw clasp uses a hook like a hinged lobster claw to secure one end of a chain to a ring on the other end. This is one of the most secure clasp types.

Locket
A locket is a hinged case pendant on a chain that is typically designed to hold a photograph or other small memento.

Matinee
Perfect for a semi-formal occasion, this type of necklace is 20 to 25 inches long. It can be worn for day or night since it is a versatile length.

Opera
When worn at the usual length of 28 to 34 inches long, this is a formal style of necklace. They can also be doubled around the neck twice for a daytime look that offers layers.

Princess-length Necklace
These tend to be the most popular necklaces because they are ideal for everyday wear. They are usually a length range from 16 to 19 inches.

Rope Necklace
A long necklace that is usually 37 inches or longer meant for formal wear. It is a dramatic style since it usually hangs down to the waist or below.

Snake Chain
A bendable chain style that uses metal rings connected side by side instead of the usual link method. They are named because they look similar to a snake in appearance.

Spring-ring Clasp
A popular clasp, the spring ring is one end of the china and a hook sits on the other. The ring has a small tension tab that opens a gap to allow for the hook to be looped through.

Toggle Clasp
A simple closure that lets a bar pass through a circle to create a lock. It is one of the easier ones to use.

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