Professional Jeweler Archive: Five Classic Lengths for Pearls

February 2001

For Your Staff/Selling Styles

Five Classic Lengths for Pearls

This is the 13th in a series of articles we're presenting on jewelry styles. Learning different styles, selling points and where they come from can make your job more interesting and profitable

Pearl jewelry design has undergone a renaissance in the past two years. But some of the most popular pearl jewelry remains the simple strand, whether short and sweet, long and dramatic or somewhere in between.

Here are the typical pearl strand lengths with the accompanying name. Remember pearls should be strung with a knot between each one so they don’t rub or fall off if the string breaks.


The choker is a 14-16-in. necklace whose center pearl lies in the hollow of the throat or just below.


This 16-20-in. necklace is suitable for enhancers and can slenderize the neck visually. The term and style go with the princess dress, a close-fitting style with gores from neck to flaring hemline.


Some women like to wear the 20-26-in. matinee length along with a choker. It’s also commonly strung with two hidden clasps so it can be worn as a bracelet and shorter necklace.


This 28-36-in. style can be twisted or doubled and held with a clasp to create a multistrand necklace closer to the neck. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was often worn full length with eveningwear.


Also referred to as a sautoir, this 40-in. style is worn loosely from the shoulders, usually extending below the waist. Some have a jeweled pendant or tassel at the bottom. In the 19th century, it was often draped over only one shoulder.

– by Lorraine M. O’Donnell, A.J.P.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications