Rapaport Magazine
Style & Design

All strung out

These necklace styles are must-haves for your customers’ jewelry collections.

By Beth Bernstein

Images: Christina Alexiou; Syna 

Charmed, I'm sure

Medallions and pendants with sentimental, symbolic and spiritual motifs continue to hold customers’ attention. Charm necklaces represent the magical and momentous occasions in our lives, yet also speak to what we need or desire and how we will carry it forward.

Love, luck, protection, guidance and direction are the significant themes in collections from Christina Alexiou, Marlo Laz, Storrow, Colette, Ileana Makri, Circa 1700 and Foundrae, among others.

“Our customers can’t get enough charms,” declares Lesley Davis of Lesley Ann Jewels in Houston, Texas. “They are a great way to switch up an established jewelry wardrobe. Just add in a few charms, mix them around, and suddenly your old chains feel brand new. We’re particularly enjoying teaching our clients how to switch up the classic charm necklace by wearing them on chunky bead chains. A front-facing clasp with a couple different-sized charms layered together is a look we are seeing a lot of right now, and we are loving it.”

All choked up

Chokers encircle the neck with everything from bejeweled-garland grosgrain designs to yellow gold. Diamond and ribbon editions appeared on singer Billie Eilish at this year’s Met Gala — an Edwardian/Belle Époque look from estate jeweler Fred Leighton — and on actress Eva Longoria at the Cannes Film Festival. Flexible chokers and torque necklaces in yellow gold and diamonds evoke images of dancing the night away under flashing disco balls in the 1970s. They also recall the sophisticated, powerful essentials of the ’80s career woman à la Robert Lee Morris’s creations for fashion brand Donna Karan — the bold gold choker peeking out of a crisp white shirt. It’s all back with a joyful and sexy new spirit.

“Chokers and collars have always been very popular with our clients,” says Caroline Muller, cofounder of Paris-based jeweler Mad Lords. “They are worn close to the neck, so it’s hard to miss them and easy to layer with them.”

Anne Russell agrees. “They are gaining a lot of traction,” says the executive vice president of Hamilton Jewelers in Princeton, New Jersey. “Therefore, we are bringing in more styles for the new season. Designers that excel in this theme include Anita Ko, State Property, Walters Faith and Ashaha.”

Go long

Lariats, bolos and the more classic fixed Y-necklace may differ in their details, but one thing they all have in common is streamlined simplicity and sex appeal.

Y-necklaces are just what they sound like: necklaces shaped like a Y. Some tend to be longer, while others dip down just enough to emphasize the décolletage. A small gemstone may mark the center of the Y — where the two top ends meet in front of the chest — while the strand that hangs down from it may feature a larger medallion, bar or row of diamonds. A lariat can have a Y-shape as well, but rather than being fixed in place, the center point is traditionally movable, allowing the necklace to fall at different lengths. Lariats can also wrap around the neck two or three times before dangling down in a single strand that suspends a diamond or boasts a motif. Bolos are similar in that they feature a movable central piece, but they tend to have two hanging ends rather than one, reflecting their origins in the American west’s leather or suede bolo ties.

“We are encouraging clients to try on different styles,” says Russell. “We teach them to add a lariat for a more dramatic neckline, and…once they start adding more necklaces, clients start to realize that they can wear pieces they haven’t thought of wearing before and have more fun with their jewelry.” Mindi Mond, Deborah Pagani, Jemma Wynne, Cicada and Melissa Kaye are some of the brands that have taken the plunge into this category.

Station break

A fun and flirty alternative to charm necklaces is the multi-drop station style, which features different cuts of diamonds or gems dangling from points along a fine chain. Zoe Chicco, Jacquie Aiche, Syna, Anne Sisteron, Jade Trau and other designers are showcasing these elegant yet effortless pieces in a range of price points for everyday wear.

“Multi-drop station necklaces are very much loved by our customers, particularly Jacquie Aiche’s versions,” reports Muller. “We offer a variety of different styles at the boutiques, and they’re a perfect pick if you’re looking for a simple accessory to finish up your look. It’s totally fine to wear them by themselves, but we find our customers like to layer them with other necklaces.”

Davis concurs. “They always play well with others. Adding in a multi-drop station necklace is a great way to add some dimension and a level of texture for a visually dynamic layered look.”

Red-carpet glam

This past awards season provided plenty of inspiration for dazzling diamond and gemstone neckwear. Drippy, shimmering bibs, fancy-cut diamond eternity necklaces, floral- or leaf-inspired motifs, and glittering pendants graced A-listers’ necks at the Academy Awards, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, the Met Gala and the Cannes Film Festival. Think of actress Julia Roberts’s Chopard necklace at Cannes, with its yellow-diamond center stone of over 100 carats, or the two stunners from Bulgari’s high-jewelry line that adorned actresses Julianne Moore and Anne Hathaway at the same event.

Jewelers such as Kwiat, Rahaminov, Brent Neale, Ruchi New York, and Nikos Koulis have all created necklaces that evoke red-carpet luxury but are more accessible in look and price. They’re still investment pieces, but they’re ones you can wear with just about anything in your wardrobe, from the throw-on nonchalance of a T-shirt to the sophistication of a black-tie ensemble. These necklaces declare that we want to dress up again, be happy, go out, and look to the future while looking like celebrities ourselves.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - July 2022. To subscribe click here.

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