Rapaport Magazine
Style & Design

Go for the Throat with Vintage Chokers

By Phyllis Schiller

From simple circlets to bejeweled strands, these close-fitting necklaces offer fashionable versatility, says dealer Nadine Krakov. 

What differentiates a choker from other necklaces?

Generally speaking, a choker is a neck-hugging jewelry style. Compared to other types of necklaces, it sits higher on the neck and is a great way to underline your collarbones and a neckline. Chokers are very easy to wear as long as the length is right. It should fit your neck without causing any kind of discomfort.

Other than that, chokers are uncomplicated pieces of jewelry and can be worn by nearly anyone. For instance, for a shorter neck, one can choose a thinner, minimalistic choker, and it will look great.

What are some of the different styles? Which maisons and designers are most in vogue today?

Chokers come in all possible varieties and forms. From a simple gold wire to complex pieces like the one by Mellerio (see above), the range of materials, shapes and sizes is wide. Vintage chokers were often made of pearls, crystals and glass beads.

Probably the most famous choker of the 20th century was the one created for Diana, princess of Wales. It’s composed of a sapphire brooch converted into the clasp for a stunning seven-strand pearl choker. Diana famously wore it in 1985 when she danced with [actor] John Travolta at the White House.

Our top five jewelry designers…whose chokers are popular are Chanel, Tiffany & Co., Cartier, David Webb, and of course, Bulgari. The latter Italian maison offers an extensive variety of chokers, including the famous Serpenti, glossy Parentesi, ancient-looking Monete — the list goes on and on, and all are extremely popular.

What has kept this type of necklace in demand through the decades?

Versatility is the key. Perhaps because chokers come in so many forms and shapes, they can pair well with any outfit, from V-necks to button-up tops. They are easy to wear and always stand out. And chokers are great for layering. Our clients look for wearable pieces they could put on as often as possible. The right choker can be worn on multiple occasions, which is one of the reasons why this style is still around.

What are some contemporary ways to wear vintage chokers?

Vintage jewelry is always in fashion. The most elegant and simple way to wear any vintage choker is to pair it with a white T-shirt without adding other jewelry. The opposite of the minimalistic approach is layering with a “the more, the merrier” rule. You can use various types of necklaces with different designs and lengths. Simple pieces usually fuse together better than several statement necklaces.

How available are the more popular styles? What do you look for when choosing what to stock?

The more popular styles sell quickly. Choker lovers know exactly what they are looking for, [whether] it’s a certain designer or material or style. There is no rule of thumb when we are choosing what to stock, but we always balance following the trends with our own taste and how we feel about the piece. We love all things beautiful and perfectly made, and at the end of the day, this is what our clients love as well.

Who is Nadine Krakov?Nadine Krakov Collection, a family-operated business that owners Nadine Krakov and Yan Kats founded in 1997, offers an eclectic selection of antique and estate jewelry from the 1890s to today. Having started at California’s Antiquarius Center, it has been located in the Beverly Hills area for the past 15 years. It also serves clients through its online store and via 1stDibs and eBay. Its jewelry has appeared on red carpets, in movies, and on television.

Image: Nadine Krakov Collection

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

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