Pendant Buying Guide – All You Need to Know

Pendant Buying Guide – All You Need to Know

Even though there are innumerable jewels for a woman to adorn herself with, there are a few  unique jewels she cannot miss in her special armoire. The swinging pendant is definitely one of them. The beauty and appeal of this ornament lies in this very quality of swaying stylishly.

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In fact, the word ‘pendant’ is derived from the Latin root meaning, ‘ to hang down’. So, all objects that hang down or dangle are called pendants. In this guide, however, we will confine ourselves to exploring the only the most popular pendants – those pertaining to jewels.

Pendants are such handy accessories that can instantly brighten your outfit and make your presence felt. They have this unique combination of sentimentality and modernism. They can help you carry off traditional wear and modern dresses with easy elegance.

How to select a pendant?

As with all other jewelry and fashion accessories,  there is no end to the choice of pendants available in the market. Selecting your perfect pendant will depend on several factors like the occasion of wear, the outfit you will wear it with and more importantly, the type of chain or necklace it will be paired with. Depending on the wearer’s choice, necklaces can be chosen in a range of materials, styles and lengths. Let us classify necklaces based on their lengths first.

Pendant for necklaces and chains

The length of a necklace depends on the gender and the neck-width of the wearer. Men’s necklaces and chains are generally longer than a woman’s. It can be difficult to judge the length required, especially if the purchase is made online, but the thumb rule is to buy two to four inches more than the width of your neck. It may be a good idea to drape a measuring tape around your neck to the desired length and take measurements.

The size of a pendant, its weight and its shape are usually determined after taking  the length of the necklace into   consideration. First decide on your outfit and depending on the neckline, choose a necklace and pendant that will accentuate your look and style. Have a fair idea of where the pendant will sit when you are weighing your options.

Here is a list of the lengths considered suitable for different ages and gender.

  • Baby necklace – 12 to 14 inches
  • Young girl’s necklace – 12 to 15 inches
  • Older girl’s necklace – 14 to 16 inches
  • Teenager necklace – 15 to 18 inches
  • Adult choker or bib necklace – 14 to 16 inches
  • Adult Princess necklace – 18 to 20 inches
  • Adult matinee necklace – 22 to 23 inches
  • Adult opera necklace – 30 to 35 inches
  • Adult rope necklace – 35 inches or more
  • Adult lariat necklace – 35 inches or more

Depending on the neck size, a 10 to 14 inch necklace will wrap very close to your neck. For this reason it is often called a collar. If you prefer to have a looser fit, consider a 16 inch chain which will sit just above your collar bone. It is referred as the choker.

An 18 inch necklace is longer than a choker but will still sit near your breast bone. These necklaces are very common and are called Princess necklaces. If you wish to have a necklace that sits below the collarbone but above the neckline, then a 20 inch necklace would be a great choice. It is preferred for using with pendants and lockets. The 20 inch necklace is also called a matinee necklace.

A 22 inch necklace will lay above the bust. A 24 inch necklace will lay at or just below the centre of the bust.  A 28 to 38 inch necklace will hang below the bust. Any necklace longer than 38 inches will hang below the navel. Long necklaces are usually wound two or three times around the neck to make them shorter or to give a layered effect.

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Pendants for specific necklines

First of all, decide on the outfit you are going to wear the necklace with. The neckline of your dress plays an important role in the choice of the necklace and the pendant that goes with it. Different necklines look better with different styles of necklaces and pendants. Take a look at this list.

  • Halter necks – give an impression of a narrow V. A simple, short necklace with a pendant that has a pointed end.
  • Button down shirt (with collar) – as there is not much space for chunky wear, a choker would work well if you have a slender neck. Else, wear a thin chain with a pendant that is near the last open button.
  • V neck – any necklace that matches the shape of V. Choose depending on width of the V, wide or narrow. A pendant with a tapering end is preferred.
  • Scoop neck – as there is a lot of space to fill, you can wear layered beaded necklace or chunkier ones. A chain with multiple pendants is also in vogue.
  • Strapless – chokers look great with these.
  • Turtle necks – long necklaces are a perfect match.
  • Asymmetric necklines – wear a necklace that also has asymmetric design. Otherwise select a long string of a mixture of beads of different shapes.
  • Cowl neck – a string of beads will be good with this neckline.
  • Crew neck – short necklaces like collar or bib style are suitable.

When you buy a pendant, consider your body type also. A person with a large build should preferably adorn herself with larger and more conspicuous pendants. Likewise, a petite person is better off wearing cute and delicate pendants.

Men and boys are usually seen sporting crosses or emblems and logos of their favorite teams.

Types of pendants

Since pendants are the dazzling eye-catchers of a necklace, they are to be chosen with care. There are far too many types to be enumerated here but here is a list of the more popular choices.

Solitaire diamond pendant

A diamond, with its sparkle and glitter, has a timeless appeal. A diamond solitaire may be considered the ultimate and dream pendant to purchase.  For this reason, we have dedicated a separate section providing information on choosing the perfect diamond pendant.

Diamond and gemstone Solitaire

It is more fashionable and trendy to have a diamond flanked on either side by gemstones like garnets, rubies or sapphires. This setting is observed to bring out the glitter of the diamond to its brilliant best. Sometimes, clusters of gemstones are used with diamond to form shapes like heart, circle or oval. These are an essential part of a lady’s armoire because the myriad of colors allows them to complement any outfit from her wardrobe.




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Solitaire pendants of garnet, sapphire, ruby, amethyst and emerald are also sought after because of their elegant look and versatality in matching most colors. They are mounted on gold, silver or platinum base.

Pearl Solitaire pendants

Pearls are also beautiful stand-alone pendants. Pearls have a classic aura about them. They have been considered as symbols of beauty and purity through the ages. Traditionally, they came in strands but today, they are regarded as both contemporary and classic. Before you buy a pearl, you must know a few basic information that would not only help you narrow down your choices but also ensure that you buy the best.

All about Pearls

Pearls, whether they are natural or man-made, are produced by a mollusk. It produces layers of nacre (pronounced as NAY ker) around some irritant inside its shell. In the case of natural pearls, the irritant may be another organism from the sea. When pearl is cultured, the irritant will be a bead of mother-of- pearl or a piece of tissue that is manually inserted into the mollusk, to start the process. In both cases, the quality of pearl, its lustre and shine, will be determined by the quality of the nacre.




Ideally, a pearl should have a smooth surface free from any marks. Generally pearls have definite shapes – round, oval, pear- shape. Sometimes they are misshapen. Such pearls are called baroque pearls. There are many types of pearls to choose from. Each of them has its own peculiarity. Have an idea about the common types of pearls available in the market.

  • Natural pearls – These are the rarest and the most expensive. They were once found abundantly in the Persian Bay. Unfortunately, they have all been harvested and no longer available.
  • Cultured Pearls – These are grown on pearl farms. Mollusks are raised till they are old enough to get mother-of-pearl bead inside them.  A technician implants them by performing a delicate surgery and releases it back. It is cared for till the pearl is formed. Not all produce a pearl and not all the pearls are of sterling quality.
  • Salt water pearls – These cultured pearls are usually 2mm to 20 mm in size. The Akoya cultured pearls grown in Japanese and Chinese waters are of this type. They are white or cream in color and have a round shape. Such pearls are also cultured in Indonesia, Australia, and the Philippines and go by the name, South sea pearls. They are large in size, from 9mm to 20 mm and can be natural white, cream or golden in coloration. Tahitian pearls are grown not only in Tahiti but also in various islands of French Polynesia. They range between 8 mm – 16 mm in size and are in gray, blue, green or purple. Collectively, they are called black pearls.
  • Freshwater pearls – These pearls are grown in fresh water sources like rivers, lakes, and ponds and are predominantly grown in China. They resemble the cultured Akoya pearls in shape and color, they can be made in a myriad of shapes and a multitude of pastel colors. Most of them don’t have a nucleus in the bead. So, this type of bead usually has a much thicker nacre than the Akoya pearl.
  • Imitation pearl – These are not pearls at all but glass beads that are coated. They have high shine and   But the depth of luster is not as much as it is in high quality cultured pearls. Imitations can be immediately recognized by seasoned jewelers. Identifying a cultured pearl from an original can be a challenge.

Buying a diamond pendant

The dream buy of every jewel lover is undeniably the diamond pendant. A diamond is for eternity! It symbolizes undying love and loyalty. Many engagements and marriages are sealed with a necklace having a solitaire diamond. It is not merely a style statement but an expression of sentiment.

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If you plan to buy a diamond pendant, you’d better get your basic Cs right – Color, Cut, Clarity , Carat weight.

Every diamond is unique. Nature has ensured that the diamond you are to gift your loved one is peerless! It is one of a kind.


A diamond’s color is graded by GIA (Gemological Institute of America). The GIA color scale categorizes colors on a scale of D (colorless) to Z (light yellow/brown). It is extremely difficult to find a colorless diamond and most of the jewelry is made with colorless diamond with a brown or yellow tint. A diamond is color graded by comparing it to a master set. Each letter denotes a specific color and grading is done by observing how noticeable that color is.


The GIA standard for cut of a diamond ranges from Excellent to Poor and applies to diamonds that are color graded by GIA standards. A polished diamond’s beauty depends on its interaction with light. How the light strikes the surface, the amount of light entering the diamond and the way it finally reaches the eye of the beholder, will determine the diamond’s sparkle.

There are three attributes to the cut.

Brightness is the total of all white light that is reflected from the interior as well as the surface of a diamond.

Fire refers to the flares of colors that are emitted by a diamond.

Scintillation is the flashes of light observed whenever the diamond, observer or the light moves.

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All these attributes contribute to the overall quality of a diamond. So, it is important to cut a diamond in perfect proportions and symmetry. It must be polished to optimize its reflective quality and have maximum brightness, fire and scintillation.


The GIA has eleven grades for judging the clarity of a diamond. It starts with Flawless, which is nearly impossible to find. Since diamonds are formed as a result of being subjected to very high temperature and pressure, some innate characteristics are unavoidable. In fact, these very ‘imperfections’ are helpful in distinguishing an original from a fake!

Carat Weight

One carat of diamond equals 200 milligrams in weight. If the weight is lesser than this, then points are used. Each carat is equal to 100 points.

So, 1/2 carat = 50 points and 3/4 carats = 75 points.

Pendants in other materials

Though diamond and other stone-studded pendants rule the roost on special occasions, pendants made of other materials are also popular. The perennial favorites are gold and silver for obvious reasons. They do not lose their color or shine very soon and as valuable metals, they are a good investment too. Gold does not oxidize or rust. Gold is available in many gradations depending on your budget. For intricate designs, gold of lesser purity is preferred.



Pendants made of shells and beads are very popular among younger girls. Platinum pendants are also in fashion now. Hand crafted pendants in a wide variety of materials are available in the market.

Tips on caring for your precious pendant

Pendants are dazzling but delicate pieces of jewelry. If you handle them with care and maintain them well, they could last for generations and become prized family heirlooms. Here are a few tips to follow.

  • Make a mild cleaning solution with soap and water.
  • Soak your pendants of gold, silver and gem stones in them for a few minutes.
  • Then take them out and clean gently.  A soft tooth brush could be used.
  • Wipe them dry with a lint-free soft cloth.
  • Don’t soak pearl or other soft gems like this.
  • Clean them with a soft cloth dipped in cleaning liquid.