Necklaces are such a staple part of a jewelry collection. Whether ornate or simple, they can help to complete an outfit or act as the central piece in a more understated ensemble. And none is more classic and ideal than a gold necklace.
Why buy a gold necklace?
Gold is a classic choice for many people, with a hue that tends to complement almost all skin tones. While you can find gold in other colors (think rose gold, white gold, and even varying shades of yellow), the classic yellow gold chain—whether dainty or chunky—will usually go with almost anything. And thanks to a wide array of design options, the possibilities are limitless.
What should you consider when shopping for a gold necklace?
- Material: Not all gold is equal. When shopping for necklaces, you’ll often find a few different options. Genuine gold will not only usually cost you more but will be stamped with the specific karat weight (i.e., 12K, 14K, 18K, etc.). Pure gold is 24 karats (24K) and, while pretty, is incredibly fragile. Most other gold karat weights are alloys—meaning that another metal is mixed in with the gold to add durability (and lower the cost). However, there are also options like gold-plated. These are necklaces where the base metal has been covered with gold alloy. While ideal for budget shoppers, the gold will wear off over time. Vermeil refers to jewelry where a gold alloy layer has been applied over sterling silver. Of the gold-covered materials, this one tends to be the most durable. And finally, you’ll find gold-tone descriptions for fashion jewelry that contains no actual gold. Of all the gold necklace options, this one should be avoided for people with sensitive skin because even when a product claims to be hypoallergenic or nickel-free, there’s still a risk of irritation once the gold color wears off.
- Color: As we mentioned earlier, it’s possible to get more than simply yellow gold. While yellow gold is the classic or traditional option, you can also opt for white gold or rose gold. Classic yellow gold tends to be universally flattering for all skin tones. But thanks to modern interpretations of gold jewelry, both rose gold and white gold are increasingly popular options.
- Chain Length: Chain length refers to how long the actual chain is from end to end. In some cases, this might include what’s known as an extender length—a section that allows you to lengthen the chain thanks to an added inch or two of links. Length is usually measured in inches or centimeters. The longer the chain, the lower it will hang. Popular lengths are usually between 16 to 20 inches.
- Clasp: The last thing you want is a chain that falls off 10 minutes after you fasten it. One of the most common clasp styles is the lobster claw, which features a spring-loaded tab that must be pulled back so that you can slip the loop into the clasp. But there are other options as well. Just be sure that if you pick a necklace with a less common clasp, you can easily get the necklace on and off your neck on your own and that it’s secure when around your neck.
- Design: Finally, design matters. With gold necklaces, there are a lot of options that include not just the chain style and diameter, but whether or not the chain is ornate or minimalist with pendants, inset stone, or charms as well. Regarding the chain, the most popular options include rope, cable, box, and snake. These styles tend to be most popular for everyday wear. But there are many different styles out there.
Are gold necklaces a good investment?
Even if you’re not an avid jewelry wearer, gold necklaces are timeless accessories that you can pair with almost anything. For that reason alone, this makes them an excellent investment, especially if you’re buying genuine gold necklaces. And if you’re trying to create heirloom pieces that can be passed down to future generations, real gold is a solid choice.
Aoebi Pearl 18K Gold Paperclip Chain Choker
A necklace ideal for layering to create a statement accessory look.
Pros: You can’t go wrong with a choker. The shorter length means that you can wear it with virtually anything. Meanwhile, the cute bead and chain design is a timeless choice that will work for both everyday situations and dressier occasions. This necklace is 18-karat gold-plated and can easily be worn alone or layered with other necklaces of differing lengths to create visual interest.
Cons: While affordable, gold plating is known to wear with time. So, if you intend to keep this in regular rotation, know that there’s a good chance you might need to eventually replace it. Additionally, the 16-inch choker length may be uncomfortable for some people with necks that have a wider circumference.
Bottom Line: Whether you’re adding a great accent necklace to your collection or looking for a core piece to use as a starting point, this satellite choker gold necklace is a great option, thanks to its affordable price point and 18-karat gold content. But because it’s gold-plated, be aware that the gold color may fade with regular use.
NUZON Gold-Plated Choker Necklace
A bolder choker design that's perfect when worn solo.
Pros: Chokers are a classic necklace style. But gold chains tend to be dainty designs. This bold herringbone chain has a sleek and sophisticated style even though it features a bolder 5-millimeter width. You’ll get a 16-inch chain with a 2-inch extension. It’s made with nickel-free, hypoallergenic 14-karat gold with an upgraded EP vacuum technology to ensure its luster.
Cons: You’ll be disappointed to learn this necklace can turn a different color and may make your skin turn green over time.
Bottom Line: If you prefer a solitary statement necklace, this herringbone 5-millimeter wide choker is perfect for everyday wear—if not, it pairs well with other necklaces for a trendy layered look. The herringbone design is a bold alternative to your basic gold chain.
Turandoss Handmade 14K Gold Plated Dainty Layered Choker Necklace
A modern twist to creating statement accessory looks.
Pros: If you can’t figure out this whole layered necklace trend, then you’ll appreciate necklace sets like this that do the heavy lifting of choosing for you. This three-piece set comes with a 16-inch choker, an 18-inch bar necklace, and a 23-inch pendant. Wear them together or separately if you prefer.
Cons: Once again, while pretty and affordable, the biggest issue here is going to be that the necklaces are gold-plated. Depending on the base material (which isn’t disclosed), this can cause skin sensitivities for some wearers after the gold plating wears off.
Bottom Line: Stay on trend with this three-piece necklace that allows you to layer chains without worrying about them tangling. And if you’re shopping on a budget, the 14-karat gold plating will help you look stylish without breaking the bank.
Trendsmax Initial Letter Pendant Necklace
A bold pick for monogram fans.
Pros: Monogrammed jewelry (including initials) continues to be on-trend and shows no signs of stopping. If you want something that’s more unisex in nature, you’ll appreciate the bold initial pendant paired with a 22-inch box link chain. This option is perfect for gifting, and all letters of the alphabet are available.
Cons: While the brand claims this is a gold-plated product, a lack of details regarding actual karat value leads us to believe that this is most likely not real gold (even of the plated variety).
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a fun, trendy piece of jewelry to add to your collection, this is a great accent to incorporate into your jewelry box. It isn’t the highest quality, but it’s a nice affordable pick.
Jewelry Atelier 14K Solid Yellow Gold Filled Figaro Chain Necklace
A premium option for more discerning jewelry fans.
Pros: For those who view jewelry shopping as an investment, this Figaro solid 14-karat yellow gold-filled necklace is a serious upgrade. Filled gold will last longer, although it commands a higher price tag. While this style might lend itself to a more masculine design, it is unisex and is available in different widths and lengths. Choose from 2.8, 3.7, 4.7, and 5.6 millimeters for the length and from 18 to 30 inches in length.
Cons: Some people may not feel this is a true unisex chain given the heavier nature of the design. And others may simply wish that it was available in other finishes like white or rose gold.
Bottom Line: When you’re ready to invest in jewelry that’s designed to last, this Figaro chain is a smart choice. The width and length varieties allow for more customization.
YOUFENG Locket Necklace
Keep your sweetest memories and loved ones close to you in this pendant locket necklace.
Pros: Looking for something on the sentimental side? This stunning, intricately designed pendant locket necklace is a perfect choice. It’s made with durable, hypoallergenic stainless steel with gold plating on the outside with a floral engraving. The round pendant measures 2 inches while the chain is 18 inches, making it a versatile size for most people. It comes with a purple velvet drawstring bag for easy gifting and protection.
Cons: The hinges are weak, making the pendant hard to stay clasped.
Bottom Line: Surprise your loved ones with this lovely locket that can hold their favorite memories near their heart. It’s a classy, timeless piece of jewelry for young and old.
Gold necklaces should be a staple piece in your jewelry collection because when you choose wisely, they’re designed to last and often feature timeless styles that can transcend trends. While gold quality can vary widely from gold-filled and solid gold to gold-plated and fashion jewelry, there are plenty of options that work for a wide range of budgets and tastes.