Necklaces & Chains

Necklaces are ornaments worn around the neck. They are one of the earliest forms of adornment. Beaded necklaces were prevalent in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Babylon. Beads were made from carnelian, lapis lazuli, agate, and gold. In Ancient Greece, elegant and delicate gold necklaces set with gemstones were worn by women. In Ancient Rome, pearl necklaces were worn by members of the elite. Necklaces were not as commonly worn in the medieval or baroque period but surged in popularity in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as the necklines on women’s dresses became lower. Velvet ribbons with pendants, pearl collars, and riviere necklaces were all popular during this period. Empress Eugenie of France popularised the layered necklace look, as she often wore many necklaces at once. During the Edwardian period, pearl necklaces became popular and have remained a popular style staple ever since. Bentley & Skinner are pleased to stock a wonderful range of necklaces, including pearl necklaces, ribbon necklaces, chokers, beaded necklaces, torques, and necklaces set with a variety of fine diamonds and coloured stones.

Chains are another ancient form of adornment. A chain is a series of links that connect and fit together. They have been made for thousands of years and are used in jewellery for many purposes. It was the Ancient Egyptians who first threaded delicate links of gold and silver together, creating chains not dissimilar from the ones worn today. Chains became wildly popular in the Victorian era, as both men and women used them functionally to hang pocket watches, fob watches, gloves, muffs, and more. These Victorian chains are distinctively long and weighty, and although modern popularity for pocket watches has waned, these chains make ideal necklaces. Bentley & Skinner carry a wonderful array of chains. We have a fine array of necklace chains in different styles such as muff chains, barrel and link chains, curb chains, and belcher chains. Heavier chains were popular in the Victorian era, while more delicate chains are more common with contemporary jewellery today.

Bentley & Skinner are delighted to stock the work of contemporary jewellery Lucie Heskett-Brem, known as the Gold weaver of Lucerne, who uses ancient and long-forgotten techniques to painstakingly create delicate and detailed chains by hand. These chains are magical, one-of-a-kind pieces, and are imbued with the kind of craftsmanship used thousands of years ago.