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A necklace is an article of jewellery that is worn around the neck. Necklaces may have been one of the earliest types of adornment worn by humans.  They often serve ceremonial, religious, magical, or funerary purposes and are also used as symbols of wealth and status, given that they are commonly made of precious metals and stones.
The main component of a necklace is the band, chain, or cord that wraps around the neck. These are most often rendered in precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum. Necklaces often have additional attachments suspended or inset into the necklace itself. These attachments typically include pendants, lockets, amulets, crosses, and precious and semi-precious materials such as diamond, pearls, rubies, emeralds, garnets, and sapphires. They are made with many different type of materials and are used for many things and sometimes classed as clothing.
Prehistoric peoples often used natural materials such as feathers, bone, shells, and plant materials to create necklaces. Evidence of early Upper Paleolithic necklace making in southern Africa and east Africa dates back to 50,000 BP.  By the Bronze Age metallic jewellery had replaced pre-metallic adornments.  Necklaces were first depicted in statuary and art of the Ancient Near East, and early necklaces made of precious metals with inset stones were created in Europe. 
In Ancient Mesopotamia, cylinder seals were often strung and worn as jewellery.  In Ancient Babylon, necklaces were made of carnelian, lapis lazuli, agate, and gold, which was also made into gold chains.  Ancient Sumerians created necklaces and beads from gold, silver, lapis lazuli and carnelian.  In Ancient Egypt, a number of difference necklace types were worn. Upper-class Ancient Egyptians wore collars of organic or semi-precious and precious materials for religious, celebratory, and funerary purposes.  These collars were often ornamented with semi-precious, glass, pottery, and hollow beads.  Beads made from a variety of precious and semi-precious materials were also commonly strung together to create necklaces.  Gold that was fashioned into stylised plant, animal, and insect shapes were common as well. Amulets were also turned into necklaces.  In Ancient Crete necklaces were worn by all classes; peasants wore stones on flax thread while the wealthy wore beads of agate, pearl, carnelian, amethyst, and rock crystal.  Pendants shaped into birds, animals, and humans were also worn, in addition to paste beads. 
In Ancient Greece, delicately made gold necklaces created with repoussé and plaited gold wires were worn.  Most often these necklaces were ornamented with blue or green enameled rosettes, animal shapes, or vase-shaped pendants that were often detailed with fringes.  It was also common to wear long gold chains with suspended cameos and small containers of perfume.  New elements were introduced in the Hellenistic period; colored stones allowed for poly-chromatic pieces, and animal-head finials and spear-like or bud shaped pendants were hung from chains.  Ancient Etruscans used granulation to create granulated gold beads which were strung with glass and faience beads to create colorful necklaces.  In Ancient Rome necklaces were among the many types of jewellery worn by the Roman elite. Gold and silver necklaces were often ornamented with foreign and semi-precious objects such as amber, pearl, amethyst, sapphire, and diamond.  In addition, ropes of pearls, gold plates inset with enamel, and lustrous stones set in gold filigree were often worn.  Many large necklaces and the materials that adorned the necklaces were imported from the Near East.
Later in the empire, following barbarian invasions, colorful and gaudy jewellery became popular.  In the Byzantine era, ropes of pearls and embossed gold chains were most often worn, but new techniques such as the use of niello allowed for necklaces with brighter, more predominant gemstones.  The Early Byzantine Era also saw a shift to distinctly Christian jewellery which displayed the new Christian iconography. 
2000 BC – AD 400: Bronze amulets embossed with coral were common.  In Celtic and Gallic Europe, the most popular necklace was the heavy metal torc, made most often out of bronze, but sometimes out of silver, gold, or glass or amber beads. 
AD 400 - 1300: Early European barbarian groups favored wide, intricate gold collars not unlike the torc.  Germanic tribes often wore gold and silver pieces with complex detailing and inlaid with colored glass and semi-precious stones, especially garnet.  Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian groups worked mainly in silver, due to a deficit of gold, and wrought patterns and animal forms into neck-rings. In the Gothic period necklaces were uncommon, though there are a few records of diamond, ruby, and pearl necklaces.  It was not until the adoption of lower necklines later in the Middle Ages that necklaces became common.
1400 – 1500: During the Renaissance it was fashionable for men to wear a number of chains, plaques, and pendants around their necks, and by the end of the 15th century the wealthiest men would wear great, shoulder covering collars inlaid with gems.  Women typically wore simpler pieces, such as gold chains, or strung beads or pearls.  By the end of the period, larger, more heavily adorned pieces were common among the wealthy, particularly in Italy. 
1500–1600: Long pearl ropes and chains with precious stones were commonly worn.  In the latter half of the century, natural adornments, such as coral and pearl, were joined with enamel and metals to create intricate pendants.  Heavily jeweled, delicately framed cameo pendants were popular as well.  Chokers, last worn commonly in antiquity, also made a resurgence at this time. 
1600–1700: Few men in the Baroque period wore jewellery, and for women necklaces were unsophisticated, often a simple strand of pearls or delicately linked and embellished strands of metal with small stones.   Later in the century, after the invention of new diamond cutting techniques, priority was for the first time given to the jewels themselves, not their settings; it was common for jewels to be pinned to black velvet ribbons.  Miniatures also grew in popularity, and were often made into portrait pendants or lockets. 
1700–1800: Portrait pendants were still worn, and in extravagantly jeweled settings.  The newly wealthy bourgeoisie delighted in jewellery, and the new imitation stones and imitation gold allowed them more access to the necklaces of the time.  In the early part of the century, the dominant styles were a velvet ribbon with suspended pendants and the rivière necklace, a single row of large precious stones.  By mid-century colorful, whimsical necklaces made of real and imitation gems were popular, and the end of the century saw a neo-Classical resurgence.  In the Age of Enlightenment gowns often featured a neck ruffle which women accented with neck ribbons rather than traditional necklaces, but some women did wear chokers inlaid with rubies and diamonds.  Seed pearls were introduced to the United States during the Federalist Era, leading to an increase in lacy pearl necklaces. 
1800–1870: The low necklines of the court gowns fashionable at this time led to the use of large necklaces set with precious jewels.  In Napoleon's court that ancient Greek style was fashionable, and women wore strands of pearls or gold chains with cameos and jewels.   In the Romantic period necklaces were extravagant: it was fashionable to wear a tight, gem-encrusted collar with matching jewel pendants attached and rosettes of gems with pearl borders.  It was also common to wear jeweled brooches attached to neck ribbons.  Some necklaces were opulent in that they were made to be dismantled and reconfigured into a shorter necklace, brooches, and a bracelet.  Highly embellished Gothic style necklaces from England reflected the crenelations, vertical lines and high relief of the cathedrals.  Empress Eugénie popularised bare décolletage with multiple necklaces on the throat, shoulders, and bosom.  There was also an interest in antiquity; mosaic jewellery and Roman and Greek necklaces were reproduced.  Machine-made jewellery and electroplating allowed for an influx of inexpensive imitation necklaces. 
1870–1910: The Edwardian era saw a resurgence of pearl necklaces, in addition to a dog-collar style of necklace made of gold or platinum with inset diamonds, emeralds, or rubies.  The Art Nouveau movement inspired symbolic, abstract designs with natural and animal motifs.  The materials used - glass, porcelain, bronze, ivory, mother of pearl, horn, and enamel - were not used for their value, but for their appearance.  
1910–1970: Chanel popularised costume jewellery, and ropes of glass beads were common. The Art Deco movement created chunky, geometric jewellery that combined multiple types of gems and steel.  By the 1960s costume jewellery was widely worn, which resulted in seasonal, ever-changing styles of necklaces and other jewellery.  Real jewellery that was common in this period included wholly geometric or organically shaped silver necklaces, and precious gems set in platinum or gold necklaces inspired by the time of the French Empire.  Love beads (a single strand of stone or glass beads) and pendant necklaces (most often made of leather cords or metal chains with metal pendants) became popular and were worn mostly by men. 
In Qing dynasty China, a court necklace called chaozhu (Chinese :朝珠), was worn by the Qing dynasty emperors and other members of the imperial family. The court necklace originated from a Buddhist rosary sent in 1643 by the Dalai Lama to the first emperor of the Qing dynasty. The necklace is composed of 108 small beads, with 4 large beads of contrasting stones to symbolize the 4 seasons, and was placed between groups of 27 beads. The necklace was also practical as it could be used for mathematical calculations in the absence of an abacus. 
In China, there is a custom of wearing a necklace with a longevity lock pendant. These lock charms were sometimes personally tied around the necks of children by Buddhist or Taoist priests.  The longevity lock is known as changmingsuo ( lit. 'longevity lock') and is an important form of amulet for children for thousand of years in Chinese culture. According to Chinese beliefs, the changmingsuo protect children from evil spirits and bad luck by locking its wearer's soul and life inside of the lock.  The changmingsuo is often made with precious materials, such as gold, silver, and jade, and having auspicious words carved on it.  This form of necklace continues to be worn in present-days China.
Yingluo (simplified Chinese :璎珞; traditional Chinese :瓔珞) was a ring-like neck ornament or fashionable necklace which was originally a Buddhist ornament depicted in Buddhist arts (e.g. sculptures and paintings) in China; the yingluo have roots in ancient India where its earlier prototype is the Indian ornament keyūra.   The depictions of the keyūra was introduced in China along with Buddhism .   The depictions of yingluo in China, such as those found in Dunhuang, evolved in shape and styles showing the cultural integration of foreign (non-Chinese) culture and the native Chinese culture due to the special characteristics of its geography.  The yingluo eventually evolved from an ornament in Buddhist arts and eventually became an actual necklace by the Tang dynasty.  The yingluo then became a classical form of necklace in Chinese society throughout centuries.  It continues to be worn in present-day, especially as a common hanfu accessory being used by Hanfu enthusiasts since the Hanfu movement.  It comes in variety of styles, shapes, and materials. 
Aboriginal Tasmanian women have been making shell necklaces from maireener ( Phasianotrochus irisodontes ) shells for at least 2,600 years, with some major collections in museums. The continuation of the practice is being threatened by reducing supply, and sixth-generation Palawa woman Lola Greeno is concerned that the practice will die out.  
Necklaces are typically classified by length:
Non-jewellery items are also used similar to a necklace to be worn on a neck, for example lanyards holding badges and cards.
A bead is a small, decorative object that is formed in a variety of shapes and sizes of a material such as stone, bone, shell, glass, plastic, wood, or pearl and with a small hole for threading or stringing. Beads range in size from under 1 millimetre (0.039 in) to over 1 centimetre (0.39 in) in diameter.
Jewellery or jewelry consists of decorative items worn for personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, pendants, bracelets, and cufflinks. Jewellery may be attached to the body or the clothes. From a western perspective, the term is restricted to durable ornaments, excluding flowers for example. For many centuries metal such as gold often combined with gemstones, has been the normal material for jewellery, but other materials such as glass, shells and other plant materials may be used.
A pendant is a loose-hanging piece of jewellery, generally attached by a small loop to a necklace, which may be known as a "pendant necklace". A pendant earring is an earring with a piece hanging down. Its name stems from the Latin word pendere and Old French word pendr, both of which translate to "to hang down". In modern French, pendant is the gerund form of pendre and also means "during". The extent to which the design of a pendant can be incorporated into an overall necklace makes it not always accurate to treat them as separate items.
A choker is a close-fitting necklace worn around the neck, typically 14 inch to 16 inch in length. Chokers can be made of a variety of materials, including velvet, plastic, beads, latex, leather, metal, such as silver, gold, or platinum, etc. They can be adorned in a variety of ways, including with sequins, studs, or a pendant.
Filigree is a form of intricate metalwork used in jewellery and other small forms of metalwork.
A mangala sutra, or thaali, is a necklace that the groom ties around the bride's neck in the Indian subcontinent, in a ceremony called Mangalya Dharanam ) within a Hindu wedding. The necklace serves as a visual marker of status as a married Hindu woman.
Jewellery as an art form originated as an expression of human culture. Body ornamentation, one purpose of jewellery, has been known since at least the Stone Age. The history of jewellery in Ukraine reflects the influence of many cultures and peoples who have occupied the territory in the past and present.
Khada dupatta is the traditional wedding dress of Hyderabadi Muslim brides in the Indian subcontinent. It is an elaborate wedding ensemble comprising a kurta (tunic), chooridaar, and a 6-yard dupatta.
This article refers to the jewelry of the Etruscan civilization and its differences in various eras.
Attire of Mangalorean Catholics refers to the traditional clothing of the Mangalorean Catholics from the Mangalore Diocese on the southwestern coast of India.
Native American jewelry refers to items of personal adornment, whether for personal use, sale or as art; examples of which include necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings and pins, as well as ketohs, wampum, and labrets, made by one of the Indigenous peoples of the United States. Native American jewelry normally reflects the cultural diversity and history of its makers, but tribal groups have often borrowed and copied designs and methods from other, neighboring tribes or nations with which they had trade, and this practice continues today. Native American tribes continue to develop distinct aesthetics rooted in their personal artistic visions and cultural traditions. Artists may create jewelry for adornment, ceremonies, and display, or for sale or trade. Lois Sherr Dubin writes, "[i]n the absence of written languages, adornment became an important element of Indian communication, conveying many levels of information." Later, jewelry and personal adornment "...signaled resistance to assimilation. It remains a major statement of tribal and individual identity."
The Middle Ages was a period that spanned approximately 1000 years and is normally restricted to Europe and the Byzantine Empire. The material remains we have from that time, including jewelry, can vary greatly depending on the place and time of their creation, especially as Christianity discouraged the burial of jewellery as grave goods, except for royalty and important clerics, who were often buried in their best clothes and wearing jewels. The main material used for jewellery design in antiquity and leading into the Middle Ages was gold. Many different techniques were used to create working surfaces and add decoration to those surfaces to produce the jewellery, including soldering, plating and gilding, repoussé, chasing, inlay, enamelling, filigree and granulation, stamping, striking and casting. Major stylistic phases include barbarian, Byzantine, Carolingian and Ottonian, Viking, and the Late Middle Ages, when Western European styles became relatively similar.
Tamil people have historically been connoisseurs of fine golden jewellery, which has a history predating the Sangam period in the Indian subcontinent. Ancient Tamil literature lists out the different types of jewellery worn by women historically from head to toe. Apart from gold, jewellery was also fashioned out of silver, copper and brass.
A bijou from the French bijou is an intricate jewellery piece incorporated into clothing, or worn by itself on the body.
Ancient Roman jewelry was characterized by an interest in colored gemstones and glass in contrast with their Greek predecessors, who focused primarily on the production of high-quality metalwork by practiced artisans. Extensive control of Mediterranean territories provided an abundance of natural resources to utilize in jewelry making. Participation in trade allowed access to both semi-precious and precious stones that traveled down the Persian Silk Road from the East. Various types of jewelry were worn by different genders and social classes in Rome, and were used both for aesthetic purposes and to communicate social messages of status and wealth. Throughout the history of the Roman Empire, jewelry style and materials were influenced by Greek, Egyptian, and Etruscan jewelry.
Diana, Princess of Wales, the first wife of Prince Charles, and mother of Prince William and Prince Harry, owned a collection of jewels, both as a member of the British royal family and as a private individual. These were separate from the coronation and state regalia of the Crown Jewels. Most of her jewels were either presents from foreign royalty, on loan from Elizabeth II, wedding presents, purchased by Diana herself, or heirlooms belonging to the Spencer family.
Hanfu accessories refers to the various form of fashion accessories and self-adornments used and worn with hanfu throughout Chinese history. Hanfu consists of many forms of miscellaneous accessories, such as jewelries, yaopei, ribbons, shawls, scarves, and hand-held accessories, etc.
Yupei is a generic term for jade pendants. Yupei were popular even before Confucius was born. Jade culture is an important component of Chinese culture, reflecting both the material and spiritual culture. Jade is deeply ingrained in Chinese culture and played a role in every aspect of social life; it is also associated with positive qualities and aspects such as purity, excellence, and harmony.Jade is even more valued than gold in Chinese culture. The history of the art of jade carving in China to make ornaments, including dress ornaments, extends back to before 5000 BC. Ancient Chinese held even greater importance to yupei after it was regarded as a moral integrity by Confucius. Yupei could be used as belt or waist ornaments and as necklaces which appeared as early as the Liangzhu culture. Strings of jade pendant are also used to decorate headwear, such as the mianguan.
Chaozhu, also known as Court necklace and Mandarin necklaces in English, is a type of necklace worn as an essential element of the Qing dynasty Court clothing uniform. Chaozhu were worn by the Qing dynasty Emperors and members of the Imperial family, by imperial civil officials from the 1st to the 5th rank and the military official above the 4th rank.
Yingluo is a ring-shaped neck ornament or fashion jewellery of Buddhist origins in ancient China with its earliest prototypes having roots in ancient India. In China, the yingluo was first used as a Buddhist ornament in Buddhist decorative arts, including sculptures and paintings such as the Dunhuang frescoes. The yingluo depicted as decorative Buddhist art elements and was later imitated and turned into an actual elegant necklace by the Tang dynasty. It was then widely adopted as a classical necklace in Chinese society for centuries and as a head-wear. It was also used the hanfu of Chinese women where it was used as a neck ornament or jewellery, and was especially favoured by the Chinese court ladies in ancient times. The yingluo could also be used as a textile pattern which would applied on Chinese clothing. The yingluo gradually lost popularity as it lost its appeal due to the changes in people's sense of aesthetic and aesthetic needs in modern times. However, it currently continues to be worn as a common modern-day hanfu accessory by Hanfu enthusiasts since the Hanfu movement and can appear in various styles and materials.