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What is a Choker Necklace?

By Jane Harmon
Updated May 17, 2024
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A choker necklace, often known simply as a choker, is a necklace that fits very tightly around the neck. It doesn't drape down to the collarbone or chest, but sits around the throat like a collar. The name choker necklace implies that if it were slightly tighter, it could choke the wearer.

This style of necklace may have developed from the fashion of wearing a ribbon around the neck. During the worst excesses of the French Revolution, young ladies in England and elsewhere took to the fashion of wearing red ribbons around their throats as a symbol of those who had perished at the guillotine -- perhaps the earliest use of ribbons as a gesture of sympathy and solidarity with a class of victims.

The choker necklace should not be confused with a torque or torc; these metal rings are not completely closed, but are a broken circle which can be bent to open. Torques are typified by heavy metal knobs where the circle is broken, often featuring elaborately incised artwork, which lay upon the collarbone.

Chokers in the Victorian or Edwardian era might feature a cameo, a type of carved medallion that could be worn as a pendant, on a ribbon tight around the neck, or as a brooch.

The choker necklace was also popular in the Roaring Twenties. Chokers are useful for calling attention to a slim and attractive neck, and perhaps for calling attention away from deficits elsewhere.

Today, this style of necklace can form part of a goth look. A black or red choker, with black lace gloves and a plunging neckline, can make one look quite suitable as a vampire's favorite victim. Chokers can also be used to make more forceful fashion statements. Leather chokers studded with metal can imply that one is nobody's victim.

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Discussion Comments
By serenesurface — On Feb 18, 2014

What is the best, most durable material for a choker necklace? I really like ones made of leather bu they're usually not very durable and fall apart quickly. I need something that lasts. Are beaded choker necklaces durable?

By SarahGen — On Feb 18, 2014

@Rundocuri-- Me too! I completely agree with you about choker necklaces drawing attention to the face. It also draws attention to the neck area, particularly the collarbone. I'm always told that I have a nice neck area. My neck is thin and long and my collarbone is very evident. So I wear a silver or crystal choker necklace for special events when I'm wearing dresses. Fashion experts always say that we should hide parts of our body that don't look very good and draw attention to parts that are beautiful. That's exactly what I'm doing.

By candyquilt — On Feb 17, 2014

Choker necklaces were very popular for a while but they seem to have fallen out of favor since 2010. I rarely see them nowadays but I'm sure that they will come back because that's what always happens with trends.

They were popular when I was growing up and also when I was a teenager, especially the black elastic ones. It was so popular among girls, almost all of my friends had one. For some reason, the same exact style of choker necklace was adopted as part of the goth look later. But that was not the case at all before, it was worn as fashion jewelry to match all sorts of styles.

By Heavanet — On Feb 16, 2014
I like the look too, Rundocuri, but I also think that this type of necklace looks great with casual wear. For example, a leather choker necklace with a blouse and jeans looks great for going out on a casual dinner date or to the movies with a group of friends.
By Rundocuri — On Feb 16, 2014

I love the look of a pearl choker necklace with an elegant evening wear gown. This type of jewelry draws attention to the face and clothing, and looks great with low necklines.

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