Your Guide to Layering Necklaces

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woman wearing three layered necklaces
Kirsten Francis

These days, it's not enough to wear just one chain. "Layering or curating your jewelry is another expression of personal style, and it's also a great way to wear all the various chains you've collected over time," says Reshma Patel owner of Brooklyn, New York, fine jewelry boutique, Quiet Storms.

How exactly does one pull off the on-trend look? "Start with your favorite piece, or something you wear everyday, and then build from there," advises Patel. However, this doesn't mean you need to throw on half your jewelry collection. "You can achieve a dynamic and beautiful combination with just two chains," she says. "It's not always about numbers." In fact, the expert prefers two contrasting pieces over three or four similar style chains. "It looks more intentional and interesting, and gives each necklace a chance to stand-out."

When it comes to creating your look, don't be afraid to mix metals, textures, and fine and fashion jewelry together. "Jewelry is collected over one's life, so the chance that every chain looks alike is highly unlikely," she says. "There's beauty in combining old with new, 18-karat yellow gold with sterling silver and so forth."

One trend that isn't slowing down is the popularity of pendants. "Antique coins, baroque pearls, and mix-and-match charms have been popular this year," says Patel. "I love the idea of adding a glass ring or an antique signet ring to a longer chain as an unexpected pendant."

While one special pendant hints at a chapter of your story, several layered together tell the whole fascinating thing. Compose a lyrical look that name checks things with personal meaning: family members' initials, souvenirs like an Egyptian pyramid, or an ode to your favorite hobby.

Click through here for some of our favorite finds—they're all perfect for layering.

01 of 12

Play with Proportions

necklaces length illustration four types
Brown Bird Design

If you have sensitivities to certain alloys or just prefer one metal over another, try playing with proportions, says Patel. For example, you could mix a 24-inch chain with a shorter 18-inch pendant necklace. "You can add one more pendant necklace to sit between the two or closer to your neck, if you want a little more color, texture, and sparkle," she says. For those who are more daring, Patel suggests trying something unexpected, like pairing a pearl or opal choker with a longer minimal or masculine chain. "Sometimes our favorite pairings happen through experimenting with chains of different widths, and the coming together of unlikely colors and textures."

02 of 12

Wear Your Coins

Loren Stewart Coin Pendant Necklace
Courtesy of Quiet Storms

This dainty chain featuring a coin pendant—a big jewelry trend—is perfect for layering.

Loren Stewart Coin Pendant Necklace, $295,

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Vintage Finds

four vintage charms acorn banana bunch lipstick sailboat
Peter Ardito

Looking for just the right object that holds dear to your heart? Find great vintage styles, like these, at Bison Bullion, Jan Palombo Design, and Pamela's Pearls.

04 of 12

Keep Them Close

Tiary'Oh, Halo There Roped Charm
Courtesy of Tiary

Put a rope around the one you love with this vintage-inspired charm featuring a letter of your choice.

Tiary "Oh, Halo There" Roped Charm in 14-Karat Gold, $333,

05 of 12

Find Your Spirit Charm

Rembrandt Charms Tulip Charm
Peter Ardito

Rembrandt Charms has a whole section of adorable home and garden related charms such as flowers, sewing machines, pruning scissors, and more.

Rembrandt Charms Tulip Charm, from $26,

06 of 12

Statement Gemstone

Mojo Supply Co. 'Mila' Horn Pendant
Peter Ardito

The light green fluorite gives this pendant a calming vibe.

Mojo Supply Co. "Mila" Horn Pendant, $9,

07 of 12

Wear Your Heart on Your Neck

King Jewelry Supplies 24-Karat-Gold M L E Charms
Peter Ardito

These bold chunky letters are the perfect tribute to the ones you love.

King Jewelry Supplies M, L, and E Charms in 24-Karat Gold, $1 each,

08 of 12

Mystical Moon

Mojo Supply Co. 'Georgina' Moon Pendant
Peter Ardito

These sweet moon shaped pendants are gold plated and made from pearl shells.

Mojo Supply Co."Georgina Moon" Pendant, $8,

09 of 12

Go Sleek and Minimal

Jenny Bird 'Sila' Pendant
Courtesy of Jenny Bird

This slender drop pendant adds edge to any outfit.

Jenny Bird "Sila" Pendant, $115,

10 of 12

Say It with Style

Rhonda Lynne Jewelry 14-Karat-Gold S Charm
Peter Ardito

This classic gold initial pendant is perfect for the mom in your life.

Rhonda Lynne Jewelry S Charm in 14-KaratGold, $65,

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Add Color

Pascale Monvoisin aquamarine diamond necklace
Courtesy of Quiet Storms

The dreamy colors of this necklace—pink gold chain, aquamarine and diamond pendant—add subtle color to your look.

Pascale Monvoisin Aquamarine Diamond Necklace, $495,

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In Need of Luck

Rembrandt Charms Horseshoe Charm
Peter Ardito

Wearing a lucky charm always makes the day a little better.

Rembrandt Charms Horseshoe Charm in Gold, $165.76,

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