Single Strand-Multi Strand: Split Design Necklaces

Fashion is influenced by past fashions. Designers are often inspired by designers of the past and the designs that were previously popular. The ascendance of necklaces onto the top spot in jewelry as a key fashion component this season has brought with it the re-introduction of a number of styles that a vintage jewelry lover like myself finds in her collection.

From the current jewelry styles of designers Proenza Schouler and Janis by Janis Savitt as pictured in the November 2009 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, for example, are split design necklaces. In this style, the necklace sweeps around the back of the neck in a single strand, usually interrupted by a clasp at back center, and from a large design element at each side somewhere below the neck in front, expands into multiple strands. The multiple strands may be arranged in a swag of nested strands or a cluster of strands or equal or similar length.


These two pictured designs take slightly different approaches. The Janis by Janis Savitt necklace uses as the side design element a knot created from the strands of chain included in the necklace. Below the knot, the necklace introduces several strands set with what appears to be colored crystals. The Proenza Schouler necklace, in contrast, adds large cube-shaped blocks at the dividing point between the upper and lower segments of the necklace. Again, it appears that new materials are added to the lower segment.

The split design style is a variation of the statement necklace so popular this season. The style provides a great deal of volume in front without as much bulk around the wearer’s neck. The multiple strands are effectively gathered together and controlled by the design elements at each side of the necklace.

In most cases, the split is intended to occur at the same visual height on each side of the necklace. Even a well-designed necklace, particularly if it is lightweight, may want to shift as it is being worn, placing those elements off-kilter. For someone meticulous about details, this can require overly frequent adjustment.

Particularly since “more is more” with today’s necklace styles, one styling trick that addresses the shifting necklace is to pin the necklace into place with one or a pair of brooches, attaching it or them either at the single strand portion of the necklace or below the split. Not only will this keep the necklace in place, it also adds a dash of unique personal style.

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