How to Shorten a Necklace: 5 Effective Ways & Alternative Tips

Have you ever found a necklace that you absolutely love, only to realize it's too long for your liking? Whether it's a cherished heirloom or a trendy piece that caught your eye, knowing how to shorten a necklace can make it perfect for your style.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to determine the desired length for your necklace, explore five effective ways to shorten it, and provide additional tips to ensure the best results. By the end, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to customize your jewelry to fit your needs perfectly.

woman adjusting necklace

Determining the Desired Length for Your Necklace

Before we delve into the specifics of how to make a necklace shorter, it's essential to first determine the perfect length for your desired look. The right necklace length can enhance your outfit and complement your style, so taking the time to measure accurately is crucial. Here's how to find your perfect length:

Consider Your Body Type and Neckline:

  • Short Necklaces (Choker Length 14"-16"): Ideal for those with longer necks or petite frames. Choker necklaces sit close to the neck and draw attention upwards, creating an elongating effect.
  • Medium-Length Necklaces (Princess Length 17"-18"): This versatile length falls just below the collarbone, complementing most necklines and body types. It's a classic choice that works well for both casual and formal occasions.
  • Long Necklaces (Matinee and Opera Length 20"-36"): Matinee-length necklaces typically fall at the center of the bust, while opera-length necklaces extend below the bust. These longer styles are flattering for taller individuals or those with fuller figures, as they create a lengthening effect.
  • Measure Your Neck:

    Use a flexible measuring tape to measure your neck's circumference. Add an inch or two for comfort, depending on how snugly you prefer your necklace to fit. Keep in mind that choker necklaces should fit comfortably without feeling too tight or restrictive.

    Use an Existing Necklace as a Reference:

    If you have a necklace that sits at your preferred length, use it as a guide. Lay the necklace flat and measure it from end to end. This will give you an accurate measurement to aim for when shortening your necklace.

    Experiment with Different Lengths:

    If you're unsure about the length, use a piece of string or ribbon to experiment. Cut a few pieces at different lengths and try them on to see which one suits you best. This method allows you to visualize how different lengths will look before making any permanent changes.

    5 Ways to Shorten a Necklace

    Now that you've decided on your desired length, let's move on to the specific shortening steps. Here are five practical methods on how to shorten a chain necklace or other type to perfection.

    1. Remove Links

    Suitable for: Chain necklaces with removable links. This is one of the best options if you're looking for how to temporarily shorten a necklace.

    Tools: Needle-nose pliers, wire cutters (if necessary).


    1.Identify the excess links.

    2.Use the pliers to open the jump rings connecting the links.

    3.Remove the desired number of links.

    4.Close the jump rings securely.

    2. Adjust the Clasp Position

    Suitable for: If you are asking how to shorten a chain necklace without cutting it, adjusting the clasp position can be an effective method.

    Tools: Jewelry pliers, jump rings, replacement clasp (if needed).


    1.Open a jump ring with jewelry pliers.

    2.Remove the existing clasp from the necklace.

    3.Move the clasp to a new position, closer to the desired length.

    4.Attach the clasp using the jump ring, and securely close the ring with the pliers.

    3. Re-thread Beads

    Suitable for: Beaded necklaces with excess length.

    Tools: Beading wire, crimp beads, wire cutters.


    1.Measure and cut a suitable length of beading wire.

    2.Remove excess beads from one end of the necklace.

    3.Thread the remaining beads onto the new wire.

    4.Secure the ends with crimp beads.

    5.Trim any excess wire.

    4. Use Necklace Shorteners

    Suitable for: If you're wondering how to make a necklace shorter without cutting it, then a necklace shortener can be a valuable tool. They come in various designs, often resembling small clasps, rings, or tubes, and can be made from different materials such as metal or plastic.

    Tools: Necklace shortener (available at jewelry supply stores)


    1.Open the necklace shortener.

    2.Loop the necklace through the shortener until it reaches the desired length.

    3.Close the shortener to secure the necklace in place.

    5. Cut and Re-attach the Clasp

    Suitable for: When it comes to how to shorten a chain necklace, cutting it and re-attaching the clasp is the most straightforward method.

    Tools: Wire cutters, jewelry pliers, jump rings, clasp (if necessary).


    1.Measure and mark the desired length on the necklace.

    2.Use wire cutters to cut the necklace at the marked point.

    3.Open a jump ring with jewelry pliers and attach it to one end of the cut necklace.

    4.Attach the clasp to the jump ring and close it securely.

    necklace adjustment

    Additional Tips for Necklace Shortening

    In addition to these fundamental steps on how to shorten necklace chain or thread, consider the following tips to achieve optimal results:

    Seeking Professional Assistance for Complex Shortening Tasks

    In some cases, necklace shortening may involve intricate design elements or specialized techniques that require professional expertise. Consider the following scenarios where seeking professional assistance is advisable:

  • Complex Designs: If the necklace features intricate patterns, delicate chains, or valuable gemstones, entrust the shortening task to a skilled jeweler with experience in handling complex designs. Professional jewelers possess the necessary tools and expertise to ensure precise alterations without compromising the necklace's integrity.
  • Antique or Vintage Pieces: For antique or vintage necklaces with historical significance or sentimental value, consult a reputable antique jeweler or restoration specialist. These professionals have the expertise to assess the necklace's historical context and recommend suitable shortening methods that preserve its authenticity and charm.
  • Custom Modifications: When custom modifications are required, such as integrating additional elements or converting the necklace into a different style, consult a jewelry designer or custom jeweler. These professionals can collaborate with you to conceptualize and execute personalized modifications tailored to your preferences.
  • Alternative Solution: Layering or Double-Wrapping

    If shortening your necklace isn't an option or you prefer not to make permanent changes, there are creative alternatives to consider. These methods allow you to style your necklace in different ways, making the most of its length while adding a unique touch to your look.

  • Layering: Layering is a popular technique that involves wearing multiple necklaces of varying lengths together. Embrace the trend of layering by incorporating the elongated necklace into layered jewelry arrangements. Pair it with shorter necklaces or chains of varying lengths to create a stylish layered look that adds depth and dimension to your ensemble.
  • Double-Wrapping: Double-wrapping is a technique where you wrap a long necklace around your neck twice to create a layered effect with a single piece of jewelry. This method is especially effective with chain necklaces and beaded strands. Employ this method to transforms your long necklace into a stylish, double-layered piece. This not only offers a quick and easy solution without any tools or alterations, but also maintains the original design and integrity of the necklace.
  • layered gold necklaces


    Mastering how to shorten a necklace can transform an otherwise unworn piece of jewelry into a favorite accessory. By understanding how to determine the ideal length and using the right techniques, you can achieve a perfect fit for any necklace. Whether you choose to tackle the task yourself or seek professional help for more complex adjustments, this guide provides all the information you need. And if shortening isn't the right solution, consider creative alternatives like layering or repurposing your necklace. With these tips, you'll be able to customize your jewelry collection and enjoy your pieces in new and stylish ways.


    How do you permanently shorten a necklace?

    To permanently shorten a necklace, you'll need to remove excess links or segments. Tools like pliers and wire cutters are handy for this task. Carefully measure the desired length before cutting to avoid over-shortening. After cutting, reattach the clasp securely. Consider seeking assistance from a jeweler for intricate designs or valuable pieces.

    How to shorten a thin necklace?

    Shortening a thin necklace requires delicate handling. Utilize fine jewelry tools like precision pliers and small wire cutters. Measure the desired length accurately to ensure a proportional adjustment. If the necklace has a delicate chain, opt for a professional jeweler's expertise to avoid damaging the piece.

    How to shorten a necklace without cutting it?

    To shorten a necklace without cutting it, you can use a necklace shortener or a clasp that allows for adjustable length. Another method is to loop the necklace to double it up, securing it with a small clip or brooch at the back or side. This technique works well with longer necklaces and adds a stylish twist to your look.

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