The Ultimate Guide To Men’s Pendant Necklaces
A pendant necklace is a small addition that can have a huge impact on your look. Here's how to stay on the right side of tasteful, so you swerve any Ali G jibes.
We start with a public service announcement: when it comes to accessorising, you’re no longer limited to a single, lonely wristwatch. In fact, you never have been. Indeed, men have been wearing necklaces since the first seashell was strung on a piece of twine.
Thankfully, pendant necklaces have come a long way since those early days, and now there’s a design for every taste and confidence level – whether it’s a classic St Christopher, a Gothic skull or a minimalist ID tag.
Adding the finishing touch to a plain slub tee or elevating a classic white shirt, a necklace is small (mostly) but mighty in style impact. Case in point: the recent global Fashion Weeks were packed full of models sent down the runways masterfully adorned in chunky bead necklaces, sternum-brushing chains and statement pendants. The outfits? Still ultra slick and fashion forward, of course – but those jewels stole the show.
So, make like the style icon you are and add a touch of bling to your look this season. To help you stay the right side of tasteful, our guide below covers everything from metal type and chain thickness to the designers and jewellery brands making the very best necklaces for men.
What to consider when buying a necklace
If you’re a virgin in the art of jewellery, silver is a safe and stylish way forward.
Easy to pair with most men’s go-to colour palette – olive, navy, beige and black – silver is a subtle yet masculine material choice. Aim for 925 sterling silver, which you can easily verify by checking for the 925 hallmark stamp. This will help avoid any ‘greening’ of your skin – a tell-tale sign you cheaped out when purchasing.
Stainless steel is irrefutably masculine, with its solid feel and durable qualities. An excellent choice for men who are always on the go, stainless steel jewellery can easily keep up with your hectic lifestyle. It won’t tarnish, corrode or rust, so it stays looking shiny and new no matter what mischief you get up to.
Requiring little to no maintenance, stainless steel is perfect for the low-key, low-effort man.
Cortés was on to something with all that gold – this treasured material has always denoted wealth, and is a timeless choice when it comes to jewellery. That is, it’ll never go out of fashion – and we say that with total conviction.
Opt for 14 karats and above whereever possible, as cheap gold often looks it. To keep costs down, many designers offer gold-plated silver/brass options these days, but again make sure you’re paying for extra karats rather than just the brand name.
As a rule, thinner chains (3mm to 5mm) are the most versatile and can be worn just as easily on their own as with a pendant. This is a great starting point if you’re a newbie.
Thicker chains (6mm to 20mm), on the other hand, fare much better when worn sans-pendant. Indeed, the thicker the chain, the bolder the statement. Anyway, aesthetics aside, you’ll struggle to get any pendant on one of those bad boys.
The most popular length of chain for men’s necklaces is 20 inches. On an average neck, this should sit on the collarbone. A 20-inch chain works well with lots of top options, from crew-neck tees to casual shirts to V-neck jumpers, since it’ll subtly peek out of your collar or slightly overlap your neckline.
However, if you’re looking for a chain with a pendant, consider opting for a 24-inch length. This means the pendant will rest around your heart, which for most guys is preferable to having it sit right on your upper chest.
Generally speaking, lone chains are the minimalist choice. That’s assuming you’re not going for a mammoth 25mm show-stopper, anyway. Our two cents? Leave those for Run DMC and Mr T. If you’re simply seeking a subtle outfit accent, a solitary silver or gold chain measuring around 18 to 22 inches is perfect.
On the other hand, pendants offer plenty of scope for individuality. Remember our rule of thumb, though: if you’re opting for a pendant, set it on a longer chain – 24 inches is the ideal, here.
Pendant necklaces can be worn tucked in, leaving a small slither of chain exposed, or layered over a T-shirt for a more confident finish – just don’t be the guy still donning deep V-neck tees and shirts unbuttoned to the naval to show off your jewellery, please.
Pendant size and style
Pendant designs are as numerous as men who wear them, so you’re sure to find one that reflects your style and personality. From a silver cross to a Celtic trinity to the ubiquitous ID tag, the possibilities are limitless.
For example, you can embody effortless style with a simple ingot, or showcase your passion for travel with a compass pendant.
We’re sorry to break it to you, but in the case of pendants, size matters. And, of course, how you style it.
The bigger the pendant, the bolder the effect. So, consider whether you’re aiming for Harry Styles-esque showmanship or if you’d simply like to add an understated accent to your outfit.
The best men’s pendant necklace brands
The clue’s in the name with Le Gramme. The Parisian jewellery brand names its pieces after their weight – a simple and pared-back approach that reflects its design ethos.
Expect geometrically-inspired pendants on delicate chains that let the clean lines do the talking. From 925 silver to yellow-gold plating and masterfully mould-breaking mixes of gold and silver, Le Gramme will bring a touch of je ne sais quoi to any fit.
Minimalist in both style and selection, A.P.C. makes necklace shopping a streamlined experience. Go as simple as you like with a gold-tone brass chain or err on the side of statement with an edgier pendant piece.
None of the designs are what we’d consider ‘out there’, but nor are they wallflowers – they epitomise that sense of effortless Parisian cool the label is so revered for.
David Yurman helps you make waves with your outfit thanks to its exquisite men’s necklace selection, where you’ll find everything from chunky 18-karat gold to barely-there silver and hard-hitting titanium.
Go with a naked chain or embellish it with one of the striking pendants – Gothic, Egyptian and Pagan-inspired designs will guarantee your ensemble won’t slip under the radar.
Not for the faint-hearted, Thomas Sabo offers eye-catching, interminably masculine necklaces with an edgy, Gothic feel.
Add a splash of vibrant colour to a black shirt with a semi-precious stone design (think turquoise and tiger’s eye), or showcase your fearlessness with a snake, dragon or skull pendant.
Expect eclectic fusions of gold, silver and onyx, wrought into arresting designs you won’t see elsewhere.
If you’re searching for an intriguing pendant that beckons a closer look, Miansai is your destination. The contemporary jewellery brand is well-known for its beaded bracelets, but its necklaces are just as desirable and sought-after.
Bestselling pieces include low-key vermeil gold chains bejewelled with precious stones, as well as fresh twists on classic symbols, from tigers to saints and crowns. Great for injecting some personality and developing a signature look, opt for the emblem that speaks to you the most.
Scosha is a one-stop shop for edgy bohemia. Featuring a heady mix of semi-precious stone pendants (perfectly circular for an irresistibly polished finish), unfussy medallions and delicate chains in a variety of lengths, the Brooklyn-based brand’s jewellery is relaxed yet refined.
We like the personalisation options available for many of the pendants, so you can truly put your stamp on it.
For those seeking unrivalled brand cachet and commendable craftsmanship, Saint Laurent is the answer. Discover slim chains offsetting quirky pendants, which include everything from a Victorian heart charm to religious iconography to delicate drop pendants.
Many styles comes in a choice of metal, so you can opt for head-turning gold or stay slick with silver – whatever suits your look best.
Although he was taken from us too soon, Sarah Burton has done a stellar job continuing the late Alexander McQueen’s boundary-pushing, avant-garde approach to design.
So, when it comes to jewellery, expect to find reimagined takes on omnipresent designs – from twisted skulls to snakes and spiders – all peppered with that signature McQueen macabre.
Much like his legacy, these pieces are built to endure, with the majority wrought from durable brass and finished with antique silver.
Pick up one of Gucci’s necklaces and nobody will doubt who you’re wearing – especially as a lot of the designs are unabashedly finished with the instantly-recognisable interlocking ‘double G’ logo.
Outside of logo pendants, you’ll also find bold chunky chains in 925 sterling silver, NSFW studded necklaces and daring tribal pendants, all oozing opulence and that typical Gucci swagger.
Giles and Brother
Giles and Brother craft exquisitely designed pendants and chain necklaces that feel decidedly personal. With many pieces inspired by history and geography, the brand’s jewellery collection has a lived-in, authentic feel.
Erring on the side of vintage, anchors and knots reign supreme, while colourful beads accompany keys and medallions, putting a contemporary spin on the classic styles of yesteryear.
Progressive and innovative, Balenciaga stays true to form with its men’s necklace collection. Predominantly rendered in silver, the French luxury brand’s designs are for those who want something fashion forward and will turn heads.
From punk-inspired thick chains to logo-encrusted necklaces, you’ll find idiosyncratic pieces that will quietly yet decisively take centre stage in your fit.
Tom Wood’s pendants and chain necklaces exude understatement and androgyny. Deftly pushing boundaries with dainty unisex chains and hints of turquoise, onyx and quartz, the collection offers both classic minimalism and free-spirited styles with a mystic twist.
Head there for everyday chains and statement pendants alike – Wood is a master of all trades.
Eco-warriors, art enthusiasts and those seeking a more sustainable approach to fashion will love Alighieri. Aside from its USP (every piece is inspired by its namesake Dante, no less), the brand prides itself on its ancient lost-wax casting technique and use of 100% recycled gold and silver.
Check out its breathtaking talisman-style pendants plated in 24-karat gold and the satisfyingly rustic sterling silver pieces.
Luxury house Maison Margiela leads the way for up-to-the-minute men’s jewellery, with stand-out, chunky pieces echoing a gilded past. Indeed, these timeless designs would look equally at home in an ancient royal court as a modern-day rooftop terrazzo.
With defiant branding and matte finishes being the order of the day, Margiela’s pendants and chains are confident, bold and authoritative – like everything the label produces.