focus on the collar necklace | minusOne jewelry

Focus on the Collar Necklace

May 16, 2024 | costume jewelry

Vintage collar necklaces can be found in an array of price ranges, depending on the brand and the materials used.

Several are in my personal collection, and several more in my shop.

I’ve been hoarding these Egyptian revival 80s Monet collar necklaces since I first stumbled across them several years ago. I’ve put a few of my All that Jazz collection up for sale.

Vintage Monet All that jazz cuff necklace parure | 80s does Art | Egyptian collar necklace | minusOne jewelry
Vintage Monet All that jazz cuff necklace parure | 80s does Art | Egyptian collar necklace | minusOne jewelry

I’m always on the look-out for my next great find.

Here’s what one feels like, because feeling them is the best part.

What is a collar necklace?

A collar necklace is a short choker of repeating links that maintains a standard width the entire way around the necklace, often with a hidden clasp.

What’s the difference between a collar and a choker necklace?

A collar is short, like a choker necklace, but a choker can be thin or wide, reduce or gain in dimension around the necklace, and have variations in style around the chain.

This bakelite choker necklace (c. 1938) is by Heinrich Grosse, a name that would be associated with Christian Dior jewelry in the latter half of the 1950s.

It’s a choker, but not a collar.

platinin and bakelite choker necklace by Henrich Grosse for Henkel & Grosse, c. 1938 | Focus on the collar necklace | minusOne jewelry

A collar, unlike the basic choker above, maintains a standard width around, most often has a repeating style, and is usually wider than average.

This bakelite necklace, also by Grosse, made ten years earlier (c. 1928) is a classic collar.

platinin and bakelite collar necklace by Henrich Grosse for Henkel & Grosse, c. 1928 | Focus on the collar necklace | minusOne jewelry

The metal links are a branded and patented faux platinum called Platinin.

What is Platinin?

Platinin is a metal alloy patented by Henkel & Grosse in the 1920s. It’s found in Art Deco era jewelry designs, eye glasses, and other accessories. It has the hardness and luster of platinum, without the high cost.

Its worth is comparable to sterling silver, albeit a bit higher, since some pricey platinum exists in Platinin.

Simulations of precious metals were popular during the interwar Art Deco period, both due to technological advances that made plating and mass market alloys possible, and also to the middle-class demand for goods that looked expensive.

Oreum, simulated gold, is another example of an Art Deco “faux” metal used in jewelry.

When were jewelry collars popular?

Collar necklaces have been found in the art and burial places of ancient civilizations, including ancient Egypt and ancient Rome.

When jewelry designers look to ancient Egypt for inspiration, they frequently come away with a collar necklace.

This Monet advertisement is clearly channeling Cleopatra.

Like the choker necklace, collars are reported to have come in and out of style. (Just google “the choker is back!”)

But that’s just hype to sell newspapers. Wear a collar, and no one will fault you for being out of style or out of season.

During the Art Deco period, Josephine Baker popularized the collar by wearing the “giraffe” collars in gold-simulation Oreum made by Jean Dunand.

Jean Dunand Giraffe collar necklace set

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 10: Josephine Baker, circa 1927, wearing large hoop earrings, looking away from camera with chin resting on angled shelf (Photo by George Hoyningen-Huene/Conde Nast via Getty Images)
Josephine Baker, circa 1927

Before even Art Deco, the “dog collar necklace” was in style during the 19th century.

What is a dog collar necklace?

A dog collar necklace is a short necklace that sits closer and higher on the neck than a standard necklace, and is even shorter than a choker.

A dog collar necklace was often made of a wide ribbon featuring a cameo or other pendant in the center.

Here, it’s unclear if the fashion shown is a dog collar necklace, or a large brooch pinned to an actual high fabric collar.

The dog collar necklace officially “set the fashion stage” in the early 1950s.

And lo here’s Charlize Theron wearing a dog collar by Boucheron at the Academy Awards in March 2024.

Charlize Theron wearing a dog collar by Boucheron at the Academy Awards in March 2024.
Getty Images | Charlize Theron wearing a dog collar by Boucheron at the 2024 Academy Awards

If you’ve got a neck, I say, why not?

Are collar necklaces still popular?

Collar necklaces will always be popular, even if fashion journalists aren’t including them in the headlines.

But because they’re more expensive to produce than basic chain necklaces, being often made from heavy, high-quality cast links that require a lot of material, few contemporary costume jewelers make collar necklaces.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t still find them within budget.

Which costume jewelry brands made great collars and chokers?

The best collar necklaces were made in the USA by CINER and Monet from the 1950s until well into the 1990s.

Monet collar necklaces

Monet made collars in the USA from the 1950s through the 80s.

This Marchesa collar necklace is a great example of the intricate and heavy cast links Monet used in the 1950s and 1960s.

This Marchesa collar necklace is a great example of the intricate and heavy cast links Monet used in the 1950s and 1960s.
Marchesa collar necklace by Monet

This two-tone collar – called the Colleta – was designed by Elda Krecic in 1976. I found two of them on eBay today!

Monet advertisement collar necklace

And here, a collar and matching cuff from Monet’s quintessentially 80s DIRECTIVES line.

Monet DIRECTIVES collar necklace

Here’s another from the same era. Although closed with a chain instead of maintaining a consistent dimension all the way around, I’m hard-pressed not to call this a collar.

focus on the collar necklace | minusOne jewelry

Monet made too many collar necklaces to number. Check out Monet: The Master Jewelers by Alice Vega if you want an enumeration of more

Or just search eBay. Holy cow, there are so many.

CINER collar necklaces

For a costume jewelry lover, there’s no greater find than a heavyweight gold plated CINER broad collar necklace.

CINER’s look was sometimes minimalist, with a focus on heavy single-tone gold collar necklaces and hefty wide bracelets.

It’s these pieces that are my personal favorites. They stand apart with their classic designs, and their ability to reproduce the look and feel of real gold.

Gold CINER collar necklace | vintage 60s stretch choker | minusOne jewelry
Gold CINER collar necklace | vintage 60s stretch choker | minusOne jewelry

An iconic CINER design is the granulated collar.

Wide or skinny, with matching bracelet or without, studded with faux gems or not, a granulated CINER collar is always heavy and always fabulous.

One of the coolest parts about a CINER collar, in addition to the way it moves, is the detail of the underside of the cast links.

The underside has been detailed with scrolls and circles. The carver only had to do it once, and blam! every link is cast with stunning hidden detail. Thank you, unknown tool guy!

CINER pieces are heavy, have the highest quality clasps and settings, and always feature a classic design.

This one is called a “panther” link. It’s smooth and soft and heats up when you wear it.

CINER panther link necklace

CINER jewelry are statement pieces in a minimalist style that are collectible because they remain so wearable.

Collar clasps and closures

Many collar necklaces have hidden clasps so that the necklace design remains uninterrupted all the way around your neck.

If you’ve ever worn a collar with a truly hidden clasp, you’ll know just how difficult it can be to take a collar off at the end of the night.

The clasp is sometimes too well secreted away to be found without a mirror or a second set of eyes.

But even this basic clasp makes a collar adjustable, often up to six inches, while at the same time making the piece more affordable to produce.

This Monet textured choker (below) has a specialized link created for the clasp so that the repetition of the link pattern isn’t interrupted.

Instead of setting the clasp in the center, the clasp is off-center on one half of the chain, and there’s a “hanging” link that nestles into the space on the other side.

The Monet Marchesa collar, introduced above, has two clasps, both in back. Again here, Monet created specially-cast links.

But I don’t know how this clasp style even works.

What happens when both clasps are undone? No idea.

Let’s presume it comes off.

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