Beaded Necklaces

One of the most versatile accessories, the classic bead necklace has been a wardrobe staple from Cleopatra's day to Coco Chanel's. Handmade bead necklaces made of amber, bone and glass once adorned the necks of kings and queens. Today, modern materials make bead necklaces accessible to everyone. These smart and stylish pieces add panache to everyday outfits or drama to evening wear.

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Pearl bead necklaces are a traditional style that goes with anything from sweater sets to ball gowns. Ladylike and elegant, pearl bead necklaces make your fashion statement in a gentle whisper. White pearls are the classic look, but they're far from your only option. Genuine and cultured pearls come in a rainbow of hues, and so do faux pearl beads. Choose from sophisticated silver pearls, lustrous golden pearls or a candy-box of pastels.

Glass bead necklaces have their own unique beauty. Translucent glass catches the light and scatters it back in a burst of radiant colour. Beautiful glass for cathedral windows has been renowned for centuries; when these glassmakers turned their art to crafting gorgeous glass beads, they created a huge demand for their dazzling jewellery as well. Handmade bead necklaces strung with decorative glass add the perfect accent to any outfit. Glass beads for necklaces can take on any shape or size. Go with bold colour and large beads for maximum impact, or choose neutral shades and smaller beading for a more subdued style.

One elegant creation that Cleopatra never dreamed of is the illusion necklace. Illusion necklaces make the most of modern materials with a monofilament design that disappears against your skin, creating the appearance of individual beads weightlessly encircling your neck. This lightweight style lends itself to multi-strand necklaces to play up the gravity-defying effect.

Adjust the shape of your bead necklace to the collar of your outfit. If you're wearing a jewel neckline, for example, look for a necklace that falls just above it. Long bead necklaces work especially well over turtlenecks and create contrast against an expanse of fabric. Long bead necklaces also work with a v-necked design; the graceful fall of the necklace echoes the flattering shape of the collar.

With so many gorgeous possibilities, the biggest challenge might be narrowing your choices to just a few necklaces. Splurge a little and create a whole wardrobe of beads to wear with anything.

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