All You Need To Know About the History of Choker Necklace

Published: Wed, Feb 27, 2019
Indian choker necklace
Aurus choker necklace

A choker necklace is a close-fitting necklace worn around the neck. Chokers can be made of a variety of materials, including velvet, plastic, beads, latex, leather, metal, such as silver, gold or platinum, etc. They can be adorned in a variety of ways, including with sequins, studs, or a pendant.

Lily Elsie - popular English actress and singer during the Edwardian era is wearing a choker necklace c. 1907. Rotary Photo

1940s chokers from Life magazine, 1944

The history of choker necklaces dates back thousands of years, to the world’s earliest civilizations, the Sumer empire in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. Women in both these ancient worlds wore chokers, often pairing them with other necklaces, for the same reason they wore all jewelry--to protect them and give them power. This was especially true of gold jewelry, which ancient peoples associated with the sun, and lapis, which people in Egypt connected with the life-giving powers of the Nile River.

Historically, choker were associated with high fashion, but could take on different meanings under different circumstances. In 1798, during the French Revolution, women wore red ribbons around their necks to pay homage to those who met their death at the guillotine. Ballerinas and the upper class in the late 19th century commonly also wore certain types of chokers. However, at that same time, during late 19th century, a plain, thin, red, or black ribbon choker had ties to prostitution, as seen in Manet's Olympia (1861).

Red ribbon choker as a part of fashionable dress during 1790s

In Western culture, high jewelry chokers are visible here and again throughout history, including during the Renaissance, with portraits from that time showing necklaces being worn high on the neck. But the real comeback in the trend of chokers appeared during the time of Alexandra of Denmark (1844-1925). Alexandra was the wife of King Edward VII from 1901 to 1910 and, before that, spent some 38 years as the Princess of Wales. During her reigns, she became an influential figure in fashion and popularized one of her favorite pieces of jewelry- the choker necklace.

The tale goes that Alexandra wore chokers to hide a childhood scar on her neck! This just proves that women can go to any length to hide their imperfection, and in this case, even start a jewelry trend.
Choker necklaces continued to be popular through the Art Nouveau period--René Lalique made some of the most beautiful pieces, and the trend also continued into the 1920s, becoming to be known as “dog collars” along the way.


Fine pearl and diamond chokers, like this Edwardian era one owned by William Noble Rare Jewels in Dallas, were popularized in the Belle Epoque (late 19th century) by Alexandra of Denmark during her time as part of the British nobility.

Portrait of Queen Alexandra W. And D. Downey

While there have been occasional resurgences in popular culturethe beaded chokers of the hippie era and the plastic tattoo chokers of the 1990s are two examples that stand out—choker necklaces crafted of fine materials never regained the same popularity they once had.

The word “choker” can be literally broken up into the phrase “choke ‘er” and that is what this necklace actually does-it can nearly choke the wearer since it is worn tight on the neck, Hence, it may not be the most comfortable piece of jewelry to wear. Additionally, it is meant to look good on women with thin and slender necks only. So, this piece of jewelry always has limiting popularity!

The Indian choker necklace acts as a perfect first necklace and provides scope for layering of other necklaces like the satlada, gutthupusalu etc. They work very well when teamed with most necklines except boat neck or very high necklines. It is a very versatile piece of jewelry in the sense that it can be paired with most Indian traditional outfits as well as western gowns. It is an ideal choice of necklace to be worn during a wedding, sangeet or reception.

Aurus choker necklace
Aurus choker necklace

Aurus choker necklace

AURUS choker necklace

The ultimate style statement would be to wear a choker with a crisp white shirt where the choker is peeking from below the lapel of the shirt”

Indian Choker Necklace in Winter Weddings

We briefly mentioned how Indian choker necklaces are ideal for sangeet and reception, more specifically considering the time of the year, it is important we emphasize that winter weddings in particular are a good time to wear the neck-hugging jewelry.

Winter weddings have way more boons than are talked about! The chill in the air, the occasional romantic wind blowing, and most importantly, the freedom to experiment with your bridal looks-be it fabrics, silhouettes or jewelry! As fun as it sounds that multiple choices are open to you now. The part where it gets tricky is to make your outfits and jewels work together-making sure that the glittering gold and gemstones don't get lost in the ensemble is key. 

However, there is one sure shot solution to make sure that your outfits and jewelry are in sync while still being winter-appropriate: chokers! The close-fitting Indian choker necklace will help to really elevate your much anticipated wedding look.

There is so much you can do when you choose chokers for your winter wedding. 

Blouses with high necklines give a modern elegant look and a winter wedding is the time to seize the opportunity to try out this style! A classic polki and kundan choker paired with it will look exquisite! Choose a choker with accent gemstones that contrast with the color of your outfit or go with classic uncut diamonds and gold. The piece will not just stand out but also tie the whole look together.

Thick chokers with cascading elements will pair well if you’ve chosen to have a lower neckline. Take rich Pashminas for a royal look. Delicate diamond chokers with pearl detailing are exceptionally great to pair up with an engagement or reception outfit! Go for a temple jewelry gold choker necklace for a traditional look or one with diamonds for a modern edgy look! Whether you choose to drape shawls, wear shrugs or cape-like silhouettes, an Indian choker necklace will work for all. Clearly chokers and winter weddings are a match made in heaven and the possibilities are endless.

Aurus choker necklace

Styling an Indian Choker Necklace—Do's and Don'ts

A choker is a style of necklace that makes a statement just because of its silhouette. Because of the way it hugs the neck, a sleek minimal choker or a heavy layered one - both are sure to catch the eye. Hence, it is extra important to get the style of the choker right. You’ve decided on wearing a choker for your outfit, but it doesn't end here, there are still a variety of styles you need to choose from. Here are some do's and don'ts we pulled together to help you through this process:

Layering it right: The go-to styling hack for an Indian choker necklace is to layer it with another longer necklace. The most common hack is a comparatively difficult one to pull off because of the many factors that need to be considered. Metal tones of both your statement choker and the necklace that you’re going to layer with it should match. Additionally, it looks better if the gemstones are from the same color family. Varying tones may end up looking distracting as there are already varying lengths in play.
How to style Aurus choker necklaces
The go-to styling hack for chokers is to layer it with a longer necklace. Playing around with different lengths and gemstones will make for an interesting look.
  • The go-to neckline: The kind of necklines that Indian choker necklaces work with are on opposite ends of a spectrum-a deep neck or a high neck. Anything in between can also be pulled off but runs the risk of not looking refined. Sweetheart necklines should be avoided to make sure that there’s not a lot going on around the neck since the neckline is already elaborate and it is difficult to work a stiff neckpiece around the same.
Aurus Amaal choker necklaces

Deep neck blouses work well with chokers, making it the highlight of the look

Colors and textures: Ethnic wear can be heavily sequined sometimes and adding a heavy choker might look like too much. Less is more but if you still want to work a choker with that heavily sequined outfit, make sure that the gemstones are in the same tones as that of the detailing in your outfit. It will make for a harmonious look. Simpler ways of pulling this off are to wear something with a self-print or embroidery to make the necklace stand out.

How to style AURUS choker necklaces

Image1: Aarunya Choker Necklace by Aurus
Image 2: Farida Choker Necklace by Aurus
Image 3: Barkha Choker Necklace by Aurus

Modern vs. Traditional: Typical Indian choker necklaces that come to mind are those stiff edgy necklaces, these are usually minimal and work great with sarees and look super contemporary. However, chokers with cascading elements should also be on your list to consider! Outfits like lehengas or sheraras will be elevated with chokers that have elaborate elements  or cascading jewels as they’ll make a statement and work even if you’ve draped a heavy dupatta with it.

Aurus Soorya choker necklace


AURUS choker necklace

Here are a few of statement choker necklaces from Aurus!

Explore more necklaces HERE.