I recently finished watching The Sopranos in its entirety and it was a revelation on many levels. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend you do — it’s so much more than your typical mob drama. If you have, it’s definitely worth revisiting in the age of streaming. Binging the episodes back-to-back, an option that wasn’t available when the show first premiered twenty years ago, illuminates the many subtleties that make The Sopranos such a compelling series. One of which is: Carmela Soprano, Tony’s long-suffering wife and first lady of the New Jersey mafia, is a necklace layering icon.
Carmela’s chains are worthy of a supporting character credit. They’re there every time Mrs. Soprano’s décolletage makes an appearance — so, pretty much every episode. Over the course of six seasons, it becomes clear (at least to this jewelry-obsessed writer) that there’s an almost mathematical precision to Carmela’s mix: something sparkly and slinky, something chunkier in gold, and a delicate chain carrying a personal pendant. Carm, or more aptly Juliet Polsca, the show’s costume designer, just may have perfected the golden ratio of necklace layering.
Certainly, it’s a mélange that feels particularly right for right now. The layered neck trend has been percolating for several years but lately there’s been a shift towards a messier, magpie mix. Where piles of gold chains were formerly reserved for gangster molls, what was once deemed gaudy is now de rigueur. Seen on everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Hudson to German tennis star Alexander Zverev, it’s a look that celebrates variety above all else. Just search #neckmess on Instagram to get a sense of the breadth.
The key is curating a diverse assortment. Oval and rolo-link chains, whether boldly oversized or delicately refined, are a classic base to build upon. Sleek paperclip links, from vintage watch fobs to more modern, geometric chains, have a lithe elegance. Hefty curb-link chains carry a tougher, rebellious attitude. Fluid snake and herringbone chains, whose sinuous lines hug every contour of one’s clavicle, add a sensual note. Bezel-set diamond tennis necklaces or slim rivières lend subtle sparkle; or maybe opt for some movement with a fringe of dangling gemstones. Top it all off with a selection of pendants — talismanic amulets, lockets, monogrammed charms — for a dash of personality. Ba Da bing! You’ve got yourself a neck worthy of a Soprano.
Where to begin? Here’s a few of our favorite necklaces that are prime for layering.
FOUNDRAE 18k gold mixed clip choker, $14,995, with medallions, from $2,650
JENNIFER MEYER pink sapphire and 18k gold necklace, $10,500
NIKOS KOULIS diamond and 18k gold necklace, $19,800
JEMMA WYNNE pearl and diamond initial pendant, $1,890
NINA RUNSDORF diamond and 18k white gold necklace, $14,000
SINGLE STONE diamond and 18k gold necklace, $14,000
EVA FEHREN diamond and 18k rose gold necklace, $14,875, with shield-shaped diamond charm, price upon request
AZLEE diamond and 18k gold chain, $7,200, with 18k gold pendant, $2,740
VENYX x MUZO emerald, diamond, and 18k gold necklace, $26,500
ASHLEY ZHANG 14k gold necklace, $950
LARKSPUR & HAWK foiled quartz, rainbow sapphire, ruby and tsavorite necklace, $1,900
FERNANDO JORGE tagua, mother of pearl, and diamond pendant, price upon request
MARCO BICEGO diamond and 18k gold necklace, $8,290
SELIM MOUZANNAR rhodolite, diamond, and 18k rose gold pendant, $14,300