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The choker necklace, a prominent accessory in women’s fashion, gained popularity during the French Revolution, symbolizing allegiance to the guillotine. While its history spans centuries, the close-fitting style around the neck has remained consistent. Originating as early as the 16th century, Anne Boleyn was famously depicted wearing a pearl choker adorned with a letter “B” pendant, and the choker evolved over time.

Although it’s often associated with the French Revolution, where female expatriates wore red ribbons as a tribute to guillotine victims, chokers likely existed before this period. This versatile accessory has since become a timeless fashion icon, embraced for its elegance and versatility.

Going back in time

Chokers have a rich history dating back thousands of years, with evidence of their existence traced back to Sumerian artisans around 2500 BC. By the 1st Century AD, chokers had become a common accessory for women. Despite their long history, many may not realize the depth of the choker’s past. Throughout history, chokers evolved in various contexts, such as during the French Revolution in 1798, when women wore red colored ribbons around their necks to honor guillotine victims. This simple piece of jewelry holds a fascinating and often overlooked historical significance.

During the 1860s, chokers were associated with prostitutes, yet the royalty of the Victorian era embraced them unabashedly. Paintings of figures like Princess Alexandra of Denmark and Anne Boleyn showcase their affinity for this attractive jewelry. Queen Alexandra, in particular, frequently wore chokers to conceal a mark on her neck. These adornments became fashionable statements among affluent women during this period.

Also, Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was frequently depicted wearing chokers throughout her reign, while Princess Alexandra of Wales (1844-1925) used them to conceal a neck scar thought to be from a childhood surgery. Princess Alexandra’s influence on fashion was substantial, setting trends for approximately half a century as high society women emulated her style. In the Victorian era, affluent women adorned themselves with chokers as fashionable accessories, often embellished with jewels.

Modern chokers

Modern chokers come in a variety of textures, colors, and materials, often featuring heavy chains, brass accents, or fabric stripes. This fashionable accessory has made a comeback and is appealing to women of all ages. It’s fascinating to explore the origins of chokers and see how this piece of jewelry has evolved over time into a beloved fashion statement.

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