The Rise in Popularity of Chokers Throughout History

Chokers have been in trend for a long period and have evolved to become one of most adorned jewelry of all time. It is a close fitting necklace made of materials like lace, metal, velvet and more. Notably, women of different eras have worn this piece of jewelry for various reasons.

While some wore chokers as an expression of style, others wore it to mark protest against the atrocities of monarchs. Anyhow, chokers have survived many challenges and risen to become one of the most popular accessories.

At one time in history, chokers were the favorite ornament of queens and princesses. But that was the time of glamorous chokers, immersed in diamonds and precious stones which are not so trendy anymore.

Let us analyze in detail the important historical developments associated with this fashionable ornament. Let’s trace the origin of chokers and study the sequence of events that made them so famous, in fact, a buzz in the world of fashion today.

 

Egyptians: The original choker trendsetters

Egyptian style choker

To learn about the origin of chokers, we’ll have to time travel to the ancient civilizations when the Egyptians and Mesopotamians reigned. During that time, chokers were considered to possess powers that could protect you from harm and evil. The Egyptians believed that the most important parts of the body including neck, wrists and the head required special protection. So, for them, it was not just about following a trend. Chokers then were mostly made of gold, as the color represented the skin of Ra, the sun god. Besides, these necklets were often worn as amulets carved in the shape of different gods. For instance, pregnant women wore hippopotamus charms which symbolized the hippopotamus goddess Taweret. It was believed that goddess Taweret was a protector of childbirth and provided security against everything that could cause harm. Similarly, to safeguard themselves from negative energy, women of this era donned different styles of chokers. It shows that for these people, wearing a choker served a deeper purpose and was an important part of their existence.

 

18th century: When Chokers become a mark of protest

18th century Portuguese choker made of topazes, National Museum of Ancient Art

This one is interesting. Did you know that Chokers have also been worn as a sign of aggression against the draconian laws enacted by monarchs during the French Revolution? It was a distressing period and to vent their anger, people adopted several symbolic methods to revolt against the barbaric acts carried out by the monarchs. The Britishers had implemented many strict laws that stirred a revolution amongst people who chose different means to express their frustration and fought against the growing cruelty. One such noteworthy method was the act of wearing red ribbons in the form of chokers as a tribute to those who were beheaded at the guillotine. The color red symbolized revolution and also represented the blood of innocents who lost their lives. In addition to this, the ribbon was also worn across the shoulders to form the letter “X”. This shows that chokers played an important role when France fought for independence against tyranny. Who would have thought chokers would become a symbol of freedom and revolution?

 

Victorian era: The unrequited love of for chokers

Victorian choker necklace

Chokers have been quite popular with the royals too especially during the Victorian era. Women wore exotic pearl chokers with strings of pendants to adorn themselves. One particular name that stands out is that of Alexandra of Denmark. She was the Princess of Wales and was known to harbor a deep affection for ornaments. During her visits to India, she had fallen in love with the close fitting necklaces which were soon referred to as dog-collars. And that’s how the trend of chokers spread in England as many women of nobility started wearing them too. Also, it is believed that Alexandra had a vicious scar on her neck which she concealed by wearing thick-banded chokers. For royals, chokers were all about diamonds and expensive pearls but what about the women who were of humble backgrounds? Well, they too made an effort to copy this novel fashion statement. On straps of velvet cloth, they attached brooches and pendants to make them look like chokers worn by the elites. The results were quite satisfactory and served the purpose at a low cost. So, the popularity of this ornament in the Victorian era can be associated with the Royals.

 

The 1920s and 1940s: The rise of chokers

French Jet 1930's Choker Necklace With White Paste

The 1920s and ‘40s was a glorious period for chokers as many women were spotted wearing them in different styles. Only that, back then it was not known as a choker but rather a ‘dog collar’ due to its resemblance with the actual dog collars. I understand if you took a moment to digest this piece of information but this is how things were back then. These accessories were either beaded or made from ribbons to match the taste of different women. Most people preferably wore chokers which were heavily immersed in pearls and stones which could be both fake or genuine.

 

20th century: Chokers become a fashion statement

20th century Chokers

During the ’90s, the chokers underwent some major developments. It was no more a luxurious piece of jewelry dripped in diamonds and pearls, but more of a punk jewel giving a rebellious appearance. The most popular were black velvet chokers attached to trinkets or metal clasps of different shapes and sizes. Not to mention, when famous singer Christian Aguilera wore a choker at Oscar, it clearly sent out the message that the perception of fashion had changed quite a bit. With due course of time, a new design known as the tattoo chokers came into existence and quickly garnered a lot of attention. It was made from plastic and was usually of black color so that it went with various colored apparels. The main attraction of tattoo chokers was its netted design and unique patterns which captivated many teenagers. Also, another good thing about these chokers was that they were available at affordable prices and hence could be bought by all. So we can say that the ‘90s were the golden era of chokers as it received maximum attention during this time.

 

The current scenario: 2015 and Onward

modern choker necklace

After its heightened popularity in the 20th century, chokers again took the center stage in the year 2015 and onwards. Today chokers come in innumerable patterns, styles, and sizes. They are made of fabric or brass and can be worn with most kinds of attires. Such is the popularity of this accessory that you can spot many models ramp walks and fashion shows. Quite interestingly chokers are familiar with men as well, though not many seem interested. However, the trend of wearing chokers can be seen all over the world and is especially admired by young girls. It is amazing to watch how these fine pieces of jewelry went through great changes and revolutionized the concept of fashion. 

 

After almost 500 years, chokers still continue to be a vital component of the fashion world. SO it is safe to predict that these adorable chokers still have a long way to go!

 

Check out our Women's Steampunk collection for some chokers and other great items.

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  • Jun 30, 2019
  • Category: Steampunk
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