There have been many types of chokers worn during this time and for different reasons. But the style in which it has been worn – close fitting against the neck – has remained the same since it first came into existence many years ago.
The Choker necklace definitely has a very colorful history! Its origin dates back thousands of years ago to the world’s ancient civilizations such as the Sumer Empire in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. It was especially true of gold jewelry, which ancient peoples associated with the sun and lapis, and people in Egypt mostly connected it with the life-giving powers of the Nile River.
chokers encircled the necks of women in both these civilizations to protect them and give them power, often pairing them with other necklaces on parts of the body they felt needed the most protection–like the neck, head, arms and ankles, especially for necks because it was mainly understood to be an important part of the body at that time.
During the 1700’s, it was a style favored by royals in various countries, including Spain and England. However in France, commoners adopted the style with a much deeper purpose than to simply adorn themselves. Women of the period would wear red ribbons tied into a choker as a silent homage to those who fell victim to the guillotine.( during the French Revolution, guillotine a machine designed for beheading people quickly and with minimal pain was used as the official method of execution in France until the twentieth century.)
In the 1800’s, back in England, the choker had begun to shed its unsavory reputation. And this was accomplished almost single-handedly by Alexandra of Denmark (1844-1925), who was on the British throne as the wife of King Edward VII from 1901 to 1910 and before that, spent 38 years as the Princess of Wales. During her reigns, she became an influential figure in fashion and by creating decadent looks, society ladies began to copy her.
The princess frequently traveled to India, and delighted in the way women there heavily adorned themselves with jewelry. With this inspiration in mind, and fueled by a desire to hide a childhood scar on her neck, Alexandra popularized one of her favorite pieces of jewelry, the choker necklace. So during the Victorian era, wealthy ladies wore chokers as a fashion statement, which became a massive trend in the city
Alexandra was not the only woman of her time to use her jewelry to hide an imperfection, Women in south Germany and Austria wore them to hide the lumps on their necks caused by goiter, a disease caused by iodine deficiency sometime between 1840 and 1870.
Not forgetting that the choker necklace also made a huge statement in the ancient East Africa, chokers played an important role in many different rituals of the Maasai people. In their culture, choker necklaces denoted special occasions and relationships. This was especially true for weddings.
Brides would often wear beautifully crafted, brightly colored chokers for their ceremonies, with the many materials and hues taking on different meanings. Even the size of the piece was an indication of wealth. After marriage, this type of choker would be something that was worn every day.
It’s fascinating to learn how chokers first came about many years ago and how they have changed over the years. Having stood the test of time, it’s evident that chokers are a true fashion icon – and these facts surely tell us that chokers will be around for many years to come.