“It was a style that had fleeting moments,” Markowitz said, “and I guess the next big moment was at the end of the 19th century.” As happens so often in fashion and jewelry, the affinity of a very public figure aided the choker’s reemergence.
Alexandra of Denmark (1844-1925) was on the British throne as 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 that’s been told through the years is that Alexandra wore chokers to hide a childhood scar on her neck, although Markowitz noted that the story of the Queen consort’s scar has never been confirmed.
(She said it was Sir Charles Leonard Woolley who gave them this name following his excavations of the Royal Cemetery at Ur in what was once Mesopotamia.) In America, the Astors wore long pearl necklaces with several strands of the pearls wrapped around their neck, while others donned just a simple black ribbon.
Then, as the Art Deco era faded in the 1930s, “(Chokers) went out, in a major way,” she said.
When, after that, were choker necklaces really “in” again?
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 throat.
If it is true, though, Alexandra would not have been the only woman of her time to use her jewelry to hide an imperfection.
Included in the collection of the Victoria & Albert museum in London is a Kropfkette (goiter chain) made in Austria sometime between 18.