Portrait of Queen Elizabeth wearing a richly jeweled carcanet. Image courtesy of The Tate Collection.
The new necklaces were conceived usually as broad collars to be worn at the base of the neck or close around the neck, as suggested by the term carcan, found in French records of the 1380s and 1390s, which also referred to the iron collars fastened around the necks of prisoners.1
Carcanets reached their height of popularity during the Elizabethan era before falling out of favor when simpler and more minimalist clothing and jewelry became the fashion by the end of the sixteenth century.
- Mascetti, Daniela & Amanda Triossi. The Necklace: From Antiquity to the Present: New York: Henry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1997.
- Scarisbrick, Diana. Tudor and Jacobean Jewellery: Millbank, London: Tate Publishing(Publishing) Ltd, 1995.