The loupe

TrueFacet's Fine Jewelry and Watch Guide
Care Guides Education

How to Untangle a Necklace

TrueFacet Holiday Shops Sale

There are few things more maddening than untangling a knot in your necklace chain. We’ve all been there: exasperated, brows furrowed, eyes nearly crossing and clumsily tearing at a knot.

Before you give up in frustration, take a breath. Now follow these easy steps to detangle a necklace chain.

Work on a flat surface.
It is a normal, knee-jerk reaction to stand while detangling a necklace, bringing the offending knot closer to your eyes to see better. However, this can do you a huge disservice; holding the chain up means it can easily slip through your fingers, pulled back into the knot thanks to gravity.

Save yourself some stress and lay your tangled necklace onto a flat surface so you can spread out the chain as you untangle the knots.

Insert a straight pin into the center of the knot and gradually pull it apart.
Start teasing apart the knot by inserting a straight pin (or an opened safety pin) into the knot’s center. Then, working bit-by-bit gradually open the knot up, pulling the chain outward so you can see how the chain is tangled and work backwards to undo the knot.

Do not try to undo the knot with one long pull of the straight pin. You run the risk of breaking a thin chain, scratching the metal against itself or even pulling the knot even tighter if you yank too hard on the necklace. Instead, muster all your patience and methodically tease open the knot, focusing on small lengths at a time.

Use baby oil to loosen stubborn knots—and immediately wash your necklace afterwards.
For particularly difficult or tight knots, dab the knot with a cotton swab dipped in baby oil to loosen the knot. Then use your straight pin to pull the chain apart.

However, as soon as your necklace is fully untangled, you need to wash it immediately. Baby oil can corrode the metal of your necklace chain so you want to remove the oil as soon as possible with a gentle wash. If you do not have jewelry cleaner handy, check out our DIY gold jewelry wash here.

If a chain is vintage or particularly delicate, bring it to a professional.
Take your tangled necklace to a jeweler if the chain is vintage or incredibly thin and delicate. It is very easy to break a well-worn chain at home, so leave it to the pros to untangle your necklace.

To keep your chains and necklaces from tangling in the future, read our tips on how to safely store and organize your jewelry here.