A neck order is a type of decoration which is designed to be worn and displayed around a person's neck, rather than hung (draped) from the chest as is the standard practice for displaying most decorations.
Most of the insignia of orders are issued in several degrees which typically include a neck order version for Commanders and Grand Officers. In countries which do not typically bestow orders with degrees, neck orders are still usually considered to be high-ranking decorations.
In the Middle Ages most orders were worn on a collar – see livery collar. Later, in the 17th century the insignia were worn hanging from a ribbon around the neck. When, in the late 18th century, orders were divided into several classes, the cross on a ribbon around the neck became the privilege of a commander. A decoration in that rank is usually awarded to high-ranking officials like brigadiers, consuls and secretaries of State.
A female usually wears her commander's cross on a bow on the shoulder of her dress.
In the 19th century it was not unusual to wear a Grand Cross, normally hanging from a ribbon over the shoulder to the hip as a neck order when this was considered more convenient or when another Grand Cross was worn.
Select list of collar insignia
A number of nations confer honors which are signified in the form of an insignia on a collar or chain, including:
- Order of the Garter (United Kingdom).
- Order of the British Empire (United Kingdom).
- Order of Canada.
- Order of the Seraphim (Sweden)
- Order of St Olav (Norway).
- Order of the Elephant (Denmark).
- Order of the Golden Fleece (Spain).
- Order of Leopold (Belgium).
- Order of the Chrysanthemum, Collar (Japan)
- Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, Collar (Estonia).
- Order of the National Coat of Arms, Collar (Estonia).
- Order of the White Star, Collar (Estonia).
- Order of the Three Stars, Collar (Latvia).
- Order of Manuel Amador Guerrero (Panama).
- Order of al-Hussein bin Ali (Jordan).
- Order of Idris I (Libya).
- Order of the Seal of Solomon (Ethiopia).
- Order of the Queen of Sheba (Ethiopia).
- Order of the Hashimi (Iraq).
- Order of the Liberator General San Martin (Argentina).
- Mahendra Chain (Nepal).
- Birendra Chain (Nepal).
- Order of Independence (Tunisia).
- Order of the White Rose (Finland).
- Order of the Falcon (Iceland).
- Cordon of Honour (Sudan).
- Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Italy).
- Chain of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary
- Order of Merit (Chile).
- Order of the Southern Cross (Brazil).
- Order of the Aztec Eagle (Mexico).
- Order of the Seraphim (Sweden).
- Order of the Nile (Egypt).
- Order of Muhammad Ali (Egypt).
- Fuad I Chain (Egypt).
- Order of Saint James of the Sword (Portugal).
- Order of Prince Henry (Portugal).
- Order of Mubarak the Great (Kuwait).
- Order of al-Khalifa (Bahrain).
- Order of King Abdul Aziz (Saudi Arabia).
- Order of Independence (Qatar).
- Order of the Pioneers of Liberia (Liberia).
- Order of Muhammad (Morocco).
- Order of Carlos III (Spain).
- Order of Zayed (United Arab Emirates).
- Order of Boyaca (Colombia).
- Order of the Tower and Sword (Portugal).
- Royal Victorian Chain (United Kingdom).
- Order of Chula Chom Klao (Thailand).
- Order of the Star of Romania (Romania).
- Order of Kamehameha I, Collar (Hawaii)
Select list of badges suspended from neck riband
Some nations confer honors which are signified in the form of a badge which is worn suspended from a ribbon (also known as riband or ribband) around the neck, including:
- The Order of the British Empire or Royal Victorian Order (Britain), if at the rank of Commander.
- The Order of Merit or Order of the Companions of Honour (Britain).
- Legion of Honour (France).
- Military William Order (Netherlands).
- Order of the Netherlands Lion (Netherlands).
- Order of Orange-Nassau (Netherlands).
- Pour le Mérite (Prussia).
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (Germany)
- Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (Germany)
- Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary (Hungary)
- Royal Order of Sahametrei (Cambodia), if rank of Commander.
- Order of Ontario (Canada)
- Medal of Honor (United States).
- Legion of Merit (United States), if at the rank of Commander. The Legion of Merit is awarded in degrees only to foreign nationals and its neck order is thus not available to U.S. citizens.
- Presidential Medal of Freedom (United States)
- Texas Medal of Valor (Texas)
- "Orders medals and decorations of Britain and Europe", Paul Hieronymussen, London 1967
- Debrett's: Order of the British Empire
- McCreery, Christopher. (2005). The Order of Canada: Its Origins, History and Development, p. 118.
- Decorations of HM King Harald. May 28, 2008.
- Order of Leopold, official website; n.b., Necklace of the Order is made out of gold and consists of three alternating parts : the crown, the lion and the figure.
- Japan, Cabinet Office: Decorations and Medals; Order of the Chrysanthemum
- Estonia, Office of the President: Toomas Hendrik Ilves
- Chancery of the President of Estonia: Vaira Vike-Freiberga
- Chancery of the President of Latvia: Vaira Vike-Freiberga
- Royal Ark
- Sweden, Royal Court: Order of the Seraphim
- British Orders and Decorations, p. 40.
- The Collar/Sash of the order at the Orders Chancellary website
- Légion d'honneur: Ordres et décorations, official website
- Military Order of William, official website; Grand Cross, worn without ribbon on the left breast or around the neck on a 55 millimetre wide ribbon, or as a sash.
- Order of the Netherlands Lion, official website; Commander, hangs from the ribbon, which is worn by men around the neck
- Order of Orange Nassau, official website; Grand Officer, hanging from the ribbon, which is worn by men around the neck
- Pour le Mérite; n.b., 1667, cross was worn around the neck from a long black, "watered ribbon"
- Medal of Honor, official website
- USAMilitaryMedals.com: Legion of Merit Medal Ribbon; n.b., The Legion of Merit is one of only two United States military decorations to be issued as a neck order (the other being the Medal of Honor), and the only United States decoration which may be issued in award degrees (much like an Order of chivalry or certain Orders of Merit).
- Duckers, Peter. (2004). British orders and decorations. Princes Risborough : Shire. ISBN 978-0-7478-0580-9; OCLC 55587484
- Paul Hieronymussen, Paul and Christine Crowley. (1967). Orders, medals and decorations of Britain and Europe. London: Blandford Press. OCLC 431846008
- McCreery, Christopher. 2005). The Order of Canada: Its Origins, History and Development. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-3940-8; OCLC 185201497
- Peterson, James W., Barry C. Weaver and Michael A. Quigley. (2001). Orders and Medals of Japan and Associated States. San Ramon, California: Orders and Medals Society of America. ISBN 978-1-890974-09-1; OCLC 45437720