WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CHAINS?



Chains come in all shapes and sizes, from the delicate to the industrial. And while they might all look similar at first glance, each type of chain has its own distinct set of characteristics. In this article, we'll take a closer look at some of the most common types of necklace chains and what sets them apart.


WHAT IS A CABLE CHAIN?



One of the most classic necklace chain styles, cable chains feature a symmetrical chain link design with a consistent level of thickness and sizes, connected one after the other. The cable links are either made from round wire or flattened wire, but the link is always the same thickness all around. Cable chains also feature uniform oval or round links with a single join on each side.


The trombone link chain and paperclip chain are both variations of the cable chain, with elongated oblong links that resemble their namesakes, sometimes alternating with smaller round links. This design is also known as a ring and connector chain.


ARE CABLE CHAINS STRONG?



Yes, they are, and this is thanks to their simple design. They may not appear to be as strong as rolo chains, but they are extremely durable and dependable. Because they are not easily broken, they are the go-to necklace chains for jewelry lovers.


WHAT IS A CURB CHAIN?



Curb chains are a type of cable chain with twisted links that are usually diamond cut to lay flat and uniform. They are extremely adaptable and come in a variety of thicknesses. The Cuban chain necklace variation has more closely packed links and is typically heavier than the original of the same length. A double link or parallel chain necklace is another variation that is frequently used as the foundation for a charm bracelet.


A twisted curb chain necklace is popular in fine gauges at around 1mm and thicker chains, ideal for statement necklaces.


ARE CURB CHAINS STRONG?



Yes, they are very strong. The strength varies depending upon the type of jewelry material used. For example, a 14K gold curb chain will be stronger than an 18K gold curb chain. The alloying metals in different karat golds affect the hardness of the metal. All else being equal, the higher the karat, the softer the metal.

 

WHAT IS A FIGARO CHAIN?



Figaro chains are very similar to curb or cable chains. They're built the same way, with an elongated link inserted in a pattern every 2-4 regular links. The only difference is that a figaro chain has alternating link sizes that create a pattern. A popular design is 3 round shorter links, 1 long. Most Figaro chains are curb chains (meaning each link lies flat), but some are curb (simple circles).


Some specialty chain stores exchange a "long link" with a different shape, such as a large heart or diamond to add more interest to the chain.


Likewise, the figarucci chain, which has alternating link shapes but with the addition of a reinforcing bar within the link, is a similar style. The figarucci chain is considered to be more sturdy than the figaro chain.


Figaro chains are a popular style frequently worn alone because of their interesting pattern.


ARE FIGARO CHAINS STRONG?



Figaro chains are just as strong as other types of curb chains. However, the long link may make the chain more susceptible to breaking if it catches on something.


WHAT IS A BALL CHAIN?



Ball chains are popular pendant chains because they have more texture and pattern than cable chains while remaining thin enough to pass through a bail.


Ball chains are made up of solid or hollow metal spheres connected by connector bars (short lengths of wire). This style is reasonably fluid, but it can be more constrictive than other classic chains because the spheres don’t flex as much.


The balls are hollow and have two small antipodal holes. These holes accept a short length of wire deformed on the end like a rivet so that the end is bound inside the ball. The process repeats with the same wire connected to another ball. Many of the balls and wires link together to create a ball chain.


ARE BALL CHAINS STRONG?



Due to this linking technique, a ball chain necklace can freely swivel on itself, avoiding kinking. On the flip side, the disadvantage of this lovely chain is that it is not as strong as some of the other chains mentioned here and can break relatively easily.


WHAT IS A TRACE CHAIN?



A trace chain is a delicate jewelry chain with fine and small oval-shaped links. The trace chain style is ideal for delicate charm necklaces with dainty, lightweight pendants. Choose a diamond cut trace chain for added opulence when you require more glitz.


WHAT IS A BELCHER CHAIN?



Belcher or rolo chains are a popular cable chain variation that features round links that are rounded on the outside and flat on the inside. Chains with rounded links on both the outside and inside are sometimes referred to as rolo chains.


Belcher chains are made of D-shaped links that are relatively broad and uniform in size and shape. The links alternate 180 degrees when pulled, giving the belcher chain a classic, timeless look and feel.

A round belcher chain is slightly different in that the links are entirely round rather than D-shaped.


 Round belcher chains are often seen in more delicate jewelry designs. The smooth, round links are less likely to catch on clothing and are generally more delicate looking than traditional belcher chains.


A square belcher chainconsists of flat, D-shaped links that are arranged in a square pattern. This type of chain is less flexible than a round belcher chain and is great for pendants and charms because it will lay flatter against the body.


ARE BELCHER CHAINS STRONG?



They are, indeed. Rolo chains are not the most robust chain styles available, but they are among the strongest. Compared to a cable chain, even a fine belcher chain is sturdier and heavier. This is due to the flat surface area of the links, which creates more contact points and makes it harder for the links to slide past each other.


WHAT IS A ROPE CHAIN?



Rope chains are extremely popular and are available in a wide range of styles and weights. They are typically made up of uniform links that are connected to two other links at a time. This design adds a natural twist to the chain.


Numerous designs are used to create more intricate and complex versions of the classic rope chain necklace. The French rope chain is a variation of this style that has a tight, twisted appearance, is very sturdy, and is typically heavier in weight than the classic rope chain.


In addition, delicate rope chains are especially popular and are often used in layering necklaces because they are beautiful and also add extra interest to your look! The metal segments twist around each other and reflect off the light to give it a shiny textured look.


ARE ROPE CHAINS STRONG?



Rope chains are one of the most durable and heaviest chain types and one of the most textural. A strong rope chain is ideal for wearing with a pendant because it is very strong, whether thick or thin, and does not easily separate.


Rope chains tend to be less expensive than other types of chains, making them a great choice for everyday wear.

 

WHAT IS A BOX CHAIN?



A box chain is also known as a "Venetian chain" or "book chain," The box chain features a series of cubed links constructed from round, flattened wire, forming a series of box-like shapes. These small cubes are then linked together to form a strong chain with a smooth appearance and feel.


The box chain is typically made with a thinner profile and can thus be worn with pendants. This is because the box chain features flattened wire links, which allow for a much smoother surface on which a pendant can lay.


ARE BOX CHAINS STRONG?



Box chains are popular due to their simple yet sturdy design. The interlocking links make for a very strong chain, which is perfect for those who want a necklace or bracelet that can stand up to everyday wear.


Box chains are tough and won't snap easily. If a link does break, it is replaceable. A metalsmith can also reattach the chain without replacing the broken link, preserving the design.


WHAT IS A SNAKE CHAIN?



A snake chain, also known as a "Brazilian chain" in some circles, is popular for many jewelry buyers as standalone chains or with pendants. The snake chain gets its name from its shape - the chain looks like a snake slithering. The defining characteristic of this chain is that it's made up of small, interlocking links that lay flat against the skin, making it very comfortable to wear.


Because of their sleek and fluid design, snake chains are perhaps the most popular rounded chain. Each link has a slight point in the center that, when joined, creates a snakeskin-like chevron pattern. Although snake chains have a similar profile to omega chains, they are much more fluid. Because of this, they are less likely to kink over time.


And while we're on the topic of kinking, it's important to note that you should never try to straighten a snake chain by pulling on it. This will only kink the chain further and make it more difficult (if not impossible) to wear in the future.


ARE SNAKE CHAINS STRONG?



Snake chains are delicate, but they look amazing when paired with pendants. Due to their semi-rigid structure, they don't tangle easily and don't catch on hair or other objects, which can result in breakage. Also, because each link is soldered closed, there is very little risk of the chain coming undone.


A note about wearing snake chains: Because they are relatively delicate, it's best to avoid wearing them during activities that could put stress on the chain, such as working out or doing yard work.


WHAT IS A WHEAT CHAIN?



Unlike the others on this list, the wheat chain consists of four strands of intertwined tear-shaped links twisted to point in a single direction. This gives the chain a slightly different appearance. The wheat chain is also known as a "spiga" chain, named after its resemblance to the common fish.


Wheat chains are similar to rope chains but have a braided/woven appearance that resembles a wheat stalk (hence the name). Wheat chains are highly flexible and can be rounded or flat.


Wheat chains come in a variety of weights and profiles, but thinner models are ideal for use with pendants. Plus, wheat chains are especially great for layering since they look great with other necklace styles.


ARE WHEAT CHAINS STRONG?



The wheat link chain is a delicate-looking necklace, but it's actually quite strong. The woven appearance of the chain makes it less likely to kink or snag than other types of chains. And because there are four strands instead of two, the wheat link chain is less likely to break than a rope chain.


WHAT IS A HERRINGBONE CHAIN?



Herringbone chains feature distinct, pointed links that are thin and interconnect in a fashionable pattern. The links are slightly bent in the middle to give the chain a herringbone appearance. This design lays completely flat, making it ideal for wearing as a statement piece.


Herringbone chains have a nice balance of flexibility and rigidity, which allows them to stay in place when worn. The flexibility also prevents the chain from kinking or tangling, while the rigidity keeps the links from pulling apart.


The Herringbone chain is the only chain link style that does not look good with any pendant size, shape, or design. This is because the links are so thin and pointed that they don't lay flat against the neck, resulting in an awkward appearance. The Herringbone chain is essentially best worn as is.


ARE HERRINGBONE CHAIN NECKLACES STRONG?



Herringbone chains are one of the most delicate styles as it kinks very easily. Because each link is bent in the middle, and over time, with wear and tear, these links will slowly work themselves out of place. If you're looking for a chain to last a lifetime, this isn't the style for you. However, if you are careful with your jewelry and don't mind replacing it every few years, a herringbone chain is a beautiful and fashionable option.


WHAT IS AN ANCHOR CHAIN?



The anchor chain (also known as the mariner chain) features interlocking oval links with a vertical bar across the center, which keeps it from tangling or twisting.


ARE ANCHOR CHAINS STRONG?



This chain is the heaviest and most durable chain type because its links tend to be thick in proportion to their size, making it a great option if you want a jewelry piece that will last a lifetime.


WHAT IS AN OMEGA CHAIN?



Omega chains are great for wearing as a choker rather than a necklace with pendant. It's one of the strongest gold chain types to attempt if you want a sturdy-looking chain.


However, this chain is made up of metal plates and an underlying mesh structure that kinks easily, which makes them impractical for everyday wear. Although snake chains have a similar profile to that of an omega chain, snake chains are much more flexible.


ARE OMEGA CHAINS STRONG?



Omega chains have limited flexibility and can easily kink and bend. If twisted, don't bother taking them to a jewelry repair shop as they can get damaged beyond repair.


When damaged, the repair might call for straightening and working on its inner structure or even removing the actual plate.


WRAPPING UP



There you have it! These are the most popular types of chains. Now that you know a little bit more about them, you can decide which type is right for you. until next time, happy shopping!