Herringbone vs. Snake Chain

Finding the right chain to buy is a daunting task! Are you looking for a thicker chain, or are you looking for something more delicate but with some weight to it? Are you looking for something simple, or are you looking for something with intricate details that is sure to turn heads when worn? While many chain options are available in both sterling silver and gold, it can be quite tricky to determine which chain style will best suit your needs. We created this article to help you better understand the characteristics of these two very popular types of chains, the herringbone and snake chain.

There is a lot of confusion about herringbone vs. snake chain. Many people mistakingly call snake chain herringbone and herringbone snake chain. The herringbone pattern is a weave style, and the snake chain isn't technically a weave (it's made up of chains), but we'll get to that in more detail below.

Before deciding which one is the right chain to buy, it's important to know the differences and similarities between these two beautiful chains.

Chain Style Guide: What is a Herringbone Pattern?

What does herringbone mean? The Herringbone pattern is a classic necklace chain style, consisting of a sequence of flat, short, and parallel links placed in an offset pattern. A herringbone chain necklace usually features two or more rows of interconnected chain links.

The understated and elegant herringbone pattern lies perfectly flat against the skin and is a suitable choice to glam up any casual daywear or a conservative office ensemble.

The Herringbone chain is also known as a step-cut chain, mainly because most of the chains are cut into their shape from sheet metal, which results in flat sides with sharp edges. These step-cut chains are typically plated with gold or rhodium, giving them a subtle shine perfect for everyday wear.

One of the reasons the herringbone chain necklace is so popular is because it's an incredibly versatile piece of jewelry. It can be worn alone as a simple and sophisticated necklace or layered with other chains for a more dramatic look. And because herringbone chains come in various metals, you can mix and match them with other jewelry pieces to create your own unique style.

However, the herringbone chain is a chain style that doesn't sit well with a pendant of any size, shape, and design. It's best worn alone or with petite and delicate charms.

Why is it Called a Herringbone Pattern?

The herringbone pattern is so named because it resembles the skeleton of a fish called a herring. This type of chain consists of small, flat links arranged in a V-shaped pattern. The interlocking links make the herringbone chain sturdy and strong and give it a unique texture.

How Herringbone Chains are Made?

Herringbone chains are made by interlocking metal links together in a zig-zag pattern. You can make the links from any type of metal, but gold and silver are the most popular options. The thickness of the chain will depend on the gauge of the metal used to make the links. You can find herringbone chains in various lengths, but the most popular options are 18 inches and 24 inches.

Are Herringbone Chains Durable?

Herringbone chains are delicate because of their flat links. To avoid unattractive kinks in the links, herringbone chains require special care.

Why do herringbone chains kink? For example, if you get your flat herringbone chain necklace caught on something or pulled harshly by someone, it will kink up because of its delicate construction. Anytime you sleep with your herringbone chain on, it will bend or kink. Because you move around a lot in your sleep, and the necklace gets pulled in different directions.

Unfortunately, kinks will cause the chain to appear shorter and thicker than its original form. This is why it's important to remove your herringbone necklace before going to sleep or participating in any other physical activity that might harm the chain.

Other ways to avoid kinks is to take extra care when putting on and taking off your necklace. When not in use, store your necklace flat or hung up, so it doesn't get tangled. So be careful not to catch it on anything. And when putting it on, hold the necklace by the clasp, so the links don't pull and kink.

The most common reason for a herringbone chain bracelet to kink is that pendants or charms are frequently attached. We promise you can't do that! A herringbone chain bracelet is a flat chain style designed to wear alone and should lay flat at all times. They are not built to hold heavy pendants or charms, which cause the chain to stretch, twist, and kink up.

Can a Herringbone Chain be Fixed?

You can have your flat herringbone necklace repaired if it gets broken, but the chain may never look the same again, depending on the issue.

It can be straightened and flattened if the chain is bent, but the twisted section will continue to be a vulnerability in the chain link. After a while, this weakest point may twist more readily, making it easier to break the chain there.

Alternatively, if you choose to remove the damaged segment and have your flat herringbone chain necklace rejoined around the severed part, this may help. However, the necklace will twist more readily around that point because the joint is less flexible than the remainder of the chain. This will also change the length of the necklace, which may not be desirable.

Chain Style Guide: What is a Snake Chain?

The snake chain link style features a succession of round, curvy metal rings that form a sleek, flexible chain. The links slide against each other, resembling a snake's form, hence the name snake chain jewelry


Snake chains, unlike flat herringbone chain necklaces, are a bit more complicated in design and construction. The snake chain style has a thicker look and can even add significant weight to your neck if you choose a larger gauge. They also tend to make the items they accompany seem more expensive because of their ornate detail. The snake chain style, unlike herringbone jewelry, is perfect to wear fancy, heavy pendants with. It is strong enough to be worn every day and only requires special care to prevent tangles.

Snake chain jewelry is the ideal choice to dress up a casual ensemble or create a glamorous look for a formal night out. It is one of the most popular styles of chain because it is so versatile and can be worn with almost any type of outfit.

How Snake Chains are Made?

Snake chains are made by interlocking metal links together in a spiral pattern. You can make the links from any metal, but gold and silver are the most popular options. The thickness of the chain will depend on the gauge of the metal used to make the links. You can find snake chains in a variety of lengths, but the most popular options are 18 inches and 24 inches.

Are Snake Chains Durable?

Snake chains are more durable than herringbone chains. They are thicker and less likely to kink or bend out of shape, but they can still get caught on things or snagged by something sharp. Plus, snake chains are durable enough to hold charms and pendants.

What are the Different Types of Snake Chain?

The most common type of snake chain is the round snake chain, which consists of interlocking metal links that form a spiral shape. Other types of snake chains include flat snake chains, box snake chains, and cable snake chains. Round snake chains are the most popular type of snake chain because they are less likely to catch on clothing or other objects, and they have a classic look that goes well with any outfit.

The Difference: Herringbone vs. Snake Chain

The most significant difference between these chains is the way they are constructed. For example, a snake chain is quite literally one long snake-like strand of metal, while the herringbone pattern is composed of interlocking links like a fishbone (hence the name). Although both chains look very similar, there are significant differences in their strengths and abilities.

Snake chains are much stronger than herringbone chains. They can hold more weight and are less likely to break. Snake chains are perfect for holding large, heavy pendants and charms, whereas flat herringbone chain necklaces are delicate and need some care.

Herringbone chains are a little more delicate than the snake chain style because of their interlocking links. A flat herringbone necklace isn't ideal for holding pendants or charms. Instead, it is best-worn flat against the skin without anything attached.

How to Style: Herringbone vs. Snake Chain

Once you've decided on the right chain to buy, it's time to think about how to wear it. There are a few different ways to style these beautiful chains:

Herringbone chains have a boxier shape and more texture than snake chains. The design is not as smooth or sleek as a snake chain but has a rough-hewn look that adds to the appeal of the necklace. Herringbone jewelry is traditionally paired with minimalist pieces and is great for adding interest to a look without being too flashy.

Whereas snake chains are composed of a single strand, their links resemble a serpent's skin. The design is sleek and smooth and has a more glamorous appeal than other types of chain necklaces, making it the perfect choice for outfits that need an extra touch. Snake chains look great paired with embellished tops or statement pieces such as bold earrings. They are also an excellent choice for layering.

Jewelry Care: Herringbone vs. Snake Chain

A. Herringbone Chains

Herringbone styles require handling with care. To keep your herringbone pieces looking their best, you should take the following steps:

  • Always lay herringbone styles flat, so the flat links don't get misshapen. Herringbone chains are difficult to repair once the links are bent.

  • Herringbone chains are not ideal for heavy pendants or charms, so avoid wearing them at all costs! Avoid wearing any accessories that could snag your chain and ruin its delicate design.

  • Always remove herringbone chains before bed to prevent chain kinks in the herringbone pattern.

  • Herringbone chains need to be arranged in a circular, interwinding pattern to prevent chain kinks when storing jewelry.

  • When storing jewelry, place your herringbone necklaces in a compartmentalized jewelry box or individual soft fabric pouches to prevent scratching against each other.

  • To keep your herringbone chains looking lovely, you should take them off when playing sports or working out. Sweat and saltwater can cause corrosion and rust, which will damage the links.

  • Polish your herringbone chains regularly with a soft, clean cloth. This regular polishing will help remove any skin oils that can cause tarnishing.

B. Snake Chains

Snake chains require handling with care. To keep your snake chains looking their best, you should take the following steps:

  • Don't break the chain. Avoid anything that could catch on your long snake chain necklace, such as loose knits or sharp objects, and cause breakage.

  • Do not wear your chain when you are doing heavy labor or exercising. Sweat can affect the metal, and it could weaken the links.

  • Store snake chains in a cool, dry location to prevent damage from humidity or extreme temperatures.

  • Polish your snake chain regularly with a soft, clean cloth. This regular polishing will help to remove any skin oils which cause tarnishing.

  • Do not use any harsh chemicals or cleaners on your snake chain. The chemicals can damage your chain and cause it to oxidize.

  • When storing jewelry, it is important to place snake chains in a compartmentalized jewelry box or individual soft fabric pouches to prevent scratching against each other.

Wrapping Up

Herringbone chains are great for adding interest to your look without being too flashy. They work well with minimalist pieces but occasionally pair well with embellished ensembles. Herringbone chains require careful handling and should only be worn flat against the skin to avoid kinks in the chain.

Snake chains are easier to wear than herringbone chains because they're less textured and easier to match with various ensembles. They are more durable and look great paired with pendants and charms. However, maintaining a snake chain necklace means avoiding snagging the chain and breaking it by wearing it during sports or other strenuous activities.

Both chains are a great option for adding flair to an outfit, but they require different jewelry care. So, for example, if you're looking for a chain to add subtle interest or want something simple to maintain, herringbone chains are the way to go. Or, if you prefer wearing bold accessories and need something durable, snake chains are your best bet!