One of the most common questions we get here at Bonheur is, "what's the difference between herringbone and snake chains?"

It's a great question and one that can be difficult to answer without getting too technical. So, in this post, we'll break it down for you in a way that's easy to understand.


A herringbone chain is a classic 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 Herringbone chain is also known as a step-cut chain, mainly because most of its links are cut into uniform shapes from sheet metal, which results in flat sides with sharp edges.

Also, 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 charms.


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, giving it a unique texture.


Herringbone chains are made by interlocking metal links together in a zig-zag pattern. A jeweler can make these links from any type of metal, but gold and silver are the most popular options. You can find herringbone chains in various lengths, but the most popular options are 18-24 inches.


Herringbone chains are delicate because of their flat links, and herringbones require special care to avoid unattractive kinks.

Why do herringbone chains kink? 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. Thus, removing your herringbone necklace before going to sleep or participating in any other physical activity that might harm the chain is important.

Another way to avoid kinks is to take extra care when putting on and removing your necklace. Store your necklace flat or hung up when you're not wearing it so it doesn't get tangled. 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 heavy charms are attached to it. We promise you can't do that! A herringbone chain bracelet is a flat chain style designed to wear alone and should always be flat. It is not built to hold heavy charms, which causes the chain to stretch, twist, and kink up.


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 vulnerable in the chain link. After a while, this weakest point may twist more readily, making it easier to break.

Alternatively, if you choose to remove the damaged section 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.


The snake chain 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.

Unlike flat herringbone chain necklaces, Snake chains are a bit more complicated in design and construction. The snake chain style has a thicker look and can 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. Unlike herringbone jewelry, the sturdy snake chain style is perfect to wear with heavy pendants.


Snake chains are made by interlocking metal links together in a spiral pattern. A jeweler can make the links from any metal, but gold and silver are the most popular choices. The thickness of the chain will depend on the gauge of the metal used to make the links. In addition, you can find snake chains in various necklace lengths, but the most popular choices are 18-24 inches.


Yes, snake chains are quite durable. They're often made of tough materials like sturdy brass so that they can withstand a lot of wear and tear. Plus, the links are usually interlocked, which makes them even more resistant to breaking.

Plus, snake chains are durable enough to hold heavy charms and pendants without sagging too much or breaking. So if you want to add a little weight to your necklace or bracelet, a snake chain is a great choice.



There are two types of snake chains, i.e., flat and round.

Round snake chains are the more traditional option. They tend to have thicker links, giving them a sturdy feel. Plus, the round shape ensures that they lay nicely against your skin. Round snake chains are also less likely to kink or twist, which makes them easier to wear and take care of.

Flat snake chains, on the other hand, are a bit more modern. They usually have thinner links, making them lighter and more comfortable to wear.



The most significant difference between these chains is how a jeweler constructs them. For example, a snake chain is quite literally one long snake-like metal strand, 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, whereas flat herringbone chain necklaces are delicate and unable to support the heavy weight of large pendants.


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.



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. Remember, 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 going to bed to prevent kinks in the herringbone pattern.
  • Herringbone chains must be arranged in a circular, interwinding pattern to prevent kinks when storing.
  • 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 salt water can cause corrosion and rust, damaging 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.


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

  • Avoid anything that could snag on your snake chains, such as loose knits or sharp objects, and cause breakage.
  • Do not wear your snake chains while doing heavy labor or exercising. Sweat can affect the metal, and it could weaken the links.
  • Store your snake chains in a cool, dry location to prevent damage from humidity or extreme temperatures.
  • Polish your snake chains regularly with a soft, clean cloth. This regular polishing will help to remove any skin oils which cause tarnishing.
  • Do not use any harsh chemical cleaners on your snake chains. These chemicals can damage your snake chains and cause them 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.


So, there you have it! The main difference between herringbone and snake chains is how the links are connected. Herringbone chains have tighter, sturdier weaves, while snake chains have curvy links that make them more flexible.
Both chains are great for different purposes, so it just comes down to personal preference.