WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CHAINS?


In the world of fashion, there is no shortage of choices when it comes to chains. From delicate, dainty chains to thick, statement-making pieces, there is a chain out there for everyone. But with so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to start. So, we’ve put together a quick guide to the different types of chains available to help you make the right choice for your style.


WHAT IS A CABLE CHAIN?


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


The trombone and paperclip chains are 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?


They are, and their straightforward design is what makes this possible. Although they might not seem as sturdy as rolo chains, they are incredibly reliable and long-lasting. They are the go-to necklace chains for jewelry lovers because they don't easily break.



WHAT IS A CURB CHAIN?


A curb chain is 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 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, and often the foundation for a charm bracelet.


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



ARE CURB CHAINS STRONG?


They are indeed quite strong. Depending on the type of chain material used, the strength varies. For instance, a 14K gold curb chain will be more durable than an 18K gold curb chain. The hardness of the metal depends upon the alloying metals used in karat combinations; 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 the 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 short round 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. This is especially popular with the younger generation of consumers.



ARE FIGARO CHAINS STRONG?


Figaro chains are exactly as durable as other curb chain styles. The long link, however, might make the chain more likely to break if it hooks 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 consist of solid or hollow metal spheres connected by connector bars (short lengths of wire). This style is reasonably fluid but can be more constrictive than other classic chains because the spheres don’t flex as much.



ARE BALL CHAINS STRONG?


Due to its linking mechanism, 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 and can break relatively easily.



WHAT IS A TRACE CHAIN?


A trace chain necklace is a delicate chain style with fine and small oval-shaped links. The trace chain necklace is ideal for delicate charm necklaces with dainty, lightweight pendants. A diamond cut-trace chain features small facets on each link that add extra sparkle to your necklace. 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 on the outside and flat on the inside. Belcher chains with rounded links on both the outside and inside are sometimes referred to as rolo chains.


Belcher chains consist 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. In contrast, round belcher chains are slightly different in that the links are entirely round rather than D-shaped.


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


A square belcher chain consists of flat, D-shaped links 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 flat against the body.



ARE BELCHER CHAINS STRONG?


They are, indeed. Rolo chains are among the strongest chain styles available. Compared to cable chains, even fine belcher chains are 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?


A rope chain is extremely popular and available in a wide range of styles and weights. It consists of uniform links connected to two other links at a time. This design adds a natural twist to the chain.


Numerous designs feature intricate and complex versions of the classic rope chain. 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 often used in layering necklaces because they are beautiful and add extra interest to a 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 thanks to its twisted frame.


 

WHAT IS A BOX 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 consists of a thin profile ideal for pairing with pendants 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 robust chain, 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 consists 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 style. 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 necklace chains that 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.


Snake chains are relatively delicate, it's best to avoid wearing them during activities that could stress the chain, such as working out or 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, giving the chain a slightly different appearance. The wheat chain is also known as a "spiga" chain because it resembles the common fish.


Wheat chains resemble 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 various weights and profiles, but thinner models are ideal for use with pendants. Wheat chains are especially great for layering since they look great with other necklace styles.



ARE WHEAT CHAINS STRONG?


Wheat chains are delicate-looking, but they are actually quite strong. The woven appearance makes them 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 flat design makes 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 herringbone chains 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 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 necklace styles as they kink 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?


Anchor chains are the heaviest and most durable chain style because their links tend to be thick in proportion to their size, making them a great option if you want jewelry pieces that will last a lifetime.



WHAT IS AN OMEGA CHAIN?


Omega chains are great for wearing as a choker rather than a necklace with a pendant. Omega chains consist 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 an omega chain, snake chains are much more flexible.



ARE OMEGA CHAINS STRONG?


Omega chains have limited flexibility and can easily kink and bend. When damaged, the repair might require straightening and working on its inner structure or even removing the actual plate.



WRAPPING UP


We hope you enjoyed our quick guide on the different types of chains! As you can see, there are many options to choose from when it comes to finding the perfect chain for your pendant or the best statement piece. When selecting a chain, it's important to keep in mind the type of metal and the weight and thickness of the links. You'll also want to consider how often you'll wear the necklace and if you need a chain resistant to tangling or kinking. Of course, the decision comes down to personal preference and what looks best with your overall style. So, experiment with different types of chains until you find one (or more!) that you love.