17 Different Types of Chains

Necklace chains give you an expectational style and look. With so many options, thicknesses, and lengths, it is hard to know which one on which to spend your money. This article tells you everything you need to know to make the perfect selection of all the chain options.

People have worn chains for generations. There are so many different materials, sizes, types, and styles for chains that there is sure to be one that interests you. You can wear a chain by itself or use it to hold a pendant. When I was a teenager, wearing a chain was the cool thing to do.

You would not even consider dating someone that did not wear a chain. Wearing chains went out of style for a while but are regaining popularity. Continue reading this article to find out about the different types of chains. Soon, you will know everything you need to pick out the perfect chain style for you.

What Are They?

A chain is intended to be worn around your neck, and it is often referred to as a necklace chain. Chains can be worn by themselves or with a pendant or charm. Chains are a simple string of metal or links put together to create the chain. A large number of metals are used in chains.

  • Platinum is durable, strong, and a more expensive option. It tends to look a lot like white gold. You would not be able to tell the difference from far away, and maybe not up close up, either.
  • Gold is a popular metal for a jewelry chain, and the more popular it is at any given time also makes it more expensive. You can find it in 14k and 18k. You can also find it in yellow, rose, and white. Gold is soft and needs specific care. A gold chain shines better than most other metals.
  • Silver is an affordable metal and is found most often in costume jewelry. Sterling silver is also called 925 silver. Silver does tarnish and requires appropriate cleaning and polishing.
  • Titanium is lightweight, durable, and really inexpensive. It has a dark silvery look to it and does not need any care. It does not scratch.

Where To Buy Them

You can purchase chains from many retailers. You have the option to buy chains from online stores or brick and mortar stores. There are retailers that only specialize in jewelry, such as Blue Nile and Littman Jewelers. The Blue Nile is an online-only retailer, which allows them to give their customers reasonable prices. There are some retailers like Amazon and Etsy that sell jewelry but sell other items, as well.

Types

Due to a large number of types of chains, it can be difficult to make a final selection. It is helpful to know details about the many options available to you.

Mariner Chain

Verona Jewelers 925 Sterling Silver 3.5MM 4.5MM Solid Flat Mariner Link Chain Necklace- Sterling Silver Necklace Chain 18" 20" 22" 24" 30" (22, 3.5MM)
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This link chain was inspired by those in the nautical world. The design mimics the chains that are attached to anchors on a boat. If you love the sea or beach, this could be the chain for you. It has ovals that interlock with a bar that goes across the middle of each oval. This is a strong type of link and comes in various widths.

A thicker mariner chain is more popular with men, while the thinner versions are popular for women. The traditional style of this chain is flat, but there is a more modern puffed version. This is a great necklace chain to be worn alone and on a regular basis. The mariner chain is easy to repair in the event that it breaks.

Ball Chain

Silvadore 2mm Ball Mens Necklace - Silver Chain Stainless Steel Jewelry - Bead Neck Link Chains for Men Man Women Boys Male Military Dog Tag Pendant - 18" to 36" (20, Velvet Pouch)
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A ball chain is also called a bead chain. It is a series of beads that create a chain by being linked together. On some chains, each bead is close together, but on others, they have some space between them. Metal bars are used to attach each bead to the chain.

Ball chains are commonly found with dog tags attached to them. Ball chains do not look great when worn alone. They are best paired with a pendant or accessory. It gives the wearer a cool look.

These chains are not the strongest and may break much easier than expected. If it does break, it is not easy to fix. Most often, these types of chains are made of less expensive metals. The balls on this beaded chain can be found in different sizes. They are sized in millimeters. The bead chain is often worn with cheaper types of accessories. It is often a silver chain.

Curb chain (H3)

Silvadore 9mm Curb Mens Necklace - Silver Chain Flat Cuban Stainless Steel Jewelry - Neck Link Chains for Men Man Boys Male Heavy Military - 18 20 22 24 inch (24, Velvet Pouch)
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The curb chain is a classic and timeless design. It is a basic chain that is made from links that are all the same size and connected together. The links can be oval or round in shape. These links lay flat against you, even after they have been locked together. They can have a heavy look to them. They are chunky and appeal to men.

A thinner version of the curb chain is available, which is considered more delicate for females. This link chain is sturdy and durable, so they are easy to care for. If they do happen to break, they are easy to repair. A curb chain can be worn by itself or with a pendant. They are ideal for heavy, big pendants.

Cable Chain

2MM Stainless steel chain necklace, Thin cable chain necklace for women men, Silver chains for necklace alone or pendant addition, 16-30 inch Available. (20.00)
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A cable chain is a basic style chain and mimics iron chains that were used for prisoners or various other reasons like to anchor a ship. The cable chain is created by oval links that are exactly the same and connected together. The links of the chain can be flattened, so the chain is flat. The links stay round, and the wire is textured.

These chains are durable and will not break easily when the links are welded individually. When they are not, the links may pull apart easily. If the links break or become misshapen, they are easy to repair. This link chain can be worn alone but may seem plain. They can be worn with an accessory or pendant.

Rope Chain

Silvadore 4mm Rope Mens Necklace - Silver Chain Twist Stainless Steel Jewelry - Neck Link Chains for Men Man Male Women Boys Girls - 18" 20" 22" 24" 26" 36" UK
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This is one of the most common chains around the world. It has metal segments or links that are twisted around each other to mimic the look of a rope. It has a textured look, and the way that the metal is twisted reflects the light and appears shiny. These chains are durable and strong.

Even if you prefer the thinnest one, it is going to last you for a long time. The rope chain looks beautiful alone or with a pendant. This is a perfect necklace chain to wear as an everyday part of your jewelry. While it is unlikely this rope chain will break, it could happen, and you are not able to repair it yourself. You will need to take it to a jewelry repair shop.

Box Chain

T400 925 Sterling Silver 1.5mm 1mm Italian Box Chain Necklace Unisex Gift for Women Men Boys 16 18 20 22 24 26 30 inches
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The box chain takes a departure from the typical round and oval links of a necklace. Just as the name suggests, the links are square and connect in a way to look like a box. Their connection provides a continuous chain that flows smoothly. The box shape of the chain makes it more stable and durable. It can be found in different widths and are a popular style for men and women.

Typically, the wider versions are preferred by men. You can buy this chain in various lengths and match it to your outfit. The box chain is perfect on its own but can also hold a pendant. Pendants sit flat on the box chain, so they make an excellent pairing. This is a strong chain but may break occasionally. If it does break, it is easy to repair. When a link breaks, it can be removed from the chain without impacting how it looks.

Figaro Chain

HZMAN Men Women 24k Real Gold Plated Figaro Chain Stainless Steel Necklace, Wide 5mm 7mm 9mm 13mm
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The Figaro chain is another classic that many people prefer to wear. This chain originated in Italy but is worn around the world. It is a simple chain that has a unique design making it appealing. It is similar to a cable chain, but the link design is slightly different.

The pattern of this link chain is created with two or three round links followed by a long oval link. The links are flat and can be worn by themselves or with a pendant. The Figaro chain is worn by both men and women. This chain is strong and durable but may break. If it does, it is fairly easy to repair, but a link cannot be removed because it disrupts the pattern.

Snake Chain

This is a close look at a golden snake chain.

The snake chain has a unique design and gets its name from the flexible way the chain can move. It gets its name because the chain mimics the movement of a snake. This chain has a large number of small rings, plates, or bands that are so closely connected; the naked eye cannot see them.

This tight connection gives the chain its sleek look. There is no texture to this chain. It looks and feels completely smooth. The tight connection of the chain makes it incredibly sturdy, and it is less likely to break. A snake chain can be worn by itself or with a pendant and look just as stunning either way.

This chainis easy to clean and does not get caught in hair or tangle like other chains. If this chain does need to be repaired, it is not a simple job and may be an expensive repair. This chain is sometimes also called a Franco chain.

Wheat Chain

Mr. Bling 10K Yellow Gold 2.5mm 24" Wheat, Palm Chain Necklace with Lobster Lock
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The wheat chain is also referred to as a Spiga chain. This chain has oval links that are twisted together and look similar to a braided rope. The design of this chain creates a symmetrical chain with the links going in all the same direction. This chain has a large amount of texture.

It often looks like stalks of wheat, hence its name. The design gives this chain a sturdy and durable feel, but it also makes it slightly rigid. A wheat chain can be worn on its own or with a pendant. This chain will last, but if it breaks, it is not easy to repair, and you may find jewelers that will not repair it for you.

Herringbone Chain

EMATU 18k Real Gold Plated Flat Snake Chain Herringbone Choker Necklace for Women (5MM 16")
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A herringbone chain is created with many flat and thin segments of metal. Each one of the segments is bent in the middle to make the herringbone design. In some chains, you may have to look closely to see the design, but it is always there. This chain appears solid. It does not have a lot of give or flexibility to it.

It has a nice modern look that is ideal for any time. A herringbone chain is worn by both men and women. It is perfect to wear alone, but it ideal for a pendant. Most often, this chain has a lobster clasp to increase its durability and strength. The herringbone chain comes in various widths and lengths.

It has a polished look that is appealing to both men and women. If it breaks, it is not easy to repair. These chains also can kink and bend, which impacts how the chain looks.

Singapore Chain

JewelStop 14k Solid Yellow Gold 1.5 mm Singapore Chain Necklace, Lobster Claw-18 Inches, 1.6gr.
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The Singapore chain looks like a curb chain that has been twisted. It is a series of segments that have been twisted and braided and linked together. This creates a durable and strong chain necklace. When you stretch out the Singapore chain, you can see how it is twisted.

It moves as though it is liquid. Most often, people chose to wear a pendant on this type of chain. It is a simple design and a popular choice for those who wear chains. It has the appeal to be worn as an everyday staple. This jewelry chain is lightweight and comfortable to wear. This can be a gold chain, steel chain, or any chain-type you prefer.

Rollo Chain

Gold Rollo Chain / 20" Inches Long
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The Rollo chain has a series of round links that interlock. Each link is turned 180 degrees to give it a unique look. This design is close to that of a cable chain, except these links are symmetrical and round. The interlocking of the links creates a strong chain with a different look. It is available in different widths and lengths.

Men are more partial to the thicker, more chunky chains. The smaller version is a popular choice for women. This is a strong chain that is easy to repair if it breaks. It tends to look best with a pendant instead of on its own. This chain has a unique look that some do not prefer. You may find the Rolo chain spelled either as Rollo or Rolo, but they are the same chain. It is also referred to as a Belcher chain.

Omega Chain

Ross-Simons Italian 6mm Reversible Omega Necklace in Sterling Silver and 18kt Gold Over Sterling. 18 inches
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An Omega chain is similar to a herringbone chain in that it has metal segments that are flattened and connected. These chains are often worn as chokers and are incredibly stylish. They are typically found in 16 inch and 20-inch lengths.

More often, women wear them. They are worn alone but can have a pendant on them. These pendants must be sliders to move freely on the specific design of an omega chain.

These chains can kink and bend. They are not the most durable, and if they get twisted, they may be damaged. They can snag your clothes. You cannot sleep in this chain as it will get twisted. If the omega chain gets damaged, it may be able to be repaired. The ability to repair the chain depends on how substantial the damage is. You must be careful with this type of chain necklace.

Byzantine Chain

This is a close look at a necklace that has a Byzantine chain.

The Byzantine chain is a complex chain. It is one of the most elaborately designed chains you can find. It has oval or circle links that are woven together in a multidimensional design. It has a lot of texture, and the links change direction, alternating left to right. One link in the chain passes through four other links.

The pattern of this chain is distinct and does not look like any other chain. A Byzantine chain has been referred to by other names, such as birdcage, king’s braid, and idiot’s delight. This is a sturdy and durable chain. This chain does not look right with a pendant and is mean to stand alone. If it breaks, you will not be able to fix it. You will have to take it to a jeweler. If you are looking for something new to add to your collection, this is it.

San Marco Chain

14k Yellow Gold San Marco Chain Necklace Pendant Charm Fine Jewelry For Women Gifts For Her
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The San Marco chain has a distinct look. While it is not that well known, its unique style stands out and is easy to recognize. It looks similar to a grain of rice that is rounded and oval. Each link is an individual piece, and they are connected with a pin.

The links in this necklace are hollow. While they are rounded on top, they are flat on the bottom and arranged on a diagonal. This is a classic style that will have everyone looking at you. It has matching bracelets if you want a full set. This chain should not break easily but can be repaired with the proper tools.

Gucci Chain

A golden Gucci link chain from Etsy.

Source: Etsy

Do not be deceived by the name of this chain; it is not made by Gucci. Gucci does make jewelry, but this is not part of their collection. The Gucci chain is similar to an anchor chain, except these links are round and not oval.

Each link has a round hole on either side with a bar in the middle. Each link connects to the link on either side. There is not metal wire or pin holding the links together, as they are interconnected. This is a popular chain that can be worn alone or with a pendant. The thinner chains look best with a pendant.

Diamond Cut Chain

Miabella Solid 925 Sterling Silver Italian 5mm Diamond Cut Cuban Link Curb Chain Necklace for Women Men, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 30 Inch Made in Italy (16 Inches)
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While the diamond cut chain is not as much an individual chain style as it is a design on a chain, it is important to mention here. You can get chains that are diamond cut, and you should understand what that means, as well as what you are paying for.

A diamond cut does not involve diamonds at all, so do not be deceived. It means that there was a groove cut into the metal, usually with a chisel. It is a way to make the jewelry sparkle and shine without actually adding a diamond to the chain. Some people enjoy the diamond cut look, while it may not appear to others.

History

We give most of the credit to the Ancient Egyptians for the chains of today. They were the first to weave and thread silver and gold links together. They were also the first to hammer sheets of gold and then roll it into a wire.

Gold was abundant in Early Greece, and the Greeks created pendants to wear on chains. In the 8th century, strands of the chain were connected to create flexible bands that were similar to fabric. Around 300 BC, the elite wore chains with gems.

During the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci made the design for chains even more improved by putting a pendant on a long chain of gold to create the pendant necklace. The upper class has always worn jewelry or pendants as a symbol of wealth. In the 18th century, chains did not change much.

There were new chain styles, but their popularity remained. With time came a technology that helps automate making chain and soldering links. The process was improved faster, and chains became more accessible to the masses.

FAQs

Can I Wear a Chain Everyday?

Yes, most chains are meant to be worn every day. Depending on the chain, it may get damaged easily. You will have to be careful with those. Other chains are durable enough to be worn all the, even to bed and in the shower.

Which Necklace Chain is the Strongest?

The strongest type of necklace is one that has links that interlock and provides flexibility. These necklaces do not kink and can be fixed easily when broken.

What Chain Type is Best for a Pendant?

You want a chain that can hold the weight of a pendant without causing damage to the chain. You want a chain that is simple and does not have a lot of design so the pendant does not make it look to busy. You should consider a chain that is a bead, cable, rope, and curb style chain.

How Much Does a Chain Cost?

The simple answer is that no one really likes is it depends. The cost of the chain is going to depend on the type of metal, the style you choose, the length, and the thickness. Platinum metal is one of the most expensive, followed by gold, and then silver. Thicker chains are going to cost more than a thin ones. A silver chain cost anywhere from less than $100 to several hundreds of dollars. A gold chain is going to start at several hundreds of dollars to thousands.

What is the Popular Necklace Length?

Necklace chains come in varying lengths that range from 16 inches to 36 inches. Some chains come in even longer lengths. The most common length is about 18 inches. This length of chain sits below the collarbone and above your chest. It can be easily seen no matter what you are wearing.

What is Best Thickness for a Necklace?

Necklaces come in various thicknesses. It depends on the style of the necklace and your preferences. If you want to wear a pendant on the necklace, you need a thicker type of chain. The most common gauge of the chain is about 1 mm to 1.5 mm. Some chains styles look better when they are thicker, while others look better thinner.

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