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A Guide to Chain Types Explained

Our Editorial Guide on Chain Types

There are various type or styles of chain identified mostly by the shape of the links that create the chain. The most used in the making of jewellery are explained below.


What are the different types of chains?
Which type of necklace chain is the strongest?
What is a flat chain necklace called?
What are necklace chains made of?

The Different Types of Chains?

The most popular chain styles are the Cuban, Figaro, and Curb chain, but below are the 11 types we will explain that create the unique and genius methods for creating these complex and most crucial part of chain making.


Curb Chain

3mm Silver Steel Curb Chain Necklace

The Curb link style show case an interlocking pattern which is effective in ensuring the overall strength. Curb chains have been around for hundreds of years, long before state of the art technology existed. So they are part of the classic chain style group. The curb chain still remains a very fashionable choice, as do most classic jewelry pieces. There are many different types of curb chains with unique finishes like rounded curb, open curb, close curb, concaved curb, square curb, flat curb and more.

Rope Chain

Rope Chain Bracelet

The segments are connected tightly in twos or threes, with a twisting pattern so that it resembles an actual rope and reflects light amazingly well from all angles. Thus, the rope chain is one of the  most popular styles of chains around the world.
Thinner rope chains are well suited for pendants and they are a very secure option for them as well. Thicker rope chains will look best on their own, and they are a statement piece enough without the pendant. The pattern of the links resembles that of a rope and is a classic style.


Figaro Chain

Typically, the design pattern is one long flattened link,
the two or three shorter flattened links. The two or three shorter links are the same size as each other, which gives it a uniformed design throughout the length of the chain.

Cable Chain

Cable Chain Necklace

Also know as The Mariner chain as the distinct characteristic of this chain is the shape of its links which resemble that of an actual ship's anchor and consists of a series of identical round or oval links. Each individual link is connected to the next, forming a wonderful chain made for beauty and functionality.
Some cable chains are round and some are flattened. But as long as each link is of the same size and connected one by one, it is a cable chain. There are two major variations of this chain - The rounded edge and the flat link design.


Snake Chain

Snake Chain Necklace

The Snake chain consist of a series of small rings (plates or bands), which are joined tightly to form a continuously smooth and sleek chain. These chains have a good looking texture and just overall they look very nice and elegant. A snake chain with a pendant makes for a stunning necklace. The overall look of the chain closely resembles that of a snake's skin hence, the term.


Box Chain

box chain

Compared to other chain designs or styles, the Box chain is made up of interconnected square links. This style can be thick and heavy compared to most other styles in this list. They have square links instead of the typical round links you see in the other different types of chains. This gives each link the appearance of being a small box.


Byzantine Chain

Byzantine Bracelet

Among the group, the Byzantine chain boasts the most intricate design. Its links intermingle with each other at a rather intricate pattern. The texture of the chain is comparable to that of the rope style. Due to the pattern of intermingling links, the Byzantine chain is quite flexible and can drape well around the neck.

Wheat Chain

Wheat Chain Bracelet

Unlike most, the Wheat chain is made up of four strands of intertwined tear-shaped links twisted to point at a single direction .A Wheat or Spiga chain is produced using four strands of twisted oval links. It has a somewhat similar appearance as a rope chain from a distance. The links are “woven” and “braided” together, making a splendidly charming necklace. The Wheat chain is considered as the most durable of all chain styles no matter the gauge of its thickness and length but can lack flexibility.


Herringbone Chain

Herringbone leather

The Herringbone chain is composed of intertwined thin flat links that are slightly bent at the middle to project a herringbone look but this chain does not sit well with a pendant of any size, shape, and design and should be worn as it is.


Which Type of Necklace Chain Is the Strongest?

Strength and stability of the chain depends on two critical factors - shape and size of links and the interlocking patterns. Of all the chain styles listed above, the Wheat chain is considered as the strongest simply because it is made of four strands of intertwining oval links that are interlocked and twisted at a single direction.
The wheat chain resembles closely the pattern of a rope chain and has a smooth texture. It can be worn as a stand-alone chain or matched with a pendant. This chain style is light and does not kink. Other considerable options in terms of strength are the Rope, Byzantine, and Cuban link.
However, bear in mind that other factors also play a critical role in the overall strength of the necklace chain. One is the type of material used in making the said jewellery item. For example, platinum is considered as the rarest and extremely durable. Yet still, its strength does not compare to a less expensive material which is also considered as the lightest at the same time.


What Is A Flat Chain Necklace Called?

Basically, the flat chain necklace refers to the Herringbone chain. As discussed earlier, the Herringbone chain is composed of tightly connected thin and flat metal links. However, it is also considered as one of the least durable and may easily kink up. If you are not into the Herringbone chain, you may opt for the Mariner chain as your flat style alternative.


What Are Necklace Chains Made Of?

Necklace chains can be made of a wide spectrum of materials. A smart buyer considers this factor because the material used to produce the chain can have a significant effect on the item's overall durability, flexibility, look and feel.
A lot of neck chains are made of sterling silver with a bit of copper in the mix. Although the combination shouts durability, silver necklace chains get easily tarnished. gold is mixed with other metals which directly affects its strength and colour.

The combination of gold and non-gold metals produces what is referred to as an alloy. These non-gold metals include silver, copper, nickel, zinc, and palladium. White gold is a product of combining gold with metals like palladium, nickel, and silver. On the other hand, rose gold is a gold alloy with high copper content.

A much more durable and affordable alternative is stainless steel that are classed in various quality grades like 204, 304 and 316, the last being the best quality.

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