Jewelry Trends

Types of Chains

Rachel Akmakjian


Rachel Akmakjian

15 of the Most Popular Types of Chains You Can Buy at the Jewelry Store

Maybe you inherited a lovely heirloom pendant. Perhaps you’re looking for an understated piece of jewelry — a necklace or a bracelet — that you can wear with any outfit. Whatever the case, we’re here to help if you’re in the market for a jewelry chain.

However, before you go to the jewelry store and ask to buy just any old necklace chain, you need to do some homework. Not all chains are the same. There are many, many types of chain and chain link styles that you could buy.

Chain necklaces in store

What You Will Learn

15 Popular and Favorite Types of Chains

1. The Cable Chain

The cable chain is one of the most basic chain styles. You’re likely imagining one of these when you think of a quintessential chain necklace or bracelet. You’d likely draw one of these if someone asked you to draw a chain necklace. It’s as simple as it gets. The cable chain consists of all identical loops, all typically perfectly circular.

A trace chain is a specific type of cable chain in which the chain is particularly delicate, with tiny small loops.

2. The Paperclip Chain

The Paperclip Chain info

The paperclip chain is similar to the cable chain in that all chain links are identical. However, unlike the cable chain that features slightly oval or round links, the paperclip chain’s links look just like a paperclip with the same elongated shape.


3. The Box Chain or Venetian Chain

Similarly, the box chain, also called a Venetian chain, is just what it sounds like. Rather than feature oval shaped links, the box chain’s links look like little boxes. The square links give a smooth, minimalist appearance heavier than a more delicate cable chain.

4. The Rope Chain

One of the popular chain neckalces on the market is the rope chain. Rope necklace chains feature round, doubled-up links that connect to the following two links and so on.

5. Rolo Chains

The rolo chain is a bit like a cable chain in that it features circular links of the same size. However, the rolo chain’s links look like little tiny wedding bands, more or less. Like a wedding band, each link is slightly curved inward rather than lying flat.

6. The Bead Chain (or Ball Chain)

Bead or ball chains are less common for jewelry chains, but you might still find a ball chain necklace here or there. A ball chain features little identical balls held together by connectors. These types of necklace chains don’t offer the same fluidity as the classic cable chains do.

7. The Snake Chain

You’ve probably caught on by now that most jewelry chain link styles obtain their name for their appearance, and that’s precisely the case with snake chains. The snake chain looks like the underbelly of a snake, with pointed links closely aligned to give a smooth, sleek, continuous appearance.

8. The Popcorn Chain

One of the more whimsical and fun types of chain necklace links, a popcorn chain is a bit similar to a ball chain. However, the popcorn chain’s balls are shrunken down and arranged to look like small orbs covering the entire necklace length.

9. The Byzantine Chain

The Byzantine chain features an intricate design wherein each chain link connects with four other links. A Byzantine chain necklace is eye-catching all on its own. It should be worn solo, without any layering or any other adornments.

10. The Wheat Chain

The wheat chain is similar, combining multiple strands of oval links into one braided chain style. However, wheat chains boast a more delicate appearance than the Byzantine chain.

11. The Curb Chain (or Cuban Link Chain)

Curb chains feature twisted, uniform links of varying thickness and weight. A Cuban link chain is a variation of a curb link chain that’s slightly heavier.

12. The Figaro Chain

Figaro chains are almost reminiscent of a paperclip chain, featuring elongated flat links. Still, they also feature smaller, round links in a pattern (for example, one flat link followed by three round links followed by another flat link, and so on).

13. The Anchor Chain (or Mariner Chain)

The anchor chain is one of the most unique types of chain necklaces. Between each typical round chain link is a link that features two holes instead of one, with each hole interlocking with the link nearest it.

14. The Herringbone Chain

Similar to the snake chain, the herringbone chain is an interlocking link chain that forms a pattern with its flat links. In this case, the pattern is herringbone.

15. The Singapore Chain

The Singapore chain features diamond-shaped links with a twist so that the overall chain necklace or bracelet looks as if it has an undulating, wave-like appearance.

Chain Necklaces and Bracelets FAQs

What is Chain Jewelry Made From?

You can find chain jewelry made out of just about any precious metal. There are gold chains, sterling silver chains, and platinum chains. If you have a particular favorite precious metal, you can likely find a chain made from that material.

When is it Appropriate to Wear a Chain?

You can wear a chain for both casual and formal occasions. It all depends on how you style it. Simpler chains are ideal for simpler outfits, like jeans and a t-shirt, or for layering with other chains for a maximalist or bohemian look. More significant, heavier, or more overall complex chains are statement pieces that should stand alone.

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Can You Wear a Chain in the Shower?

It depends on what the chain consists of. Some precious metals should not be exposed to water at all. However, most jewelry should not be worn in the shower in general, because there’s the likelihood that you’ll expose that jewelry to soap and similar products, which can cause damage and discoloration.

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Do You Have a Favorite Chain or Other Piece of Jewelry? Make Sure It’s Protected

Whether your favorite piece of jewelry is a chain, or you have another piece that you couldn’t bear to lose or stand the thought of damaging, ensure you have coverage with specialized jewelry insurance from BriteCo.

We ensure that your fine jewelry can be repaired in the event of damage or replaced in the event of loss, whether you accidentally left a favorite piece behind while traveling internationally, a piece was stolen, or it simply disappeared and you have no idea where it went.

Need to know more? Get all the details regarding our comprehensive coverage and your quick and easy quote now.

Also Check:

Types of Jewelry | BriteCo Jewelry Insurance

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Rachel's expertise is further enhanced by her distinction as a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA), equipping her with exceptional knowledge in gem identification and grading. Her education and experiences have given her an in-depth understanding of the demands and expectations facing jewelers and customers in today’s evolving retail marketplace.