While for years it’s been all about pendant necklaces, chains have become more coveted, especially in the 21st century. Chains have fast become a key accessory in many collections. Their different types add texture, contrast and shine to any look and are a big success with both sexes – we’re looking at you, Connell from Normal People. Before you delve into the world of chains, here’s everything you need to know about chain types, including how to style some of our favourites.
The anchor or mariner chain has a unique distinct appearance, mainly because of its link style. The anchor chain gets its name from the nautical world and is inspired by the chains used on ship anchors. The chain consists of interlocking ovals with a bar running across the middle of each link. The round shapes combined with the straight lines gives it a strong textured look. The links can be flat or puffed and range in widths, depending on your preference. Anchor chains are sturdy chains that are hard to break but can be easily repaired if anything does happen to it. While this type of chain is typically worn on its own, you can also add pendants to it – maybe an anchor charm!
BeadAlso known as a ball chain, a bead chain is a series of tiny beads linked together. The beads can be close together or have small spaces between them for more flexibility. The beads vary in diameter, typically from 2mm up to 6mm depending on how thin or thick you want your chain. Chances are you’ve seen this necklace style before as they’re most popularly used in dog tags. These chains are simple and dainty but with a dog tag, they have a cool military look. They fit well in layers if you’re looking for a necklace with a bit more of a rounded chain.
BelcherSimilar to the trace chain, the belcher chain is a timeless classic that dates back to the 18th century. The chain is cut, shaped and soldered into individual links which are then interlocked together. The belcher links tend to be wider than its thickness and are typically round but can come in other shapes. It’s a stunning looking chain and extremely versatile, easy to wear for everyday or on a night out. Like the trace, a belcher chain can hold and show off a pendant or gem, but the thickness of the chain means it can be worn on its own for a simple statement.
BoxThe box chain has a very recognisable look. While most chains are made up of circles or ovals, a box chain is made of square links connected together to make a continuous smooth chain. The squares give this chain its box shape which adds a lot of stability to the necklace, so if you’re looking for something to last a long time, this is the best choice. Like most chains, the box can be worn alone or in layers. Our style tip is to play around with size. We’d recommend either a choker style box chain that’s close to the neck or a longer one that sits on the chest.
CableEasily the most popular style, the cable chain is typically used in most necklace styles. It’s comprised of interconnected identical oval links that can be flattened or risen. While the ovals tend to be identical, you can find some that incorporate small, medium and large links for a more intriguing look. We’d recommend layering a small cable chain featuring a pendant – either a gemstone or disc – alongside a chunkier cable chain for more structure.
CurbThe curb chain is a common style that’s basic but timeless. The curb chain is made up of a series of interconnected uniform links. These links tend to be round or oval that are twisted tightly together. No matter the size or width, the curb chain is designed to sit flat. Curb chains are heavy, durable and popular with both men and women. The bigger curb chains have a masculine touch whereas the smaller thinner chains are more feminine. A great thing about this chain is it’s not purely for necklaces but also for bracelets. Wearing a curb style necklace and bracelet together is a great coordinated look that’s perfect for every day.
The figaro chain is similar to the curb and cable style – except it’s fancier! The figaro originates from Italy and is comprised of alternating patterns of flattened links in different sizes. This chain typically consists of one long link with two or three shorter links. The figaro gives a beautiful pattern to any look and adds extra detail to layers. While you can get this style in both gold and silver, the gold adds a great pop of colour and sparkle.
This style is named simply because it looks like a rope! The rope chain is made of twisted metal links that are woven together tightly, giving it a rope-like appearance. This type is thin but looks glamorous and textural in a thicker width. The twists make the chain look shiny and intricate from all angles. This chain is a statement piece due to its intriguing structure. It’s best worn alone as a simple chain and mixing them up with different colours and lengths.
The final chain in our guide is the snake chain. The chain is named after a snake as it resembles the body and pattern of a snake. It’s a series of small rings connected tightly to form the chain. The rings are bound so close together that you can’t see any space between each band, giving it a smooth sleek look. The chain has a lot of movement and is very durable so you can add as many charms to it as you’d like. It’s a simple chain that offers a lot of beauty. If you’re trying to decide what colour you want, we’d recommend a cool metal like silver or platinum.
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