Types of Necklace Chains: 18 Different Styles to Wear

Joanna Elizabeth


Published April 19, 2023

Types of Necklace Chains
Photo: Deposit Photos

Meet the ultimate guide to the different types of necklace chains, where we take a closer look at the diverse world of necklace chains. Whether looking for a casual or formal look, a necklace chain can make a difference in your outfit.

Choosing a suitable necklace chain can enhance your overall style and make you feel confident and fabulous. In our guide, we will examine the history, description, and common uses of various types of necklace chains.

Types of Necklace Chains

Figaro Chains

The Figaro chain is a popular necklace style with flattened links of varying sizes, featuring three shorter links followed by a longer one in a repeating pattern. Originating in Italy during the 18th century, it was used mainly for men’s jewelry and named after a character in “The Barber of Seville“, a popular Italian opera. 

In the 1980s, the chain gained popularity in the United States for both men and women. Due to its bold and timeless design, it is now a versatile jewelry piece, often used for pendants, charm bracelets, or as a standalone statement piece.

Curb Chains

Curb Chain Necklace Gold
Photo: Shutterstock

The Curb chain is a classic necklace style with flat, interlocking links that create a subtle texture and reflective surface. Its history dates back to ancient Egyptians, but it gained popularity in 1800s Europe for men’s jewelry. 

Nowadays, the Curb chain is a popular choice for both men and women, available in various styles and designs, from delicate to bold. It is a universal and timeless choice suitable for any occasion, commonly used for pendant necklaces, charm bracelets, or as a standalone statement piece.

Rope Chains

Rope chains are an elegant necklace style with twisted strands of metal resembling a rope, adding depth and dimension to any outfit. Dating back to ancient times, rope chains were used for religious artifacts and worn by royalty. 

In the 1970s, they became widespread statement jewelry for both men and women. Today, rope chains are seen everywhere, available in various widths and lengths for layering or wearing alone. They are used for standalone necklaces, bracelets, and anklets and are popular for pendants, with the twisting texture adding extra interest to the piece.

Ball Chain

The ball chain, featuring small, evenly spaced spherical beads, can be made of various materials and sized from 1.5mm to 10mm for delicate or bold statement necklaces. Initially used for military dog tags during WWI, ball chains gained popularity in industrial applications such as plumbing and electrical work. 

In recent years, they have become a unique choice for jewelry designers. Ball chains are suitable for simple, understated necklaces that can be worn alone or layered, commonly used for men’s jewelry such as dog tag necklaces or as a base for pendants. 

Ball chains can be mixed with other chain types to create a textured and visually exciting look with a vintage or retro feel.

Oval Links

Oval Chain Necklace
Photo: Shutterstock

Oval links are flat, interconnected links that are wider than they are long, adding an interesting texture to the cable chain. Its history dates back to ancient times when Romans used it for jewelry as a symbol of wealth and power. 

Oval links are suitable for pendants or charms as they are sturdy and have a masculine feel. They can also be used for bracelets and anklets for a subtle look.

Mariner Chains

Mariner chains are a classic jewelry item adding elegance to any outfit. They have a unique link design resembling ship chains, featuring interlocking oval links alternating between horizontal and vertical bars. 

Their origin is unclear, but their strength and durability made them famous in the nautical world, transitioning into fashion as a statement piece. Mariner chains are now prevalent in necklaces, bracelets, and anklets for both men and women. 

They can be dressed up or down, showcasing their versatility and unique design. Mariner chains are perfect for anyone seeking a timeless yet modern jewelry item.

Wheat Chains

Wheat chains are delicate yet strong types of necklace chains made of four strands of interwoven links, forming a unique and intricate pattern resembling a wheat stalk. Originating in the 18th century, they were handcrafted and are still made today by skilled artisans or through machine production.

Wheat chains are suitable for men’s and women’s jewelry, often used to showcase pendants. They are popular for everyday wear due to their strength and flexibility and can be layered for a trendy look. 

Additionally, they are common in religious jewelry like rosaries and cross necklaces. The wheat chain is a classic and versatile option for anyone seeking a durable and stylish necklace chain.

Herringbone Chain

Herringbone Chain Necklace
Photo: Shutterstock

Herringbone chains are favored due to their V-shaped pattern and fluid and flexible style made by weaving flat metal segments. They come in varying widths and lengths and are made of different metals. Originating from ancient Egypt, it gained popularity in the 1970s, worn by notable celebrities. 

Herringbone chains remain a universal choice for both men and women, dressed up or down depending on the occasion. They can be paired with pendants or worn alone as a statement piece. Additionally, thicker herringbone chains are popular in men’s jewelry, and worn as a bold fashion statement.

Rolo Chains

The Rolo chain, also known as the Belcher chain, is a classic chain style with oval links creating a smooth and symmetrical look. Its history dates back to ancient times, originating in Italy and crafted by skilled artisans.

Nowadays, Rolo chains are a popular choice for creating necklaces, bracelets, and accessories. You can use them for everyday wear or special occasions, and they can be worn alone or layered with other chains for a more complex and elegant look. 

Rolo chains are also a common choice for holding pendants, making them suitable for necklaces.

Bead Chains

Bead chains are versatile and stylish jewelry made of small, spherical beads strung together in various materials like precious metals and gemstones. They were initially used in ancient times for counting and, in the 1800s, became popular in necklaces and bracelets. 

The Art Deco era featured bead chains in stunning jewelry with geometric shapes and bold colors. Nowadays, bead chains remain popular for their delicate and intricate designs made with small links, suitable for layering with other necklaces or bracelets. 

They are also an excellent option for a minimalist look due to their simplicity yet elegance. Whether worn alone or paired with other jewelry, the bead chain is a timeless and versatile addition to any jewelry collection.

Square Link Chains

Square Link Chain Necklace
Photo: Shutterstock

Square link chains are a modern style with square-shaped links made of materials like gold, silver, and stainless steel. Their history is unclear, but they have gained popularity for their new and exciting way of wearing jewelry. 

Square links can boldly appear in a simple outfit or layered for a complex, eye-catching look. Additionally, they are popular in men’s jewelry for their masculine and edgy vibe. 

Overall, square link chains are a versatile and stylish choice for anyone seeking to add a unique look to their jewelry collection.

Trace Chains

The Trace chain is a classic and elegant jewelry chain featuring evenly spaced and connected round links creating a smooth and fluid look. Originating from the Victorian era, it remains timeless and versatile, complementing any style. 

The Trace chain is standard in necklaces, bracelets, and anklets and is also suitable for pendants as it directs focus to the charm itself. Moreover, it can create layered looks, adding texture and depth to any jewelry collection.

Cuban Chains

Cuban chains are a link chain style with thick, oval links interlocked with each other. They can vary in thickness, creating a chunkier or more delicate look. Originating from the Caribbean in the 1970s, they symbolized wealth and status. 

The chain gained popularity in hip-hop culture in the 1980s and remains a popular accessory in urban fashion today. The Cuban chain suits both men and women and can be worn alone or layered with other chains for a statement look. 

They are versatile, adding glamour to any outfit, and are perfect for any jewelry collection, whether with yellow gold or white gold chains.

Anchor Chains

Anchor Chain Necklace
Photo: Shutterstock

The anchor chain features oval links with a bar across the center, giving it a distinctive look popular for nautical-themed jewelry. Its history dates back to ancient times, used to secure ships in port and later adopted as a decorative element in Victorian-era jewelry. 

Anchor chains are suitable for nautical-themed jewelry such as bracelets, anklets, and necklaces. They are also used frequently for men’s jewelry due to their sturdy and masculine look.

Venetian Chain

The Venetian chain has tightly interlocked links forming a flat surface, providing a modern look. Its uniform size and shape make it ideal for pendants. The chain originated in Venice during the Renaissance period when wealthy merchants wore it as a status symbol. 

Today, Venetian chains remain popular for their durability and unique appearance, used for pendants and standalone necklaces. They’re suitable for everyday wear or formal occasions.

Singapore Chain

Singapore Chain Necklace
Photo: Deposit Photos

The Singapore chain is a durable and delicate chain that features twisted and diamond-cut links, creating a shimmering effect. It was named after the country Singapore due to its popularity in Southeast Asia, but it originated in Italy. 

The chain gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s and is still a popular choice today. It is often used for dainty necklaces but can also be used for larger and more intricate designs. The Singapore chain is perfect for adding sparkle to any outfit, making it suitable for both casual and formal occasions.

Omega Chain

The Omega chain features flat, polished metal plates that are interlocked to form a flexible and sturdy chain. The flat surface of the chain gives it a sleek and modern appearance.

The Omega chain was first introduced in the 1970s and quickly became popular due to its unique design. It is named after the Greek letter Omega, which resembles the shape of the chain links.

This chain is commonly used for high-end jewelry designs, including necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. It is perfect for showcasing large and heavy pendants, and it is often worn for special occasions.

Diamond Cut Chain

Snake Chain Diamond Cut Necklace
Photo: Shutterstock

The diamond-cut chain features links that have been cut with a diamond-tipped tool, giving them a sparkling and textured appearance. It comes in various styles, including cable, curb, and snake chains.

This chain was first introduced in the 1980s and quickly became popular due to its unique texture and sparkle. It is now a popular choice for both men’s and women’s jewelry.

The diamond cut chain is frequently used for both everyday and special occasion jewelry. It is perfect for adding texture and sparkle to any outfit and is often used for standalone necklaces or as a base for pendants.

Final Words on Types of Necklace Chains

Choosing the types of necklace chains is essential to creating a beautiful and functional jewelry collection. Whether you prefer the classic look of a Figaro chain or the modern appearance of a Venetian chain, there is a type of chain that will fit your style and needs. 

By understanding the different styles of necklace chains and their history and uses, you can make an informed decision and find a beautiful piece of jewelry that can be worn for decades. 

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