Award Winning Jewellery - Handmade in sterling silver in the UK

Search our collections

Different Types of Chains: A Complete Buying Guide for Jewellery Chains

Buying or gifting a new necklace is more complex than it seems. The process of selecting a necklace is not something that should be rushed. You have to consider factors like the length and type of the chain to ensure that your purchase meets the needs, lifestyle, and fashion sense of the person wearing it. 

Let’s take a look at the different kinds of jewellery chains for men and women.

Different Types of Chains

Selecting the right jewellery chain can make your other accessories stand out. Here are the most common types of chains that are available in jewellery stores:

#1. Cable Chain

This is one of the most traditional jewellery chains. Most of the time, it’s the first type of necklace chain you'll receive or buy for yourself. This well-loved chain is comprised of tiny, uniform, and oval links that are locked together. Think of it as a miniature version of the iron chains that ships use to anchor their vessels.

The cable chain is also sometimes called a link chain. It can be round or flattened. Most, if not all kinds of pendants go well with this simple and basic chain. It is a common necklace that’s ideal for everyday use.

cable chain

#2. Figaro Chain

Figaro chains don't follow a uniform size. Up to three shorter links are divided by one oval link that’s slightly bigger than the rest. This chain is usually intended for men’s jewellery and comes in different thicknesses, sizes, and styles. Figaro chains, especially when worn by men, are paired with pendants, medallions, and crosses.

figaro chain

#3. Curb Chain

This jewellery chain features flattened links that have been twisted together to form a tight chain. It can easily be mistaken for a cable chain. However, it has a very close formation with chunkier variations making it the chain of choice for statement necklaces.

These oval cable chains usually lie flat against your neck and chest. Two popular variations of curb chains type are the twisted and marquise style. This creates a simple look for necklaces allowing the pendant to take center stage.

curb chain

#4. Ball Chain

As the name suggests, this chain is comprised of small metal balls. Although there are many ball sizes available, the balls in the necklace always follow a uniform size. Each ball is hollow with holes on each side where a metal wire threads them together.

Considered a unisex type of chain, the most common pendants used with ball chains are military-style dog tags. Some men even wear it as is without additional bling.

ball chain

#5. Rope Chain

This chain is intended to look like rope. It achieves this by having the chains intricately woven and twisted together. Rope chains provide an intricate and delicate design that makes them perfect for stacking or layering necklaces together.

Although there are more embellished rope chains that accentuate the rope design, smaller versions draw more attention because of their natural femininity and vulnerability. The rope chain is usually worn with small pendants.

rope chain

#6. Snake Chain

The name of this chain comes from its scale-like but smooth texture that resembles snakeskin. This chain is composed of plates that are slightly curved and then woven tightly using thin links to achieve a tubular shape that is completely flexible.

The snake chain is a top favourite among jewellers because it can be used as a standalone piece. Although you can add a delicate pendant, it can also be stunning on its own.

snake chain

#7. Box Chain

Also called the Venetian chain, this type of necklace has cubed links made from round wires that are flattened and then formed to resemble small box-like structures. The cubes are then molded together to become a chain. The box chain is considered one of the strongest chains that is capable of supporting larger and heavier pendants.

box chain

#8. Diamond Cut Anchor Chain

The Diamond Cut Anchor Chain is a luxurious variant of the traditional anchor chain. Each link is meticulously cut with a diamond to create additional facets, enhancing the chain's sparkle and allure. This cutting technique allows the chain to catch and reflect light more brilliantly, making it a favourite choice for high-end jewellery. It's not just visually striking but also sturdy, embodying both elegance and durability. Ideal for those who seek a touch of glamour in their everyday wear or for special occasions.

diamond cut anchor chain

#9. Margherita Chain

The Margherita Chain, is characterised by its sparkly, encrusted appearance - just like the salt crystals around a glass of Margarita. Each link is made from a seemingly random sparkly piece of silver, invisibly linked to the next, but giving an overall appearance of something quite cosmic! The Margherita Chain is often worn alone for a subtle statement or paired with lightweight pendants for an added touch of sophistication.

margherita chain

#10. Singapore Chain

The Singapore Chain is known for its interlinked segments that create a twisted, spiral-like pattern, offering a unique and eye-catching texture. This chain type is renowned for its flexibility, strength, and shimmering appearance when it catches the light. It's a versatile choice, suitable for both casual and formal wear. The Singapore Chain can gracefully carry pendants but is equally stunning when worn on its own.

singapore chain

#11. Paperclip Chain

The Paperclip Chain, currently trending in the world of jewellery, features elongated oval links resembling paperclips. This contemporary design offers a minimalist yet bold statement, fitting perfectly into modern fashion aesthetics. Its simple and clean lines make it a versatile piece, easily layered with other necklaces or worn standalone. The Paperclip Chain can also be adorned with pendants or charms, allowing for personalisation and creativity in styling.

paper clip chain

Different Chain Lengths

Your necklace chain can make or break your overall style, so the length of your jewellery plays an integral role. The proper length will showcase your accessory and highlight your best features, including your neck, face, and even your unique body type.

Fortunately, the jewellery industry has created standard chain lengths that are followed by all jewellers. There are five different lengths for women and four for men. Here's an overview of these lengths so you know what to look for:

For Women

  • 22 Inches. Your chain will rest on top or at your bust area.
  • 20 Inches. This length will settle slightly below your collarbone.
  • 18 Inches. This is the most common length because it sits elegantly and naturally on your collarbone.
  • 16 Inches. For the average woman, this necklace's chain will fall around the base of your neck, either slightly on top or below your collarbone.
  • 14 Inches. This is the length of chokers. It will wrap around your neck.

For Men

  • 24 Inches. The length of this chain will fall just above your breastbone. Men who want a rugged, casual look typically opt for this length. 
  • 22 Inches. At 22 inches, the chain will rest an inch or two below your collarbone.
  • 20 Inches. This is the most common and preferred length for men as it settles nicely on the collarbone.
  • 18 Inches. For men with smaller necks, this is the advisable length. It will reach the base of the neck.

Men’s chains are slightly longer by 2 to 4 inches.

Other Factors To Consider When Buying Jewellery Chains

Aside from the type and length of the chain, you need to consider the following factors:

Your Neck Size or Diameter 

For men, a 20-inch necklace may fit like a choker if they have a wide neck. The rule of thumb is to add at least 4 inches to your neck measurement, especially if you want to add a pendant.

Your Height 

Longer chains can overwhelm women with smaller frames. To make sure this doesn’t happen, remember the following:

  • If you stand from 5'4" to 5'7", almost any chain length works.
  • If you’re shorter than 5'4", go for a chain between 16 and 20 inches.

Your Face Shape 

Short necklaces are best for women with heart-shaped and long faces. Those with rounder faces should opt for longer chains.

Final Thoughts

Jewellery chains are the most basic and versatile necklaces. They come in various designs, styles, and lengths. They can also accommodate additional jewellery like pendants. 

If you want quality jewellery chains, Amanda Coleman offers a wide selection of original, handmade, and expertly crafted silver sterling necklaces. Designed to be feminine, delicate, and charming, you’ll love wearing them again and again.