Styles of Chains
Styles of Chains for Jewellery
Chains for jewellery come in a very wide range of different styles. Very fine detailed chains such as Italian chains and Rope chains are elegant and beautifully made. Larger chains such as the Belcher chain or Ball chain can be fantastic statement pieces of jewellery on their own as a necklace or combined with bold pendants such as our tribal pendants.
Most jewellery chains these days are machine made rather than hand made as it enables mass production of intricate styles, all however were once produced by hand.Imagine the time it took for a jeweller to simply make a Rope chain for example! Hundreds of individual pieces of sterling silver or gold, soldered together to produce individual links for a single chain and a single customer...amazing.
Below is a little more detail about these various styles of chains that we hope will help you to make an informed decision the next time you buy a chain or necklace and perhaps give you some appreciation for the intricacy of these different styles.
Ball Chains, also known as Bead Chains are of a more simple design comprising a pin wrapped on either end by a flat piece of metal which gets pressed into a ball. The ball, is then soldered or welded together at its joint to secure the pin and complete the ball.
Belcher Chains are one of our favourite styles of chain. This is because in a large enough link size, they can be worn simply as a necklace by themselves and look quite striking. Alternatively you could add your own ring to the chain, for example your wedding band, which not only looks great but also protects it when you are working with your hands.Belcher chains are simply made with specific gauges of metal, usually with one curved side and the other flat. Each is curled into circles and then soldered together to form a ring. The next link is joined to the first in the same manner until a suitable sized chain is created. Larger gauges of sheet metal can be cut and used to form "chunky" belcher chains or smaller gauges for a more delicate look.
Box chains are made in a very similar way to Belcher chains however, as the name suggests, they are square. Hammer a strip of sterling silver flat, create a bend over a 90 degree angle, do this four times and solder each end together. Then repeat repeat repeat. The result is a very lovely chain though and in millimetre small sizes does look very lovely. A subtly strong style of chain.
Cable chains, as with many styles of chains are an excellent way for jewellers to practice their bending, forming, soldering, and filing skills through repetition. Round wire is wrapped around an oval spindle, cut and used to form the links. After sawing and solding each link together, the chain can be drawn through a square draw plate to form a cable chain. Facets may then be cleaned and accentuated by using sand paper.
Curb chains, are a standard style of chain at The Jewellery Shop. They are not overly ostentatious, nor are they a boring chain style. Curb chains are made from drawn wire like sterling silver wire, wrapping to form circles, cut, sanded and soldered just like Cable chains.
Figaro chains, are a famous Italian chain and quite a popular style that has one, two or three small round links with and long oval link. Links are flattened and due to this detail in manufacturing are usually a more extravagant chain.
Rather than simply attaching one link to another Italian chains utilise two or three links together at a time and in turn attach to another two or three links. This complexity and density creates the illusion of several chains combined as one producing a lavish look that glimmers like a diamond necklace.
"O" chains don't need a great deal of explaining with such a simple name and design. They are a solid style of chain made from drawn wire wrapped into circles, cut, soldered and then hammered into an oval. Often this style of chain is utilised by jewellers as a display chain because they do not detract from the pendant they are used to display. A go to chain for customers wishing do the same.
Rope chains appear as three chains combined, they obtain their name by looking similar to woven rope however look very extravagant in a shimmering sterling silver. Like Italian style chains, Rope chains have three links combined and joined with the next three links however, with a rope chain, each link is uniform. The links are then twisted which in turn twists the entire chain to form the look of rope.
Usually narrow and delicate, Snake chains are made up of rings which fit together closely rather than visible links. This makes a chain with the appearance of a flexible tube and the texture of snakeskin hence the name of this style of chain.
View our beautiful collection of chains and necklaces.