Using chain for jewelry making is a great way to accentuate pendants, make a bold statement, or add a delicate accent. Many types of chain are available in a variety of sizes, styles, and shapes ranging from a variety of metal finishes and colored enamels. Check out this comprehensive list to the best types of chain for jewelry making. This will serve as a great reference to your next shopping trip.
1. Anchor Chain
With a name that shows its roots stemming from the chain used to attach an anchor to a boat, the anchor chain is one of the most popular and classic types of chain for jewelry found around. Variations exist from flat anchor designs to alternating styles with vertical or horizontal orientation. Traditional styles have a vertical bar in the middle of each link. As one of the strongest jewelry chains around, you can’t go wrong with this choice.
Also Known As: Marine Chain
Other Variations: Figarucci Chain, Flat Anchor Chain, Round Anchor Chain, Maritime Chain
2. Bar Chain
This type of chain is best characterized by long metal bar links that are connected by small links or jump rings. You can find bar chain made in a variety of styles from curved, decorative, elongated, hollowed, twisted, or solid.
Also Known As: Link Chain
3. Ball Chain
Ball chain is easily identifiable due to the pattern of round beads or balls that are strung together with a small distance separating each one from the other. What can look like metal spheres that are connected by equal space, this one of the few types of chain that uses its own snap fastening. Other variations of these styles may be a pattern of linked beads instead.
Also Known As: Pelline Chain
Other Variations: Bead Chain
4. Book Chain
Knowns for its largely defined geometric style and simplicity, book chain is best recognized for its large round wire that is made flat and then folded into square links that form open boxes or cubes. With a classically uniformed appearance, book chain is known for is classic and bold sleek style.
Also Known As: Box Chain, Briolette Chain, Square Link Chain, Venetian Chain
5. Box Chain
This type of chain is best identified by square links that are connected, resembling a box pattern. It is known for being sturdy by its design and works best with a charm or pendant hanging from it.
6. Byzantine Chain
Known for its intricate grouping of links that are placed intermingling, the byzantine chain is made up of a variation of round and oval shaped links. Dating back to the fifth century with ancient origins, this is a perfect design to wear by itself or paired with beaded accents.
Also Known As: Birdcage Chain, Idiot’s Delight Chain, King’s Braid Chain
7. Cable Chain
This is one of the most popular types of chain with link pattern, made up of both equal size round or oval links. Used in a variety of necklace designs, it can be worn alone with paired up with a pendant or charm. Cable chain originates from board ships, where these links are made to interlock in a uniform pattern laying 90 degrees to the next. Other design variations can be found to include flattened links, textured or metal surfaces, double cables, and more.
Also Known As: Link Chain
Other Variations: Double Link Chain, Parallel Link Chain
8. Curb Chain
Curb chain originates from cable chain but is often recognized for its twisted or curbed links that cause it to lay flat along your body or any surface. With the greatest variety of widths used in this style of chain, you can find it ranging from just a few millimeters to several centimeters.
Also Known As: Gourmette Chain
9. Figaro Chain
Figaro chain is best known for its alternating long and short flattened link style. One larger size link is used followed by 2 to 5 shorter links that alternate and repeat. This leads to a more attractive pattern with new style variations than its originator, the curb chain. It receives its unique name from Italy, where it was named after the popular Italian opera ‘The Marriage of Figaro.’
10. Figure 8 Chain
This chain is named wisely after its style of flat oval links connected to smaller twisted links in the shape of a figure ‘8’. What starts out as a cable chain is quickly transitioned into these curbed shapes.
Also Known As: Infinity Chain
11. Panther Chain
The panther chain is a flat chain with alternating links gradually spaced apart. What best resembles a brick paved road, these links are evenly spaced apart and connected with a pin. Other variations exist with a rhombus shaped diamond pattern.
12. Popcorn Chain
Popcorn chain is similar to panther chain but is rounded instead. It drapes around the neck, created with identical machine stamped segments of flat metal that connect like a snake chain. It can be flat, rounded, or concave.
13. Rolo Chain
This type of cable chain is identifiable by its thickened alternating round or oval links. With a more heavy and sturdy appearance, link may be flat on the inside when connected, giving its distinct appearance. This is one of the most popular choices for charm bracelets.
Also Known As: Belcher Chain, Baby Belcher Chain
14. Rope Chain
Known for its woven rope appearance, rope chain consists of a specific placement of oval links that gives it a spiral effect. One of the most versatile and sturdy types of jewelry chain, it is the top choice for men due to its strength for everyday wear. Its twisted appearance is made up of weaving rows of metal links that resemble a two stranded rope.
Other Variations: French Rope Chain
15. Round Link Chain
A simple chain design with round open links that are placed uniformly at right angles to one another. You may also find this chain in closed soldered link varieties.
16. Snake Chain
Manufactured as a round wavy smooth metal plate, these links are joined together to create a flexible chain. It’s name originates from its design resembling that of a snake skin. With a closed surface, this is a top choice to pair with pendants.
Also Known As: Brazilian Chain, Hexagon Chain, Round Maille Chain, Star Weave Chain
Other Variations: Omega Chain
17. Venetian Link Chain
Similar to the box chain, square links are flattened and connected to form this chain. It is best known for its geometric symmetry and simplicity. It is one of the boldest types of chain available.
Also Known As: Book Chain, Box Chain, Briolette Chain, Square Link Chain
18. Wheat Chain
Made with four strands of oval and twisted links, the wheat chain gives a unique braided and woven appeal that is eye catching. Its name roots from the Spanish word ‘espiga,’ meaning wheat. It is one of the most unique types of chain available on the market.
Also Known As: Espiga Chain, Spiga Chain
Other Variations: Barleycorn Chain