Types of Necklace Chains: 19 Different Styles to Wear

Types of Necklace Chains

When it comes to jewelry, understanding the different types of necklace chains is essential for anyone looking to refine their style or add a touch of elegance to their wardrobe. 

A necklace chain is a jewelry style with interconnected links or segments, typically made from metals like gold, silver, or stainless steel. It is designed to be worn around the neck as a standalone accessory or to hold pendants and charms.

These styles go beyond simple decoration, from the classic allure of Figaro chains to the modern trend of paperclip designs. Whether you’re dressing for a casual outing or a formal event, there is a perfect match for each outfit.

Types of Necklace Chains

Figaro Chains

Figaro Chain

The Figaro chain is a popular necklace style with flattened links of varying sizes. It features two or 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. 

Due to its bold and timeless design, it is now a versatile jewelry piece, often used as pendants, charm bracelets, or standalone statement pieces.

Curb Chains

Curb Chain Necklace Gold

The curb chain is a classic necklace style with flat, interlocking links that create a subtle texture and reflective surface. The links of a curb chain are typically twisted or “curbed” to ensure they lie flat against the body.

Nowadays, the curb style is a popular choice available in various styles and designs, from delicate to bold styles from Moschino, Saint Laurent, and more labels.

Rope Chains

Rope Chain Necklace

With twisted strands of metal resembling ropes, the rope chain is a bold style to own. This design adds depth and dimension to any outfit.

In the 1970s, they became widespread statement jewelry for men and women, channeling classic hip-hop and disco styles. Today, rope chains are seen everywhere, available in various widths and lengths for layering or wearing alone.

Ball Chain

Ball Chain Necklace

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. This accent was used for military dog tags during WWI.

In recent years, ball chains have become a unique choice for fashion labels like Alexander McQueen and Off-White. They are suitable for simple, understated necklaces and bring an edge to any ensemble.

Oval Links

Oval Chain Necklace

Characterized by its oval-shaped links, an oval chain necklace diverges from traditional round designs, and offers a distinctive aesthetic.

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

Mariner Chains

Mariner Chain Necklace

Mariner chains are a well-known jewelry item with a unique link design resembling ship chains. They feature interlocking oval links alternating between horizontal and vertical bars. 

The design, known for its strength and durability, made it famous in the nautical world, transitioning into fashion as a statement piece. Mariner chains are particularly favored by the Italian fashion house Gucci.

Wheat Chains

Wheat Chain Necklace

With a design resembling a wheat stalk, wheat chains are delicate yet strong jewelry chains made of four strands of interwoven links, forming a unique and intricate pattern.

They are popular for everyday wear due to their strength and flexibility and can be layered for a trendy look. 

Additionally, wheat chains are common in religious jewelry, such as rosaries and cross necklaces. Due to its design, wheat chains are durable but can be prone to kinking.

Herringbone Chain

Herringbone Chain Necklace

Herringbone chains are favored thanks to their V-shaped pattern and fluid and flexible style, which is made by weaving flat metal segments. The name ‘herringbone’ comes from its resemblance to the skeletal structure of a herringfish.

The design dates back to ancient Egypt but gained popularity in the 1970s. Herringbone chains remain a universal choice for stars like Rihanna and Kendall Jenner. Because of its delicate design, this style requires much care.

Rolo Chains

Rolo Chain Necklace

The rolo chain, also known as the Belcher chain, is a classic style with oval links that create a smooth and symmetrical look. Due to its even design, this accessory is ideal for mixing with different metal types.

You can wear them for everyday wear or special occasions, and they can be worn alone or layered with other chains for a more complex look.

Bead Chains

Bead Chain Necklace

Made of small, spherical beads strung together, bead chains offer versatile and stylish jewelry options. They are available in a range of materials, from precious metals to gemstones.

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. 

Their simplicity makes beads an excellent option for a minimalist look.

Square Link Chains

Square Link Chain Necklace

Square link chains, also known as square box chains, are a modern style with square-shaped links made of materials like gold, silver, and stainless steel. When compared to older designs, these designs offer a contemporary aesthetic.

Square links can boldly appear with a s simple t-shirt and jeans outfit or layered over an evening dress for a complex, eye-catching look.

Trace Chains

Trace Chain

Featuring evenly spaced and connected round links, the elegant trace chain offers a smooth and fluid look. Made popular during 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.

Cuban Chains

cuban chain necklace

Cuban chains are a link chain style with thick, oval links interlocked with each other. Their thickness can vary, creating a chunkier or more delicate look.

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

They are versatile, adding glamour to simple or layered outfits with yellow gold or white gold metal.

Anchor Chains

Anchor Chain Necklace

The anchor chain has a distinctive nautical look. It features oval links with a bar across the center. This type of chain dates back to the sea, where it was used to secure ships in port.

Later, it was adopted as a decorative element in jewelry and was well-liked during the Victorian era. Due to its unique design, it’s often worn by itself.

Venetian Chain

Venetian Chain Necklace

Characterized by square or rectangular links, the sleek cube link design defines the Venetian chain, offering a distinct appearance. The design originated in Venice, Italy, hence its name.

Today, Venetian chains remain popular for their durability and unique appearance, used for pendants and standalone necklaces.

Singapore Chain

Singapore Chain Necklace

The Singapore chain is delicate, featuring tight, twisted, and diamond-cut links that create a shimmering effect. Despite its name, this chain originated in Italy. 

It is often used for dainty necklaces but can also be used for larger and more intricate designs. The Singapore style is perfect for adding sparkle to any outfit.

Omega Chain

Omega Chain Necklace

The omega chain features flat, polished metal plates interlocked to form a flexible, sturdy chain. Its flat surface gives it a sleek and modern appearance.

The omega is named after the Greek letter of the same name, 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 appears to have a collar shape in women’s jewelry.

Diamond Cut Chain

Snake Chain Diamond Cut Necklace

Featuring links crafted with a diamond-tipped tool, the diamond cut chain is known for its sparkling and textured appearance. It comes in various styles, including cable, curb, and snake chains.

Due to their delicate design, diamond-cut designs should be treated with care. While enhancing the chain’s sparkle, the facets may catch on fabrics or be more prone to damage if mishandled.

On the other hand, plain chains present a smoother finish, feeling more comfortable against the skin and typically necessitating less upkeep.

Paperclip Chain

Paper Clip Chain Necklace

Known as the paperclip chain, this design features larger, open links that mimic traditional paper clips. Jewelry brands like Chopard and J. Crew have embraced this trend, offering a contemporary, standout look perfect for elevating accessories.

Thin vs. Thick Necklace Chains

Thin vs Thick Necklace Chain

Thin necklace chains symbolize elegance, adding a subtle touch to casual and formal attire. They highlight the neckline without overpowering and are ideal for layering to create a bespoke style. These chains range in size from 0.9 mm to 1.7 mm for women.

These chains are perfect for emphasizing pendants, keeping the focus on the piece itself. Leading brands like Tiffany & Co. and Cartier often feature these styles for their timeless appeal.

Conversely, thick necklace chains are bold and signify confidence. These chains usually start at 3.5mm for women. They can elevate a basic outfit, offering a statement with various styles like Cuban or Byzantine links.

Designers such as Versace and Gucci have adopted these audacious chains, blending luxury with a modern edge.

Links of Style

Gold Necklace Woman

Every chain style, from the anchor’s timeless elegance to the modern Cuban link, offers a unique way to express individuality. Embrace these accessories as tools to elevate your everyday look and special occasion ensembles. It’s a fragment of your personal story waiting to be showcased.

Choose the chain that mirrors your inner self and complements your lifestyle. Let your selection highlight your style, whether it’s the subtle elegance of a thin design or the bold statement of a thicker piece. Make your mark with a choice that speaks volumes without uttering a word.


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