Over the past few years, chain-link jewelry has become one of the most popular trends in the industry as men and women alike discover the style and versatility of these bold pieces. Chains and links blend modern and vintage style seamlessly and accentuate any outfit, making them suitable to wear daily or save for special occasions to make an impressive statement.
Today’s chain-link jewelry hardly resembles those shiny gold chains that men used to adorn in the 80s. Instead, they have been repeatedly showcased on major designer runways, from Chloé to Alexander Wang and Balenciaga, and for good reason: These fashion-forward pieces are as glamorous as they are practical.
The greatest thing about chains and links is that they can suit everyone. If you prefer a modest look, adding a soft metal chain necklace or bracelet will provide you with a subtle flair. If you prefer bold accent pieces, then you can opt for a chain with more dramatic and pronounced links, such as those crafted from wood. Chains can be worn as stand-out pieces, or they can be layered with your casual, everyday outfits for added dimension without tackiness. And the best part is, this style of jewelry is truly timeless, so they make for great investment pieces for accessorizing.
Types of different types of Chain or Links Jewelry
There are many types of chains available on the market. For your information, below is a brief introduction of a few commercially-made chain that are common in the market. Please check out our artists' unique and edgy take on chains and links in the later part of the blog.
The Figaro chain is that kind of jewelry chain design consisting of two or three small circular links. This is a more masculine style, mostly for men, but you may see them more of them on the runway fashion for women as well in recent trend.
The cable chain is traditional link chain that we love. It's constructed with oval links made of round wires of different precious metals and gauges. It is one of the most popular and common chain of people's favorite for many years. It is often used for charm bracelets or necklaces as well.
Basically the rolo chain's called belcher chain. The rolo chain made with half-round wire that means the outside of the chain shape is rounded on the other side inside is totally flat.
The box chain made from a round wire that is flattened and formed into a square or box-like shape, which are then interlinked.
Rope or Spiga Chain
In a rope chain you will get several small links which pattern the shape of a rope.
A Snake Chain is made of compactly linked circular or square silver links that create a tube like flexible chain.
Curb chain is one of the most popular types of jewelry chain on the market. Part of its attraction is that it typically lays flat against the body. Curb chain is able to do this because individual links are either twisted or diamond cut, so they nestle against each other. Curb chain has this intense, masculine, and modern look, for that reason, it is a favorite for modern stylish men and women.
Mariner chain necklaces are one of the strongest chain. It's as strong as the curb and cable chain. Similar to Figaro chain, designed for masculine style, more runway fashion is picking up this style for women.
Puffed Mariner Link Chain or Anchor Chain
A unisex chain, puffed Mariner chain or anchor chain is manufactured using round wire that then goes through complex, multi-step machining to create large oval links, cut bar segments, insert and then solder the bars in the center of each large oval link. This jewelry chain type was popularized by the Gucci brand is often referred to as a Gucci chain by the public.
Layer and drape away to amplify any look! Chains come in diverse sizes, shapes, and styles, and they are the perfect option for everyday wear and special occasions. The best part is, chains are not going out of style anytime soon, so invest in some high-quality pieces today. You just may be passing that piece along for generations.
Here are a few of our favorite chain and link pieces hand-made by our talented artists at Lireille gallery.
Bold Statement Necklaces
Linking Dichotomy combines Arang wood with silver links to create a subtle contrast that provides just the right amount of “pop.” Indonesian Arang wood is very dark in color and strong, which adds rich dimension to the piece. The understated oxidized 925 sterling silver perfectly accentuates the wood’s bold hue. The handmade necklace is 30” long and is available with either round or rhomboid links. Choose round links for a softer look, or opt for rhomboid is you are after a bolder style.
This 20” steel chain from Home Depot provides an edgy, modern, and industrial look that will make any outfit stand out. The steel is complimented by a single 14k yellow gold link, which softens the look and adds a luxe element. The necklace slides open and closed seamlessly when the gold link is held perpendicular to its steel neighbor for ease of wearing. A unisex statement piece, this necklace is a particularly appealing option for men who are interested in ramping up their style with a bold, masculine chain.
This 18” chain is composed of large, textured silver links that measure 12 x 18 mm each. A true accent piece with soft styling, this feminine necklace is a versatile addition to your collection and will look good paired with casual and formal outfits alike.
Because this necklace is handmade, each is one of a kind. The 23” chain is composed of links in various sizes for a bold and modern take on the traditional chain design. A handmade clasp is seamlessly incorporated as part of the design.
This 17” handmade chain necklace is elegant, feminine, and timeless. The 925sterling silver chain is accentuated by 18k yellow gold connections and one 14k gold clasp, which provide a beautiful contrast to the darker silver and add the perfect amount of luxury to this refined piece. It is the perfect necklace to accompany your evening wear, but it is simply enough to go with any casual outfit.
The sister necklace to the large textured silver link chain, this handmade necklace is a more refined option, composed of 9 x 14 mm links. The 24” necklace is the perfect length to layer with your evening wear for a trendy look. The style is both modern and timeless, so you will enjoy showcasing this unique piece for years to come.
This beautiful chain is crafted from 925 sterling silver in Italy. The links have been given an antiqued finish for an overall rustic look that will stand the test of time. The necklace is composed of 4.8 mm links and has a hefty look without feeling too bold or overstated, which makes it a great option for both men and women who are looking to add some modern, industrial style to their formal and casual outfits.
The 1790s-1820s iron nails in these earrings are from my dad’s barn in Brooks, ME. As the building fell down he would separate the nails from the wood, which he chopped up for kindling. Sturdy 14k yellow gold links, 20” long
After years of collecting he sent them all to me for our first collaborative jewelry project. This type of nail was the first to be machine made, but it was still slow and laborious since strips of iron were fed into the machine manually and the nails cut one at a time.
Chain and Link Bracelets
This modern cable chain bracelet is composed of 8.7 mm links with beveled edges that catch the light and draw attention to your beautiful statement piece. The real highlight of this bracelet is the styled clasp, which resembles coiled rope, and the dramatic anchor shackle closure.
This hand-forged, 18k gold bracelet is one of a kind. The beautifully styled gold links are the epitome of texture and elegance, and this timeless bracelet is sure to become an heirloom.
Consideration to choose chain jewelry
Silver, gold, or platinum? Metals is most important while buying a chain-link jewelry. For gold chain, 10kt, 14kt, 18kt chains are widely available in the market. 14kt is the most common type of gold in the US. The 14kt and 18kt has a good combination of durability and beautiful luster while 22kt and 24kt high karat yellow gold chains are a bit softer, yet they do give more rich yellow gold color if that's what you are looking for.
Think about chain length when you are ready to buy a chain-link jewelry. The most common and popular length for a chain is 16 and 18″. Depending on your height, body type, or comfort level, the length of chain link jewelry can vary significantly for each person. We can custom length for most of our chains at Lireille. For a layered look, chains are usually at 2-4" increment longer. Also to consider, when to wear, every day or for special occasion? What to wear with, formal or casual? If you need help to pick up a right chain, make an appointment with us or simply drop in.
Pendant or Charm, maybe none?
This is an important concern, because it can drastically change the type and options of chain you can purchase.
Will it tangle or kink?
Here’s the biggest question of all time. Delicate chains tends to tangle very easily. We have helped many clients to tackle that. One trick for that is to leave a small part of a delicate chain outside of a Ziploc bag while seal tightly so the chain won't fall out of the bag. While most chains are made to be very flexible, but not all chains are created equal. We love snake chains and ball chains for their great look. Thick snake chain and ball chains are strong and great for styling, yet thin snakes chains tend to kink more and kinks are not easy to be straightened out while thin ball chains tend to break more easily. You will find we do carry snake or ball chains, but do not recommend these two chains to our clients if too thin, unless requested for a replacement or styling reasons.
Sleep with your chain on?
Most people don’t even think about this when buying a chain. A lot of people never take their chains off. They sleep with them on, crash out on the couch, curl up with big pillows or fat cats, wrestle with them on. Your chain is going to take a beating. We recommend chains that are strong and flexible, yet comfortable to wear.
Have more questions or give us suggestions? Please let us know or leave your comments here. We'd love to hear from you.