Types of Chains – 19 Different Types of Necklace Chain Links We Love

We’ve all got necklace chains of various types but most of us don’t know what the style is called or what types of chains are more suitable for certain situations. 

Which style links are best for strength for wearing, for instance, with a heavier pendant? Which chains look great worn alone?  What style links do men prefer in a necklace chain? 

We are frequently asked these questions in the shop and our aim, in this definitive guide to the different necklace chain links, is to answer all those questions and show you the wonderful choice of chains available. 

You are sure to recognise a number of styles of chain links, and maybe you’ll see some that you like that you didn’t know existed. 

The chains are laid out in alphabetical order. We will then talk about the most suitable chains for different customer requirements.

Anchor Chain

An anchor chain has the nautical look of the chains found around the dockyards, the ones tethering boats safely to port.The links are oval and are sometimes cut with a straight edge. The anchor chain is often called a Mariner chain.

Men like this chain as it suits a heavier style and lays flat against the skin, perfect for wearing without a pendant hanging from it.

Similar chains are the trace chain, which is much finer, or a belcher chain which has round links. 

Anchor Chain

Ball or Bead Chain

A ball chain – sometimes called a bead chain – is made up of little polished balls of metal (silver, gold or steel) which have a tiny hole in each side, through which a straight connecting pin is inserted. The balls are spaced evenly apart and close together.

These chains are another favourite with men. The military traditionally wore their Identifying Tags (called a Dog Tag) from ball chains and this is the reason you see so many men’s dog tag pendants hanging from a ball chain. These chains look good worn on their own or with a dog tag or other pendant attached. 

View our Ball chains here. Similar chains are the Intermittent Beaded chain.

Belcher or Rolo Chain

Another very popular chain, the belcher is made of circular, interlocking rings. Also called the Rolo chain (‘rolo’ in Italian means “round”). These chains start as D-links until they are shaped into circles. Various thicknesses are available. 

Men like the heavier belcher chains, worn alone or with a pendant. Finer belcher chains are often worn with pendants as they look good without detracting from the pendant.

Type of Chain links necklaces
Belcher Chain

See our Belcher Chains here.

Box Chain – Also called the Cube, Briolette or Venetian Chain

A popular chain which looks good to wear with a pendant. Rectangular links are shaped into square, box-shape links

which are interlocked to form a chain. A thicker Box chain also makes a fabulous necklace, like this Missoma one here.

925 Sterling Silver 1.0 mm Venice Box Chain Necklace Size: 14 16 18 20 22 24 inch / 36 40 45 50 55 60 cm (18inch/45cm)

View our Box Chains here.

Byzantine Chain – Also called the Birdcage chain

This is a beautiful-looking chain and it looks so elegant worn on its own. It has a rope or tube look and is supple and bends well. It is a four-in-one link, which means each link passes through four others. 

Miabella 925 Sterling Silver Italian 9mm Classic Byzantine Link Chain Bracelet for Women 7, 7.25, 7.5, 8 Inch Handmade in Italy (7.5)
Byzantine Chain

Curb Chain

A perfect everyday chain. A curb chain is strong, looks great with or without a pendant and, never detracts from the intricacy of the pendant. Curb chains come in a multitude of weights and thicknesses – from the finest chain through to heavy-weight men’s chains. Beautifully pliable, it won’t kink or break easily.

Curb Chain

See our Curb Chains here.

Cuban Chain

Oval links intersect to form a chain, the Cuban link chain is very similar to a curb chain, only the links are more oval-shaped and are closer together than a curb.

Cuban Chain

Double Link Chain

A double link chain features two links intertwined with the next double link. They can use it with a range of link shapes, like a double-link curb chain, a double-link belcher. It gives the chain a great style, like this necklace.

Figaro Chain

Made up of a repeating pattern of two or three shorter curb links and one long link, the Figaro chain is favoured by men and ladies who want to wear a chain on its own. Available in many different thicknesses, this is a popular chain.

Figaro chain necklace
Figaro Chain

See our Figaro chains here.

Foxtail Chain

The foxtail link chain features links connected at a 45-degree angle to each other and connected in the centre with a concealed flat link. The result is a round, smooth chain. Favoured in bracelets worn with charm beads, such as the Trollbeads bracelet (featured below), of in necklaces like this one, it looks good and is easy to wear. 

Foxtail Chain Bracelet

View our Foxtail chains here.

Heart Link Chain

A chain made out of open-heart links, this chain looks pretty and is a great bracelet option for those with smaller wrists as the catch can be connected at any point along the chain. 

View our Heart Link chains here.

Herringbone Link Chain

Resembling a flat snake chain, the herringbone necklace or bracelet will often be visually effective enough to wear on its own. Smooth and tactile, the herringbone chain is a lovely chain.

Miabella 925 Sterling Silver Italian Solid 4.5mm Flexible Flat Herringbone Chain Necklace for Men Women 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 Inch Made in Italy (16)

Panther Chain or Mesh Chain

The panther link chain has a brick-like design making a flat chain with patterns of three and four links offset against each other and connected by a pin.  Bracelets like this one here not only look fabulous but feel fabulous too.

Panther Link Necklace

Popcorn

Forming an oval chain, hollow rounded links form a tube, giving the appearance of pieces of popcorn. Lightweight and pretty, these chains are decorative enough to be a centre piece.

Popcorn Link Bracelet

Rope

One of the most popular chains, worn alone or with a pendant, the rope chain is formed by two or three light-weight small links joined to form a twisted chain, like a rope. 

View our Rope Chains here.

Rope Chain

Singapore Twist Chain

The Singapore twist is, in our opinion, one of the prettiest of chains. A series of double links, flattened and interlinked, with the chain twisted along its length. This creates the most beautiful, sparkly effect.

These chains are often worn with a pendant but these look equally good worn on their own. A gold or silver Singapore twist chain worn as a choker or just on the clavicle has a really beautiful look.

The Singapore chain makes a lovely anklet, as it sparkles as you move. 

View our Singapore Twist Chains here.

Singapore Twist

Snake

The lovely snake chain, that most of us are familiar with, is made up of links laid along side each other with a slight kink in the middle of the link. This form a smooth and silky, continuous tube. With a brightly polished look, these chains look great with a pendant.

They aren’t as supple and bendy as a curb chain, so will kink and even break if bent too far.

925 Sterling Silver 1.4 mm Snake Chain Necklace Size: 16 18 20 22 24 inch / 40 45 50 55 60 cm (24inch/60cm)

View our Snake chains here.

Spigia or Wheat Chain

“Espiga” is the Spanish name for ‘wheat’. Made of figure-of-eight links which are interlocked to form a tube, the chain looks great and is favoured by men (as well as women) as the chain looks so worn on its own.

Spigia Chain

Trace Chain

Thin, usually 2 – 2.5 mm wide or less, interlocking oval links make up this chain which looks simple and uncluttered with a pendant and is the perfect chain for layering.

9ct White Gold Hammered Trace Chain 18 Inches

Wheat

See Spigia Chain (above)

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