The Ultimate Guide to Necklace Chain Styles

The Ultimate Guide to Necklace Chain Styles

The Ultimate Guide to Necklace Chain Styles

From the cable chain to the French rope chain, there are several necklace and chain styles to choose from. Let us help you decide your favorite with our guide.

Keyword(s): types of necklace chain styles 


The perfect necklace will enhance any outfit and will make you feel beautiful whenever you wear it. Necklaces are often made up of a chain and pendant, though sometimes standalone chains are preferred.

If you're looking to invest in some gorgeous new types of necklace chain styles, you might be wondering which ones to buy. The answer depends very much on your style, taste and the look you're going for.

Happily, we're here to help you choose your favorites. Whether your style is classic, modern or contemporary, we're here to help you pick the best types of necklace chain styles for you.

From the cable chain to the French rope chain, there are several necklace chain styles to choose from. Keep reading for our definitive guide.

Choosing Your Style

When it comes to clothing and jewelry, what's available is often dictated by what's in fashion. But necklaces are different - you can tailor the different types of necklace chain styles to suit your taste.

If your tendency is toward the traditional, you can easily find a chain you'll love as, when it comes to the different chains, there are many variations on classic designs.

If you prefer a more modern (a design style), or contemporary (what's hot right now) look, however, then there are plenty of different types of necklace chain styles to choose from.

And if you want to choose a variety of styles depending on your outfit, you'll find those here, too. We've sorted our guide by classic, modern and contemporary designs, so you can find what you're looking for in a cinch.

Choosing Your Length

The length of necklace you're after will go a long way in your decision on which style to choose. Necklace lengths vary from being very short in length and worn high, to extremely long lengths that can be wrapped and draped a number of times.

The most common necklace lengths can be classified as follows:

  • Choker (14-16 inches)
  • Princess (18 inches)
  • Matinee (20-24 inches)
  • Opera (30 inches)
  • Ropes & Lariats (35 inches and longer)

Different lengths will suit different body shapes and sizes. First, choose the length for you, and then pick your chain style accordingly.

Treatment Methods

The different types of necklace chain styles are based on the same principle of links being connected together to make a long, continuous piece.

The links can be processed using various treatment methods, however, to produce a variety of results. Treatment methods make each of the different types of necklace chain styles distinctly different from each other.

Adding Texture

There are a number of different methods employed to add texture to the links in a chain. Imprinting, hammering, hatching or striking the surface of a link will create a larger surface area to attract light, and make your jewelry gleam and glitter.

Drawing

This is the process of stretching a link so that it becomes elongated.

Flattening

This simply means a link is flattened. The increase in surface area makes for a more light-attracting piece, and your chain will also lie flat while you wear it.

Swaging

This method will change the shape of an individual link so that it will look completely different from its original form. Dies, templates, and tools are used to swage a link. The result is a dramatically different link from the original.

Classic Chains

Classic chain styles have been around for thousands of years, and are the most versatile of all the types of necklace chain styles. So, what are the different types of classic chains?

Anchor

An anchor chain is similar to a flattened curb chain, but each link is reinforced with a vertical bar running through it.

The anchor chain style is very popular due to its strength, durability, and versatility. The chain looks beautiful with small links, but larger links make for a stunning statement piece.

Byzantine

Byzantine chains contain several links that are woven together, and links are arranged at different angles for texture and style.

These chains come in both rounded and flat forms. Link sizes vary from small to large, with both being incorporated into one chain for a statement piece.

Box

The links in a box chain are formed to look like boxes woven together to form a necklace. The final look is of several tiny boxes strung together.

Box chains look lovely on their own, or with a pendant.

Cable

Cable chains are the most popular of the different types of necklace chain styles. They come in different link sizes, with identical links throughout.

Cable chains pair beautifully with pendants, and their simplicity ensures your pendant is the star of the show.

Curb

Curb chains are very similar in style to cable chains but have been twisted slightly to produce a varied look. Curb chains are designed to lie flat during use and come in a variety of sizes.

The chains make for beautiful statement pieces, and a simple standalone curb chain necklace will add a quiet elegance to any outfit.

Again, due to their simplicity, curb chains are also an excellent partner for any pendant and make sure that whatever the size, your pendant is what stands out.

Figaro

The Figaro chain has its roots firmly in Italy, though it has now become an international star. Figaro chains are similar to curb chains, in that the links are also twisted to lay flat.

The links in a Figaro chain vary in width and a pattern of up to 5 links will repeat to form a beautiful necklace.

Figaro chains are a graceful design so work well when worn on their own. However, they also beautifully accentuate the elegance of any pendant and work very well when you're dressing up for a special event.

French Rope

French rope necklaces take a double width of flattened links and twists these together to form a spiraling length of chain.

A larger-linked necklace looks beautiful at rope or lariat length. To add pendants to this style of chain, use a shorter length and larger sized pendants, as a French rope chain is eye-catching in its own right.

Wheat

Usually formed from 4 strands of twisted oval links, wheat chains resemble a ripe stalk of wheat and are rope-like in weight and thickness.

Smaller links make for a wheat chain ideal for pendants. Larger or thicker links make a rope necklace that drapes beautifully and can be worn at various lengths.

A long wheat chain can be worn at rope or lariat length and looks stunning when wrapped several times to form a multi-chain pattern.

Modern Chains

Modern types of necklace chain styles are also very popular. Their design differs from the classic style, but many modern styles are variations of the traditional.

Modern designs are popular as they often employ methods that allow the chains to better reflect light, adding sparkle to a piece. The geometric-shaped links also make for statement pieces that look great on their own.

Bicycle Link

The bicycle link chain looks just as it sounds - like the chain on a pushbike. While larger links are popular with men, a smaller bicycle link necklace is a modern and elegant fashion choice for women.

These chains definitely make a statement, and due to their striking look, are best worn alone so you can show them off to their best advantage.

Herringbone

The herringbone necklace chain is made of curb chain links that have been swaged to alter their shape. The links lie together in different directions to form the herringbone pattern we know and love.

There are many variations within herringbone necklace styles, and the 'scales' can be laid in alternating colors to form a two- or three-tone chain.

The flat nature of the herringbone necklace allows light to bounce off the surface, to create an almost dazzling mirror-effect.

Omega

Omega chains incorporate wide, flattened links that are tightly affixed together. They form a long, shiny chain and are designed to lie flat when worn.

The chains are simple and stylish and are a perfect pairing for any pendant. Both large and small pendants work well with omega chains.

Panther

The panther necklace chain is a bold but simple design. This flat chain is made to form a pattern that looks like offset bricks, with a small gap between each link.

Panther chains can be made using one link size, or a variety of different sizes within one necklace for a graduated effect.

Due to the bold and striking pattern, panther chains should be worn without a pendant, so that nothing detracts from their stylish statement.

Popcorn

A popcorn necklace is made up of several hollow links, often rounded in shape, and twisted to form a ropelike chain.

Popcorn chains are lightweight, strong and come in different lengths and line widths. They can be worn with a pendant attached, but also look great by themselves - perfect to add a little style to your office outfit.

Serpentine

The serpentine chain is formed from S-shaped links that have been flattened and attached together at the tip of each link. Together, the links form a flexible chain that can be worn as a shorter princess length, or even as a rope or lariat.

While it is possible to add pendants to thinner serpentine chains, we recommend allowing the chain to stand alone, as the piece is very interesting and desirable in its own right.

Tinsel

A tinsel, or twisted serpentine, chain is just that - a serpentine chain that has been flattened and twisted to form a different design.

Tinsel chains are very pretty as they are intricate, different and their increased surface area causes them to glitter in the light.

A tinsel chain is beautiful on its own, but it also looks great with pendants and adds a rich, luxurious quality due to its shimmer-factor.

Contemporary Chains

As we've seen, there are many types of necklace chain styles, and some of them are very popular in 2018.

Bar

Bar chains are made up of alternating bars and links, and are often made into long ropes and lariat chains.

Bar chains are very simple in design and can take one or more pendants and charms. They also look great by themselves, for an understated look.

Ball

Several - often hollow - balls are connected with short bars to make up a ball chain necklace. The chains are very popular today and are worn in several different ways.

Large ball links are great worn as a standalone piece, while small ball link necklaces are a great pair for modern pendant designs.

Beading

A very contemporary necklace style is to add beads to a necklace. The beads can be glass, stone, pearls, and even precious gems. In order to add beads to a necklace, a beading chain is required.

Beading chains are made up of slender tubular links and are small enough to fit through the eye of a bead.

Figure of 8

Similar to a Figaro chain, the alternating links in a figure of 8 chain are flattened and twisted to form a distinctive design.

These necklace chains are also called infinity chains, and work beautifully by themselves or with a pendant.

Singapore

The Singapore chain is made in a similar way to curb chains, except that the links are twisted and flattened to make up a simple yet intricate design.

Singapore chains are flexible, durable and versatile, and are great for pairing with a pendant of your choice.

Wear Multiple Styles

The ultimate contemporary fashion statement in necklaces at the moment can't be defined in just one of the types of necklace chain styles we've discussed.

No, in 2018, the best way to make a statement is to wear two or more chain designs at the same time. The style can be similar or different, and you can incorporate pendants into one or more necklace.

The look shouldn't be cluttered, so choosing perhaps just 1 or 2 colored pendants, and leaving the others plain, is a good idea. If you go for a beaded chain, however, then reserve that as your boldest piece, and fill in the rest with metal chains rather than color.

The Takeaway on the Different Types of Necklace Chain Styles

Your necklace says a lot about you. It speaks of your taste, your fashion sense and what you feel is beautiful. When you purchase the right style of chain for you, wearing it will be a joy and will enhance any outfit you pair it with.

Whether you prefer traditional, modern or contemporary fashion, or a mixture of all 3, refer to our guide and you can choose your next piece with confidence.

Whatever your style, your jewelry will stand the test of time and is a solid investment in yourself, your wardrobe, and your future.

Are you looking to pair a pendant with your chain, but are not sure how to wear it? Check out this article to help you wear your pendant necklace with confidence.