Know your Pendant Chains

Know your Pendant Chains

Choosing the correct pendant chain can be daunting.  We have compiled alphabetic list to make your choice easier.  The aim is to help you differentiate between the various pendant chains and also to educate you on what your jeweller is speaking about.


This is the most known pendant link and a much reduced version of the massive chains used onboard ships.  It is formed of individual oval or round links in an interlocked pattern, with each link lying at ninety degrees to the next.  Each section of this chain is identical throughout, giving it an easy but classic look.


Ball Chain consists of spheres of metal instead of open links.  These spheres or balls are often solid or can be hollow to scale back weight.  They can be fixed at regular intervals along the length of the chain with connector bars, or placed immediately adjacent to each other.  This jewellery chain typically has its own snap fastening, with the larger steel versions of this chain more often used to hold ID cards than for jewellery.

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Bar chain consists of small links or jump rings separated by ingot links which may be curved, decorative, elongated, hollow, shaped, solid, twisted or a mixture of these styles.


Belcher chain originated in Britain within the 18th century, and was named for the bare knuckle boxer Jem Belcher who was Champion of All England from 1800 to 1805.  This jewellery chain is analogous a la mode to trace chain but instead of having uniform links they’re wider than they’re thick.  In its finest form it’s referred to as baby belcher chain.  This jewellery chain is additionally referred to as Rolo chain.


Box chain is far loved for its geometric simplicity.  It is made up of round wire which is rolled flat then folded into square links that form open boxes or cubes.  This provides a sturdy, yet classically smooth, sleek and uniform appearance.


Byzantine chain is an intricate, closely linked sequential chain design which has ancient origins dating back to the 5th Century.  Made of either oval or round links the resulting chain is extremely soft and versatile with a chic drape.  The links are utilized in pairs, with a vertical pair joined by a horizontal pair to a vertical pair.  The final pair in this sequence is then folded back past the middle section, with the middle section then opened upwards and downwards to both lock the folded back pair in place, as well as opening up an anchor point for the next sequence of three paired links.  The final result is a jewellery statement chain with a really detailed rope like appearance and texture.  It is available in both flat and round styles, also as a graduated form with the chain width becoming larger toward the centre of a necklace.  Because of its early origins it’s known by many other names including Birdcage chain, Idiot’s delight chain and King’s braid chain.

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Curb chain has uniformly sized round or oval links that are twisted and sometimes diamond cut in order that they lie flat along a surface.  This form of chain comes in a variety of widths, starting from a couple of millimetres up to centimetres.


Double link chain is predicated on a curb link chain but rather than a repeating pattern of single links it consists of a repeating pattern with two links per set of links.  A variation of this chain style is known as Parallel chain or a Mother and Daughter chain


Figaro chain is comparable to curb chain, with the difference that you have sequences of various link sizes or shapes.  Typically it will have between one to three links alternating between a longer link, creating an attractive repeating pattern for the length of the chain.  This type of jewellery chain originated in Italy and is named after the popular Italian opera The Marriage of Figaro.


Flat link cable chain visually has the same appearance as an anchor link chain with the difference that the links are completely flat but still alternates at ninety degree angles.


A fob chain is traditionally a short length of curb link chain which was worn on a gentleman’s waistcoat to secure his pocket watch.  The clasp that attaches to the watch is called a Swivel and at the opposite end is a T-bar that would fit through the button hole.  These have now become quite the coveted item as a pendant neck chain.

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Foxtail chain uses a loop chain link made from two rows of slanted oval links connected by a series of flat rings running down the chain’s centre.  Each row of links faces the opposite at a forty five degree angle.  This creates a braided or woven effect with a directional grain and a fullness which gives the appearance of the hairs on a fox’s tail.


Herringbone chain is formed up multiple rows of ‘v’ shaped links that lie entirely flat giving it a fluid quality when worn.  The direction of the links alternates with each new row creating the herringbone pattern.  These chains are also made in two-toned and three-toned varieties.


Marina link chain is possibly one of the most classical jewellery chain designs and therefore the chain most of the people can describe with ease.  It is characterised by uniformly sized repeating oval links which are arranged alternatively in a horizontal and then vertical orientation, traditionally with a vertical bar in the middle of each link.  Because of the simplicity and the vertical bar inside the link it is the strongest pendant chain on the market.


Mesh chain features a fabric like quality with a very fine wire weave design.  There are quite a variety of production methods including Milanese mesh chain and stocking mesh chain.  The first is produced by weaving wire into tubular or flat profiles whilst the second is produced using a knitting process with needles generating a continuous and seamless tube of mesh chain within the same way stockings are manufactured.  These are mostly wider than normal jewellery chains, often being four or more links wide.


Omega chains are not delicate and start at 3mm and upwards.  This chain is distinguished from others by the structure of its links or “plates”.  Small individual metal plates are aligned side by side in a tight pattern and crimped to an underlying mesh substructure.  This type of chain is popular for its overall strength and its reflective qualities because the chains texture makes it extremely shiny.  This chain design is traditionally flat in profile although rounded variations of the chain are often found.  They can also be reversible with the option of two colours of metal.

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Popcorn chain is formed of identical machine stamped segments of flat, rounded or concave metal in a similar style to snake chain.  The chain is completely hollow on the inside and care should be taken when storing them.


Rope chain has the looks of two, or more, twisted strands of chain spiralled together.  It is crafted by weaving rows of metal links to resemble a thick two stranded rope.  A downside of this chain is that because the individual links are not fully joined together if one link fails there can be a domino effect! Some rope chains combine two differing types and hues of metal.


Saturn chain is composed of small round link chain punctuated with filled beads that look like orbiting planets or moons, adding both interest and texture to the overall chain design.  There are many different variations in which the distance of the beads on the chain varies.


Singapore chain is made by utilizing a series of flat diamond cut chain links.  Several of those links are interwoven to make a diamond shape.  These are then twisted and flattened to make a sequence.  This process creates links that reflect light from different angles, giving the chain a sparkling appearance also as a satisfying natural curve.


Snake chain is formed from smooth round metal plates or bands with a small curve at their mid point.  They are tightly joined together to make a long flexible “tube” thanks to a small zigzag effect.  It has a virtually closed surface profile which makes for a really elegant and versatile chain perfect for any pendant.  Unlike omega chain there’s no underlying wire or mesh to support these plates.


Wheat chain is an intricate symmetrical form of rope chain made from small figure of eight links which give it an almost square, plaited profile.  It is typically made up of four strands of oval and twisted oval links.  This chain is sometimes referred to as espiga chain and spiga chain.  The name is derived from the Spanish for wheat: spiga.