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30 Types of Chains

Chains have been around for decades. Continue reading to find out the differences between them, not only in how they look but also the design and weight of them.

Differetn style of gold chains

Chains have been around for decades. People have chosen to wear them for various reasons over the years. Chains are also used for ship anchors to keep them in place. They can be symbolic, indicating an unbreakable bond. Chains can be used as an elegant reminder of a special moment or person. They can also just be a pretty piece of jewelry that you enjoy wearing. 

We have seen styles come and go. There are countless necklace chain types and options available. Chains come in varying thicknesses, lengths, materials, and styles. You can wear them by themselves or with a pendant or charm. You can wear multiple chains at one time to create a layered look. It is completely up to you. 

Chains can be as unique as you are and draw attention like a statement piece. On the other hand, they can also be muted and hang around your neck without ever being noticed. It comes down to your personal style. If you want to know more about the different types of necklace chains, this is the article. Continue reading to find out the differences between them, not only in how they look but also the design and weight of them. 

What are the Different Types of Chains? 

Choosing just one chain out of the available multitude may be challenging. Of course, no one ever said you should only have one, but all of the different chain types are listed here to make your chain selection easier.

Ball Chain

Small silver ball bracelet

Ball chain necklaces are also referred to as bead chains. No matter which name you use, it is correct. As the name implies, this chain is constructed of balls or beads linked together with connecting bars. Some chains have small beads, while the beads may be larger on others. They are typically sized in millimeters. The connector bar can also vary in length.

These chains are not typically worn alone. They look better with a pendant on them. These chains often have dog tags on them. Ball chains are usually made from inexpensive materials, like steel. They are not the strongest chains. They break or get damaged easily. Typically, they are not repairable once broken; however, they are affordable to replace. This is a casual type of chain.

Bar Chain Necklace

A bar chain is also referred to as a bar, and a link chain was a popular way to wear watches decades ago. Now, they are a popular necklace chain option. A bar chain has bars that alternate with oval links. The links may be single or multiple, plain or ornate. 

The bars can be straight, curved, or a specialty shape like a chevron. In addition, a bar chain is thinner than other chains making them an ideal candidate for layering with other jewelry pieces. 

Barleycorn Chain

Solid 18ct Yellow Gold Chain, Diamond Cut Curb Chain, Barleycorn Chain, Spiga Chain, Belcher Chain, 16" Chain, 18 Inch Chain

A barleycorn chain has its name because the links of this chain are tapered on one end and rounded on the other, which makes it look like a barley grain. It is a unique design that is versatile but not completely simple. 

The chain is usually longer, and the links are thin, resembling a teardrop. A barleycorn chain can be worn without anything extra, or it can have a gemstone or pendant. The chain ranges in size, starting at 1 mm. Typical lengths for this chain are 16 inch, 18 inch, or 20 inch. 

Box Chain

Silver box chain with a white pearl pendant

A box chain may also be referred to as a Venetian chain or a book chain. It has square links that connect in such a way that they resemble a box. The links connect together to allow for a continuous chain that flows smoothly. The box chain comes in various widths and appeals to men and women. Men tend to prefer the thicker chain.

The links of the box chain are durable and stable. If a box chain link breaks, it can easily be removed without impacting the look of the chain. It can be replaced with a new link. These chains are strong, smooth, and unique. They can be worn alone or with a pendant. A pendant will sit flat on a box chain.

Byzantine Chain

Gold Byzabtine Bracelet

The Byzantine chain has been around since 300 BCE. It is a complex and intricately designed chain. It is also referred to as a birdcage chain, king’s braid, and idiot’s delight. The Byzantine chain is intended to stand on its own and not worn with anything else. 

The circle or oval links of this chain are woven together to create a multidimensional design full of texture. The links in this chain shift direction, alternating from right to left. One link of the chain passes through four others giving this chain a distinct look. 

Some of these byzantine chains are flat, while others may be circular or graded. Some get thicker as you move towards the center of the chain. The Byzantine chain is a sturdy chain but can break. If it does, it cannot be easily fixed if it breaks. It must be sent to an experienced jeweler for repair. 

Cable Chain

4 gold cable chains

A cable chain is a basic-looking style of chain. It may be referred to as a ring chain or a connector chain. It looks similar to iron chains used for prisoners or a boat anchor. The cable chains have circular or oval links that are all the same and connected to each other. 

Cable chains are among the most popular chains available. They are durable, stable, and can withstand daily use. They are easy to repair in the event a link breaks. The links are able to be resoldered or replaced. These chains are often worn alone, but if they seem too plain, a pendant or gemstone can be worn on them. 

Cobra Chain

LIFETIME JEWELRY 1.2mm Flat Cobra Chain Necklace for Men & Women 24k Gold Plated (20)

A cobra chain is often mistaken for other chains that look similar but are different. The snake chain and herringbone chain resemble the cobra chain, but they are different and unique.

Cobra chains are a flat chain that has a zigzag design through the center of them. It is difficult to tell that this chain has links, but it does. They are triangular, and the midpoint faces in which form the pattern. 

Curb Chain 

Gold Curb Chain, thick interlocking peices

The curb chain is another basic chain, but it is also classic and timeless. The curb chain is close to a cable chain, but the links have been twisted. The links are typically diamond cut, which helps the links be uniform and lay flat. The links are all the same size and connected to each other. They can be oval or round. 

The connections of the curb chain all point in the same direction. The size of the links can vary, which changes the thickness of the chain. The curb chain comes in varying thicknesses, from extremely thin to thick and chunky. This chain is durable, sturdy, and easy to care for. It can be worn by itself or paired with a pendant. 

Despite being durable, the curb chain can break. If so, the links are easily repaired by a jeweler. These chains are considered more of a casual style. 

Figaro Chain

Barzel 18K Gold Plated Figaro Chain Necklace 2MM, 2.5MM, 3MM, 4MM, 4.5MM & 5MM for Women & Men (3MM, 20)

The Figaro chain is considered to be another one of the classics. While this chain originated in Italy, it is worn by people all over the world. Its simple design is similar to the cable chain; the links are a little different, giving it a unique appeal. 

The Figaro chain pattern is constructed with two to five small round or oval links followed by a longer oval link. This chain lays flat and looks great alone or with a pendant. 

This chain is durable and strong, but it could still break. If so, a jeweler must repair it because removing the broken link will interfere with the link pattern. You may see a slight twist on this chain with the figarucci chain. This chain has the same alternating pattern but includes a reinforcement bar. 

Filigree Chain

Aukmla Boho Lariat Necklace Silver Leaf Pendant Necklaces Chain Jewelry for women and Girls

A filigree chain is an incredibly delicate chain that has an antique look to it. The links are oval or marquise shaped and are constructed with a scrolling wire filigree. The filigree chain resembles lace. 

The scrolling wires are constructed by twisting or curling thin, pliable metal threads. This delicate chain is easy to wear but may break easily. 

Foxtail Chain

925 Sterling Silver Italian Rope-Chain Necklace for Men and Women 22 Inches

The foxtail chain is often confused with the wheat chain but is slightly different. The difference is the foxtail chain has edges that are more squared, and the links are set at a 45 degree angle. In addition, the sides of this chain are wide at the bottom and top but thinner on the sides. 

The foxtail chain lays flat, and the links create a unique pattern and looks like a chevron, which is a V-shaped pattern. The links are connected with flat rings that run down the center of the chain. This pattern looks like a fox’s tail.

Herringbone Chain

Gold Herringbone Chain

A herringbone chain is a flat chain that is created with a series of flat, thin metal segments. Each segment is bent in the middle to create the design. Unless you look closely at the chain, you may not be able to see the design or different links. A herringbone chain does not have much flexibility. As a result, the chain may kink, especially if something heavy is hanging on it. 

Typically, these chains have a lobster clasp to give them extra strength and durability. Herringbone chains come in different lengths and thicknesses. It has a polished look, often looking like a mirror. Unfortunately, they cannot easily be repaired when these chains are broken. 

Infinity Chain

Gold infinity chain, infinity shapes interlocking to make a necklace

The infinity chain is also referred to as a figure 8 chain. These chains have oval links that are twisted slightly. They are also connected by links that are twisted into a figure 8. This chain lays flat and is comfortable to wear. 

Margarita Chain Types

Amazon Essentials Sterling Silver Diamond Cut Rope Chain Necklace, 20"

A margarita chain is created by rectangular links that are connected widthwise in a twisted row. This twisting creates a tubular and textured look. These chains are unique and stand out from most other types of chains. In addition, many of the margarita chains always sparkle because these chains have a diamond cut to them. 

Mariner Chain

Gold Mariner Chain necklace

A mariner chain goes by many other names, including Gucci, marine, and anchor chain. Some people call it a Gucci chain because it was made popular when worn by Gucci. However, it is not made by Gucci, and because of trademark concerns, most people do not call it a Gucci chain.

The mariner chain looks like the chains that are attached to the anchor of a boat. The link has an oval with a bar that goes through the link to separate one large oval into two smaller ovals. Each oval is connected with another link. 

Traditionally, the mariner chain has flat, but you can also find it puffed. This is a durable and strong chain that can be worn every day. If a link is broken, it can be easily be fixed by a jeweler. The mariner chain can be worn by itself or with a pendant. 

Mesh Chain

MiaBella 18K Gold Over Sterling Silver Italian 4mm Mesh Link Chain Necklace for Women, 13+2.5, 16, 18, 20 Inch 925 Italy (16 Inch)

The mesh chain uses an incredibly fine wire that is woven or knitted together to create a flexible chain. Mesh chains can be rounded or flat. These chains are fluid and move like fabric. These chains can be thick or thin, based upon your preference. 

Many mesh chains are held together by a lobster claw. This chain stands out, and many people cannot help but stare at the chain when someone is wearing it. 

Nugget Chain

LIFETIME JEWELRY 1.2mm Twisted Nugget Chain Necklace 24k Real Gold Plated (22.0)

The nugget chain is also referred to as a tinsel chain or a twisted serpentine chain. The links are S shaped and flattened, and twisted to create a dimensional design. These chains are lightweight and can be worn with a pendant. 

Omega Chain

Black background with a silve and a gold Omega Chain necklaces, stiff collar shaped

An omega chain has wide links that are flattened and tightly joined together. These chains create a tiny and long chain intended to lay flat. This is created by spiraling a metal sheet strip around a box chain core. This type of chain is similar to a herringbone because it has flattened and connected segments. 

They are in a collar shape, and they hold their shape. Most often, these chains are worn as chokers. They vary from 16 inches to 20 inches in length. An omega chain can get kinked if they are mishandled. You should not sleep in this chain. 

If the omega chain is damaged, it could be repaired. However, if there is extensive damage to the chain, it may not be able to be repaired. These chains can be worn alone or with a pendant. If they have a pendant, then they must be on a slider to move easily across the chain.

Panther Chain

14K Yellow Gold 4mm Shiny 3-Row Panther Chain Link Bracelet 7" with Box Catch Clasp

The panther chain has links that look like bricks. They are rectangular shapes that are offset and then stacked in more than three rows. There is a small amount of space between the links. These rows form a chain with a bold look and a good amount of drape. These chains may look like mesh, depending on the links. 

The links can be all one size on the same chain. They may also be various sizes on the same chain giving it a graduated look.  

Peanut Chain

Gold Crinkle/Oval Link Chain Necklace with Springring Clasp 24Inch 14K Gold Finished Brass 3mm Chain Width Sold per pkg of 1pcs

A peanut chain is also called a crinkle chain. These links have been crimped into a specific shape that looks like a peanut. These are lightweight chains and are ideal for adding to a stack of necklaces. These are a popular chain today because of their unique look. 

The peanut chain has different variations, some are flat, and some are textured. In addition, some of the links are crimped in two places, while others are crimped in three, which changes the way the chain looks. 

Popcorn Chain

925 Sterling Silver Italian Popcorn Coreana Chain Necklace for Women 18 Inches

A popcorn chain is created with hollow links that are round and twisted to create a rope link chain. The twisting gives the chain a unique and textured look. This is a lightweight chain that remains strong and durable. Popcorn chains come in different widths and lengths.

Popcorn chains are great on their own and worn alone. However, they can also be worn with a pendant. These chains bend well and are hollow on the inside. The links are interconnected that are made and assembled by a machine. They also have a puffy look to them that makes the chain look like a garland of popcorn. 

Rolo Chain

Three black Rolo Chains, small circle peice interlocking to make a necklace

The rolo chain may also be spelled rollo, but it may also be referred to as a Belcher chain. The links of the rolo chain are round, and they interlock with each other. Each link is turned by 180 degrees giving the chain a unique look. These chains are incredibly strong as a result of the twisting links. 

Rolo chains come in varying lengths and widths. On some chains, the links have varying sizes. It is easy to repair if it breaks. It looks best when it is worn with a pendant but can be worn alone. They are ideal to wear with charms because the charms fit securely on each link. 

Rope Chain

Miabella Solid 18K Gold Over Sterling Silver Italian 2mm, 3mm Diamond-Cut Braided Rope Chain Necklace for Men Women, 925 Sterling Silver Made in Italy (3mm, Length 18 Inches(Small))

A rope chain is among the most common and popular chains worn. It has metal links, or segments, that are twisted around one another, mimicking the look of a rope. In this chain, the chain is created from uniform links that are also connected to other links. 

There is another version of this chain called a French rope. This has a tighter, more twisted look. This chain is heavier than the other version. This chain is textured, and because of the way the metal is twisted, it reflects light and looks shiny. 

Rope chains are strong and durable. They come in various thicknesses and lengths. A rope chain can be worn by itself or with a pendant. It is highly unlikely this chain will break. However, you will need to take it to an experienced jeweler if it does. 

San Marco Chain

Ross-Simons Italian 18kt Gold Over Sterling Silver San Marco Bracelet. 7.25 inches

The San Marco chain has a unique look even though many people do not know what it is. It looks close to a grain of rice that is oval and rounded. Each link is its own piece and is connected by a pin. These links are hollow. While the top of them are rounded, the bottom is flat and connected diagonally. 

The links can be connected end to end. In addition, they may be connected side by side. 

This sturdy chain can hold up to everyday use and should not break. However, it can be easily repaired with the correct tools if it does. 

A thinner version can be worn with a pendant. Larger versions of this chain can be worn alone. Even the larger version, which is heavier, is still comfortable to wear. No matter how you choose to wear it, it is breathtaking. 

Saturn Chain

Gold Choker Necklace for Women 18k Gold Plated Curb Ball Satellite Chain Dipped Short Chokers Dainty Layering Jewelry 16’’

A Saturn chain can be a box chain, a curb chain, or a cable chain that has evenly spaced beds attached to it. This type of chain may also be called a station chain, a satellite chain, or a rosary chain. This chain has a nice looking pattern and is ideal for layering. 

A Saturn chain has a variety of options. The accent beads or links vary in size and design. The beads are stationary and do not move or spin. These unique chains are becoming more popular today. 

Scroll Chain

LIFETIME JEWELRY 2.5mm Rounded Scroll Necklace for Women and Men 24k Gold Plated (22)

A scroll chain has distinct links that are constructed from two metal wires spiraling into the other. When they are spiraled together, they create a pattern that lays flat. These types of chains are in various weights. The lighter chains can be layered together or with other pieces of chains. 

Serpentine Chain

925 Sterling Silver 1.4mm Twisted Serpentine Chain Necklace 20 Inch Pendant Charm Fine Jewelry For Women Gifts For Her

A serpentine chain is created from links that are in the shape of the letter S that are flattened. Once flattened, they are attached to each other at the tip of the link. The links are layered in parallel to each other. When these links are attached to each other, they create a flexible chain.

The serpentine chain looks best on its own. However, it is possible to add a pendant to a thinner chain. The serpentine chain also looks great when it is worn as layered with other chains. 

Singapore Chain

14k Rose Gold Singapore Chain Necklace, 1.0mm, 16"

The Singapore chain looks a lot like a curb chain that has been twisted. This type of chain has diamond cut segments and have been braided, twisted, and linked together. The diamond cut gives it a nice sparkle. This action produces a strong chain that is incredibly durable. 

When you spread out the chain so that it is straight, you can see how it has been twisted together. The chain does look and feel like it is liquid. Even though it is a simple and lightweight design, it can be worn as an everyday item by itself. It also looks nice with a pendant. 

The Singapore chain is a lightweight chain that blends the best features of a curb chain and a rope chain. 

Snake Chain

Gold Snake Chain Necklace

A snake chain is often referred to as a Franco chain. This chain, especially the flat version, is often confused with a herringbone chain, but they are different. The name of this chain comes from the way the chain is flexible and moves. This chain has many small rings, bands, or plates. Therefore, they cannot be easily seen with the eyes. 

A snake chain has a rounded look and feel to it. The links of this chain have a minor point in the center which creates a chevron when they are joined together. 

A snake chain does not have a texture to it. Instead, the bands are connected tightly, giving it a sleek and smooth look. The snake chain can be worn on its own by itself or with a pendant. In addition, these chains are easy to clean and will not get caught in your hair. 

These chains are slightly fragile, and you must be careful when you are wearing them. There are two types of snake chains. One is a traditional, or unseamed version with round metal plates or bands joined together tightly. These plates create a zig zag pattern along the entire length of the chain. 

A seamed snake chain is constructed with a machine that solders it tighter, and it is compressed two times to give it a snake look and produces the visible seam along the length of the chain. 

Wheat Chain

HZMAN 3.0 mm Stainless Steel Wheat Silver Chain Necklaces for Men & Women 16" -30" (Silver, 18)

The wheat chain may also be referred to as the Spiga chain. Spiga means wheat in Italian. The links of this chain are oval and twisted together, so they look like a braided rope. While they are similar to rope chains, they look braided and resemble stalks of wheat. Typically, about four strands of twisted links create this chain.

All of the links in the wheat chain go in the same direction. These chains are flat or rounded and fairly flexible. These chains come in varying weights and lengths. This chain has a large amount of texture. These chains are durable and stable, which makes them look somewhat rigid. 

Despite the chain being durable, it may break occasionally. If it does break, it is not easy to repair. You will have to find a reputable jeweler to fix it for you. Thicker wheat chains are able to stand alone and wear by themselves. A thinner chain looks better with a pendant. 

What Type of Chain is Most Popular? 

A link chain is the most popular and classic type of chain there is. A link chain is constructed by separate links that are round or oval. The links interlock to create a uniform pattern. The links are laid 90 degrees to the next link. This creates a classic look, making the chain a common and popular option. Examples of link chains include anchor chains, ball chains, box chains, curb chains, and Figaro chains, just to name a few. 

What Type of Chain is Best for Pendants?

There is not just one chain that is ideal for pendants. Instead, several different types of chains are perfect for pendants. 

Some of these chains include:

Cable chain – this is a chain that looks similar to the chain attached to an anchor for a boat. This is a simple style while also being timeless and classic. Any type of pendant goes well with this type of chain. A jeweler often uses a thin wire to help a cable chain lay flat against the skin.

Curb chain – this chain has links that are thick and round. They are flattened on both sides, so they lay flat against the body. The link of a curb chain overlaps. Any type of pendant works well with a curb chain.

Figaro chain – the Figaro chain is similar to a curb chain except that it has oval links that interlock. This chain is elegant and has been a popular design in Italy for quite a while. 

What Should I Look For in A Chain?

You should look for many features when determining which chain is the best one for you. 

Material Endurance 

The endurance of metal is critical in how long you will be able to enjoy your gain. Therefore, when you want a chain that you plan to wear every day, you want a more durable and tough metal. This would include titanium, platinum, stainless steel, and gold. 

If want to wear a pendant on your chain, you want a sturdy chain and can handle the additional stress. Another consideration is whether or not the metal is going to tarnish. Some materials will tarnish over time, no matter how well you care for them. Material such as silver and low karat gold may tarnish. 


You want a chain that is going to be comfortable when you are wearing it. Your neck size makes a difference when you are looking for the best necklace length that will be comfortable for you. Those with a larger neck may want a longer chain. It is essential to know what allergies you have when selecting a chain. 

If you have a type of allergy to metal, you want a metal that has a high purity level. For example, titanium and platinum are ideal for sensitive skin. 

Your Style

You must know your style and the type of clothes you wear to help you select your chain. It is helpful to know where you want to wear the chain or the clothes in which you want to wear. This can help you determine which chain is the best one for you. If you are looking for a simple and understated chain, it helps you determine which one to select. If you are looking for something more unique, you can select a more modern chain.