14 Most Popular Types of Necklace Chains for Every Occasion

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There are several types of necklace chains, and it can be hard to decide on the best option. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference between necklace chains if you don’t look closely. That’s why we’re here.

We know that wearing the wrong necklace chain type can make or break your outfit. Knowing the existing varieties will help you decide if a style will suit your outfit and if spending that many bucks on it is worth it.  Let’s take a closer look at the different types of necklace chains.


What are the different types of necklace chains? 

Necklace chain types are usually named based on their appearances. Some are slight variations of the other, and they are typically available in different widths and lengths. You can wear some alone, while some look better when you layer them. We’ll put a name to them all. 

1. Box chain 

Box chain necklace

Box chains, also known as Venetian chains, are made up of squared links, making them sturdy and giving a boxy appearance. They are one of the most popular chain types and are best worn with pendants. 

If any links get broken, a jeweler can repair them by replacing the link or removing it to produce a shorter necklace. You can also wear them alone without pendants or in a layered arrangement. 

Pros

  • Easy to repair by jeweler

Cons

  • Thin box chain styles can break easily

2. Ball chain

woman wearing ball chain - types of necklace chains

Ball chains are also known as bead chains. The balls are linked together tightly or may have small spaces between them. These balls are available in different sizes and are usually not flexible. 

Typically, ball chains are inexpensive, made with cheap material like steel, and you may find them paired with dog tag pendants, perfect for a stylish look. They don’t look good as standalone chains, so you should pair them with a pendant. 

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Won’t snag hair
  • Have a unique, stylish appeal

Cons

  • Links connecting the balls are not sturdy and can break easily
  • It cannot hold a heavy pendant
  • Difficult to repair

3. Cable Chain

woman wearing cable chain - types of necklace chains

Cable chains are arguably the most popular type of chain. They are made up of oval symmetric links that are interlocked. They are pretty basic and can look too plain if worn without a pendant – unless you like an ultra-minimalist look. Some are made with individual links making them easily resoldered if broken. 

Pros

  • Can be worn for everyday use

Cons

  • May be difficult to repair if not individually linked

4. Rolo Chain

woman wearing rolo chain

Rolo chains are also known as belcher chains. They are similar to cable chains. However, instead of oval-shaped links, they have round symmetric links. Some Rolo chains are rounded on the outside and inside, while some are flat on the inside. They are one of the best chains for pendants. 

Pros

  • Sturdy
  • Easy to repair
  • Better worn with a pendant

Cons

  • Won’t sit flat on the neck

5. Curb Chain

woman wearing curb chain

Curb chains are made of circular links with uniform sizes. The interlocked links lay flat on the neck. They are thick and heavy, making them popular among men, although women often wear the thinner versions. 

Pros

  • Durable
  • Easy to repair
  • Can be worn with a heavy pendant

Cons

  • More commonly worn by men

6. Figaro Chain

woman wearing figaro chain -types of necklace chains

Figaro chains originate from Italy and have a repeated pattern of three short links followed by one long link. The length of the long link is usually close to the length of the three short links combined. 

Although it has a unique pattern, it is still minimal enough to be paired with different kinds of pendants. It is one of the most popular necklace chain types for men, but women wear it as well.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Easy to repair

Cons

  • May not work with some pendants

7. Herringbone Chain

woman wearing herringbone chain

Herringbone chains are a timeless classic necklace style. They mimic the popular herringbone pattern. The links are tight and appear solid. They are available in different widths and can be worn as statement pieces. They are fragile and can easily break. 

Pros

  • Can be worn without a pendant
  • Timeless appeal
  • Can be worn alone and with a pendant

Cons

  • Kinks easily
  • Can pull hair
  • Difficult to repair

8. Rope Chain

woman wearing rope chain

Rope chains are named based on their resemblance to a rope. Due to the twisted nature of the chain, these chains are sturdy and hard to break. If they do break, they can be difficult to repair. 

The chains can be tight or loose depending on how it is twisted. The pattern makes this type of necklace light reflective and lustrous. Thinner rope chains are more suitable for pendants, while the thick ones are good as statement necklaces for minimalist fashion. 

Pros

  • Can be worn with or without pendants
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Won’t snag hair

Cons

  • Difficult to repair

9. Snake Chain

woman wearing snake chain

The snake chain is named for its texture and flexibility. It may look like one long solid piece of metal from afar, but upon closer observation, you will see that it has individual rings –  plates or bands – that are tightly linked. 

Snake chains are flat and sit nicely on the neck. They have a chic look and are more commonly worn without a pendant. You can also layer this necklace chain with snake chains of different lengths or other necklace chain types. 

Pros

  • Easy to maintain
  • Does not tangle
  • Known for a chic look

Cons

  • Delicate necklace chain can break easily
  • May be too wide for most pendants
  • Can catch hair

10. Byzantine Chain

woman wearing byzantine chain

The byzantine chain has a chunky look, so it works well as a standalone piece of jewelry. It can be worn with both casual and formal wear. 

The links of a Byzantine chain are interwoven to give it a textured look and make it sturdy. It is also called a 4-in-1 chain because it is made by passing one link through four other links. Byzantine chains are usually more expensive because of the amount of metal used to make them.

Pros

  • Sturdy
  • Versatile-looking necklace–for formal and informal attire

Cons

  • Doesn’t pair well with pendants
  • Difficult to repair

11. Mariner Chain 

woman wearing mariner chain - types of necklace chains

Mariner chains are also known as anchor chains because of their similarity to literal anchors. If you’re a fan of the sea and ships, a mariner chain can be your everyday chain. 

These chains can either be flat or puffed. A mariner chain is enough to make a statement, but you can pair it with a pendant if you have a one with a wide hole.

Pros

  • Can easily be repaired
  • Durable
  • Does not pull hair

Cons

  • May not work with most pendants

12. Singapore Chain

woman wearing singapore chain - types of necklace chains

Singapore chains combine the design of the rope chain and curb chain. They alternate between the curved links of a curb chain and the flat loop of a rope chain. Singapore chains are suitable for daily wear and can be worn by both men and women. Their design makes them look like they are flowing when they move and also make them reflect light, so they dazzle. 

Pros

  • Durable
  • Can be layered with other necklace types

Cons

  • Not as sturdy as some other chain types

13. San Merco chain

mannequin wearing san merco chain - types of necklace chains

San Merco chain is an unpopular chain type with a unique look. It looks like one piece of twisted metal but is made up of links that are round in front but flat at the back. The hollow San Merco chain links are arranged diagonally and connected by pins, giving the chain a chunky look.

Pros

  • Classic statement piece
  • Can be worn alone

Cons

  • Cannot be easily repaired     

14. Spiga chain

woman wearing spiga chain - types of necklace chains

Spiga chains are also known as wheat chains. Their links are shaped like figure eight and have a plaited pattern to give a three-dimensional chain. Their unique pattern makes them suitable to wear alone.

Pros

  • Strong
  • Lightweight
  • Won’t kink

Cons

  • Might be too wide for some pendants

Frequently Asked Questions 

What type of chain is best for pendants?

Cable, box, curb, Figaro, rope, and Spiga are the best types of chains for pendants.

What is the strongest style of chain for a necklace?

The strongest necklace chain styles include rope, curb, Spiga, mariner, and Figaro chains. Aside from the style, the strength of the necklace chain will also depend on the material used to make it.

What is the most delicate necklace chain?

The most delicate types of necklace chains are the omega chain, herringbone chain, snake chain, and ball chain. They are the go-to necklace gifts for loved ones and special occasions.

What is a tennis chain?

woman wearing tennis chain - types of necklace chains
Tennis chain

A tennis chain is a chain that is made up of diamonds or gemstones held and connected by a thin metal chain. It has an elegant look and is usually expensive.

What type of chain sparkles the most?

Rope and Singapore chains sparkle because they reflect light in different directions.

How thick should a chain be for a pendant?

The suitable thickness depends on the size and weight of the pendant. For small pendants, 1mm to 1.5mm is usually thick enough. 

What types of necklace chains don’t snag hair?

Generally, thick chains with large links will not pull your hair because there is enough space for your hair to pass through. Also, chains without small spaces like the rope chain will not catch your hair. For example, ball and mariner chains will not snag your hair. Sometimes, though, the clasp of your chain might be the snag, not the necklace.

Elevate Your Style with These Necklace Chains

The best necklace chain types will depend mainly on your taste and style. You also need to know if you would like to wear your chain singly or with a pendant. At the end of the day, ensure you get a chain made with quality material and take proper care of it.

Want to know more about caring for your jewelry? Read our post on cleaning gold-plated jewelry.

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