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Back-to-basics: Different Types of Chains

Welcome to the first of my blogs! Entering the jewellery/antique industry I have a lot to learn so we thought why not bring you on my journey. First stop: back to basics: the different types of chains.

In this article, we will highlight the properties and pros/cons of the different types of chains. Understanding these will help you to decide on your next antique jewellery purchase based on their durability, suitability to wear with different pendants and general appearance.

The Curb Link Chain

Starting with one of the most common and popular types of chains, the curb chain. This chain consists of twisted and identical links that interlock at two distinctive grooves. These lie flat when worn. Open, rounded, close, concaved and diamond cut are just some of the variations of the curb chain.

These can be made thick and heavy, making them durable and can carry heavier pendants. Historically, they were made thicker however, as we now have fabulous and fast machinery, they can be made thinner, thus more lightweight and daintier.

Pros of this type of chain is that they are easy to care for and easy to repair. Just what we like to hear!

The Paperclip Link Chain

Paperclip link chain…I mean it’s pretty self-explanatory. They link like paper clips! These are super on-trend at the moment. They can be great for layering your jewellery or worn alone as a statement piece.

The Belcher Link Chain

Now onto the chain that intrigued me the most, purely because of the name. Belcher. Where did this come from, I hear you ask! Well, supposedly this type of chain was named after a champion boxer Jem Belcher in England in the 1800’s. This chain is made from a d-shaped wire cut into round or oval links turned at 180 degrees. Another name for the belcher chain is the rolo chain and is a type of trace chain – just to make it a little more confusing for you.

A pro of the Belcher link chain is that it can vary in size and type of metal, making it versatile.

The Spiga Link Chain

The Spiga chain is composed of figure of eight links that interlock, forming a symmetrical chain with all links facing in the same direction. This type of chain is particularly textural so works well on its own or with a pendant. Ready for another fun fact? The name for this chain comes from the word ‘Espiga’, meaning wheat. The Spiga chain is also often referred to as a wheat chain as some say the appearance resembles wheat stalks. What do you think?

Spiga chains are pretty strong and durable, though, due to their complexity, they can be difficult to repair.

The Trombone Link Chain

Another interesting and popular type of chain, is the trombone link chain. This chain embodies alternating polished bars and intricate chain links, such as rope links. Similar to the paperlink style chain, these are great to layer with other chains or on their own as a statement piece. However, these aren’t as common in modern jewellery as they require more labour to make. Making them an even more worthwhile addition to your antique jewellery collection.

The Trace Link Chain

Additionally, we have the trace chain. This style is made from thin wire shaped into uniform round or oval links. These are very delicate and thin, which has pros and cons. They are dainty and so can hold small pendants, perfect for those who love subtle and lightweight jewellery. However, they tangle very easily so they have to be stored carefully.

The Rope Link Chain

Lastly, the rope chain. This style is formed by several small links interlocked. These are very popular as they have flexibility, meaning they can twist, therefore can look good in all light and positions. These, like the curb chain, tend to be worn as a statement piece the larger they are, but equally they can be worn with pendants and can hold heavier ones.

My tips to takeaway from this learner’s guide for types of chains, is to ensure you research any pros and cons of chains as they are just as important as the pendants. Also, know your style; there are so many styles and sizes to choose from, make sure they’re the one for you or the person you are buying for. Finally, look after your chains!


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