Chains are basic elements and versatile pieces for jewelry making as they can be worn alone, with several other chains or with charms or pedants. To become part of the beading world, you have to have an overall view with chains including what each terminology means and which ones you think would work best for your design. This brief guide discusses some of the more popular styles of chains. Even if you are a beginner in this field, you won’t feel overwhelmed by the chain world any more.
Ball chain is a family of chain characterized by small round balls, which form a continuous strand of beaded chain. The balls can range in diameter from 1.5 millimeters to 6 millimeters or more. Elongated spaces are sometimes added, as well as bar-shaped beads to offer a more glamorous appearance. They are available in single and multi-row formats.
Box chain is made of 6-sided boxes shaped links and creates a smooth appearance. It is a strong and sturdy chain that holds pendants and heavier charms well. Box link sizes range from a very tiny 0.75 millimeters to over 3 millimeters.
Curb chain maybe a popular piece for men for the heavier and larger links. It is a simple design of flat, interlocking, similar links. However, smaller and more feminine styles are now available too.
Cable chain owes its name to the heavy and industrial type of cable chain typically used by ships to cast their anchors. It is comprised of oval interlocking links with alternating links turned 180°. The cable chain comes in a range of widths from very small 1-millimeter link sizes to over 7-millimeters. It’s also the most common chain used in jewelry beading.
Figaroa chain features three smaller oval links connected one after another followed by a larger oval cable link and has a repeating pattern. Still a very popular design with men, this type now comes in a variety of link sizes appropriate for women, and even children. Sizes range from a dainty 1.5-millimeter link size to a whopping 15-millimeters.
Herringbone chain is perhaps one of the most beautiful and popular chain styles. This chain is comprised of highly polished flat links connected in a herringbone pattern. No charms or pendants should be hung from this style of chain. Widths range from delicate 1.5-millimeters to hearty 11.5-millimeters and larger.
Marina chain has interlocking oval links whose width is bisected by a bar.
Rope chain is made of twisted oval links and spiral to create the appearance of woven and braided fibers. Rope chains come in a variety of diameters from 1.5 millimeter to a hearty 8 millimeters and beyond.Known for its strength, integrity, classic pattern, and simplicity, the rope family of chains is very popular. The finer weight chains can accommodate a small pendant or charm, but larger decorative pieces should be placed on those with a heartier weight.