How to Recognize Popular Jewelry Chains

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Box Chain

What Is a Box Chain?
Box Chain. (c) Blue Nile

Recognize and Choose Jewelry Chains

Chains are an essential jewelry component, but one we sometimes don't think too much about, especially if the chain is designed to stay in the background to make another component the center of attention.

Fine metal chains are used in jewelry to encircle parts of the body, namely the neck, wrists and ankles, and they also serve as points to hang decorative charms and pendants. 

Jewelry chains are typically made from precious metals, mainly gold and silver but also sometimes platinum, palladium and steel These metals are used because they are not very reactive, keep both their intricate shape and their strength, and require only minimal maintenance to keep their shine. 

Online jewelry stores don't always show close-ups of the chains used in jewelry, but you'll shop with confidence once you become familiar with some of the most popular types of chains.

A box chain is made up of square links that are connected to create a smooth chain, such as this 18k gold necklace.

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Wheat Chain

What Is a Wheat Chain?
Wheat Chain. (c) Blue Nile

To make a wheat chain, oval and twisted oval links are connected and intertwined together, all pointing in the same direction. The joint of each link is like a tiny hinge, meaning this style is not as flexible or liquid-like as some others The result is an intricate chain with a great deal of visual texture. This 18k white gold necklace is a good example of a wheat chain.

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Rolo Chain

What Is a Rolo Chain?
Rolo Chain. (c) Blue Nile

A rolo chain is made up of symmetrical links that are joined together, often round in shape. These links joined in a simple alternating sequence, making this type of chain look pleasantly simple (as opposed to more complex chains such as the rope chain which may sometimes appear overly complex).

This sterling silver and gold heart pendant dangles from a smallish rolo chain. Each chain works perfectly with the pendant it holds.

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More Popular Jewelry Chains

Jewelry Chains
Popular Types of Jewelry Chains. (c) Blue Nile

Most chain jewelry is made from one kind of chain, but you'll see many pieces that are assembled with multiple chain types. Combining chains gives designers one more tool they can use to tap into their creativity. Nordstrom's Mini Charm Necklace gets some additional character from its combination of rolo and snake chains.