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Jewellery Chain Glossary A to Z

A jewellery chain glossary from A to Z providing an illustration and a description for each style of jewellery chain. The intention being to differentiate between the various jewellery chains available, so that an informed decision can be made when using or buying jewellery making chain. Also included are some of the mechanical processes applied to chain to produce variations to common jewellery chain designs.

There is no agreed naming convention for the different types of jewellery making chain manufactured within the chain making industry, nor by the jewellery chain suppliers. For this reason there is some repetition in this jewellery chain glossary as each name variation is detailed for completeness. Most modern chains are available in both precious metals and base metals, including lightweight Aluminium Jewellery Chain, raw Brass Jewellery Chain, antique finish Bronze Jewellery Chain, bright Copper Jewellery Chain, Gold Chain, platinum chain, industrial looking Steel Chain, and Sterling Silver Chain. To these can be added a variety of applied metal finishes and coloured enamels.

If you are planning to buy jewellery chain Big Bead Little Bead offers both Contemporary Jewellery Chain and Vintage Jewellery Chain in a variety of jewellery chain sizes, jewellery chain styles and jewellery chain finishes.


Jump to a chain: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


A

ANCHOR CHAIN

Anchor chain is a classic jewellery chain design and the chain most people can describe with ease. It is characterised by uniformly sized repeating oval links which are arranged alternatively in a horizontal and then vertical orientation, traditionally with a vertical bar in the middle of each link. Because of the simplicity of its links it is one of the strongest types of jewellery chain and it is no surprise that it has the same design as the chains used to anchor large ships in port. This chain is also known as marine chain. Variations of this jewellery chain design include figarucci chain or flat anchor chain where the outer surfaces of the individual links are flattened off by diamond cutting, round anchor chain where the outer surfaces are slightly rounded and maritime chain where only every other link is an anchor link.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Anchor Chain

An illustration showing a length of Flat Anchor Chain.

ANODISED CHAIN

Anodised chain is not a chain design but a chain that has undergone a coating process using electrolysis to give a protective or decorative oxide finish. This anodising process produces a bonded finish that resists corrosion, exposure and abrasion. In the case of aluminium, which is the most common metal selected for anodised jewellery chain, the process creates a hard layer of aluminium oxide. This anodised finish can also be used to introduce colour to the chain using organic dyes or inorganic pigments which are absorbed and sealed into the pores of the oxide layer. Buy Anodised Aluminium Chain.

B

BALL CHAIN

Ball Chain is composed of spheres of metal rather than open links. These spheres or balls can be solid or hollow to reduce weight. They can be fixed at regular intervals along the length of the chain with connector bars, or placed immediately adjacent to each other. This jewellery chain typically has it own snap fastening, with the larger steel versions of this chain more often used to hold ID cards than for jewellery. This type of jewellery making chain is also known as bead chain and pelline chain. Buy Ball Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Ball Chain

An illustration showing a length of simple evenly spaced Ball Chain.

BAR CHAIN

Bar chain is composed of small links or jump rings separated by metal bar links which can be curved, decorative, elongated, hollow, shaped, solid, twisted or a combination of these. This varied style of jewellery chain is also know as link and bar chain. Buy Bar Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Bar Chain

An image showing a length of Bar Chain.

BARLEYCORN CHAIN

Barleycorn chain is formed of long thin teardrop shaped links that all point in the same direction. The join of each link is like a small hinge, meaning this style of jewellery chain is not overly flexible.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Barleycorn Chain

A picture showing a length of Barleycorn Chain.

BEAD CHAIN

Bead chain is composed of spheres of metal rather than open links. These spheres or balls can be solid or hollow to reduce weight. They can be fixed at regular intervals along the length of the chain with connector bars, or placed immediately adjacent to each other. This jewellery chain typically has it own snap fastening, with the larger steel versions of this chain more often used to hold ID cards than for jewellery. This type of jewellery making chain is also known as ball chain and pelline chain. Buy Bead Chain

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Bead Chain

An illustration showing a length of simple, evenly spaced, Bead Chain.

BEADED CHAIN

Beaded chain is composed of beads either strung onto and secured along the length of a standard chain, or individually joined together using wire loops which pass through the bead and connect to the next wire looped bead along until they create a length of chain. Buy Beaded Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Beaded Chain

An image showing a length of Beaded Chain with faceted glass beads.

BEADING CHAIN

Beading chain can either be a fine tubular link chain which is thin enough to fit through standard bead holes or a fine crimpable chain similar in style to snake chain which can be used with crimps to secure the beads along its length. This second type of chain is also known as crimpable chain. Buy Crimpable Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Beading Chain

A picture showing a length of Beading Chain or Crimpable Chain.

BELCHER CHAIN

Belcher chain originated in Britain in the 18th century, and was named for the bare knuckle boxer Jem Belcher who was Champion of All England from 1800 to 1805. This jewellery chain is similar in style to trace chain but rather than having uniform links they are wider than they are thick. In its finest form it is known as baby belcher chain. This jewellery chain is also known as rolo chain. Buy Belcher Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Belcher Chain

An illustration showing a length of Belcher Chain.

BIRDCAGE CHAIN

Birdcage chain is an intricate, closely linked sequential chain design which has ancient origins dating back to the 5th Century. Made of either oval or round links the resulting chain is very soft and flexible with an elegant drape. The links are used in pairs, with a vertical pair joined by a horizontal pair to a vertical pair. The final pair in this sequence is then folded back past the middle section, with the middle section then opened upwards and downwards to both lock the folded back pair in place, as well as opening up an anchor point for the next sequence of three paired links. The result is a jewellery chain with a very detailed rope like appearance and texture. It is available in both flat and round styles, as well as a graduated form with the chain width becoming larger toward the centre of a necklace for example. Because of it’s early origins it is know by many other names including Byzantine chain, idiot’s delight chain and king’s braid chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Birdcage Chain

An image showing a length of intricate Birdcage Chain.

BIKE LINK CHAIN

Bike link chain closely resembles the link arrangement in a bicycle chain (minus the oil) with square shaped metal links secured together with a bar. Because of its linear link pin construction it is not a very flexible jewellery chain but it is very striking in its design.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Bike Link Chain

A picture showing a length of Bike Link Chain.

BISMARCK CHAIN

Bismark chain resembles a chain link fence but with a much tighter mesh arrangement. It starts as run of two cable chains or curb chains whose sides are then neatly soldered together to form a parallel length of links.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Bismarck Chain

An illustration showing a length of soldered Bismarck Chain.

BOOK CHAIN

Book chain is much loved for its geometric simplicity. It is made from round wire which is rolled flat and then folded into square links that form open boxes or cubes. This provides a sturdy, yet classically smooth, sleek and uniform appearance. This jewellery making chain is also known as box chain, briolette chain, square link chain and Venetian chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Book Chain

An image showing a length of Book Chain.

BOSTON LINK CHAIN

Boston link chain is named after the American city. It is a soldered cable chain that has then been mechanically processed using a hammer die, a process also known as swedging. This elongates each link and squares them off creating an elegant box like profile on all four sides of the chain. Buy Boston Link Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Boston Link Chain

A picture showing a length of boxy Boston Link Chain.

BOX CHAIN

Box chain is much loved for its geometric simplicity. It is made from round wire which is rolled flat and then folded into square links that form open boxes or cubes. This provides a sturdy, yet classically smooth, sleek and uniform appearance. This jewellery making chain is also known as book chain, briolette chain, square link chain and Venetian chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Box Chain

An illustration showing a length of Box Chain.

BRAZILIAN CHAIN

Brazilian chain is made up of smooth round metal plates or bands with a slight curve at their mid point. They are tightly joined together to form a continuous flexible tube reminiscent of a snake skin due to a slight zigzag effect. It has a virtually closed surface profile which makes for a very elegant and flexible jewellery chain perfect for displaying a pendant from. Unlike omega chain there is no underlying wire or mesh to support these plates. This jewellery making chain is also known as hexagon chain, round maille chain, star weave chain but most commonly snake chain. Buy Brazilian Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Brazilian Chain

An image showing a length of Brazilian Chain.

BRIOLETTE CHAIN

Briolette chain is much loved for its geometric simplicity. It is made from round wire which is rolled flat and then folded into square links that form open boxes or cubes. This provides a sturdy, yet classically smooth, sleek and uniform appearance. This jewellery making chain is also known as book chain, box chain, square link chain and Venetian chain.

 Jewellery Chain Glossary - Briolette Chain

A picture showing a length of Briolette Chain.

BYZANTINE CHAIN

Byzantine chain is an intricate, closely linked sequential chain design which has ancient origins dating back to the 5th Century. Made of either oval or round links the resulting chain is very soft and flexible with an elegant drape. The links are used in pairs, with a vertical pair joined by a horizontal pair to a vertical pair. The final pair in this sequence is then folded back past the middle section, with the middle section then opened upwards and downwards to both lock the folded back pair in place, as well as opening up an anchor point for the next sequence of three paired links. The result is a jewellery making chain with a very detailed rope like appearance and texture. It is available in both flat and round styles, as well as a graduated form with the chain width becoming larger toward the centre of a necklace for example. Because of it’s early origins it is know by many other names including birdcage chain, idiot’s delight chain and king’s braid chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Byzantine Chain

An illustration showing a length of intricate Byzantine Chain.

C

C LINK CHAIN

C link chain, also know as C chain is made up of solid ‘c’ shaped sections that fit into one another in a repeating pattern. It is designed to lie flat and is noted for its flexibility when compared against other flat profile chains such as herringbone chain. This jewellery chain can be further enhanced with bevelled edges as well as engraving on the individual links, including classical vertical lines of varying depths and thicknesses. Buy C Link Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - C Link Chain

An image showing a length of C Link Chain.

CABLE CHAIN

This is the most common type of jewellery chain and is a much reduced version of the large chains used on board ships. It is formed of individual oval or round links interlocked in a uniform pattern, with each link lying at ninety degrees to the next. Each section of a cable chain is identical throughout, giving it a simple but classic look. Variations on this design include double link chain or parallel link chain where pairs of links are used, with other variants using rectangular links, square links and links that alternate in size. This chain is also known as link chain. Buy Cable Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Cable Chain

A picture showing a length of Cable Chain.

CHARM CHAIN

Not too surprisingly charm chain is used to make charm bracelets. In practice any chain can be used for this purpose. However, this chain makes use of round, thin wire links joined together in the same way that cable and anchor chains are. But in this case each link is made of three layers of wire, joined to the next three links but not to each other. This provides lots of anchor points for charms to be attached to whilst having a strong but open structure to allow these decorative objects to hang freely. Buy Charm Chain.

CLOSED LINK CHAIN

Closed link chains are chains which benefit from an additional production process which ensures every individual join has solder applied to ensure the link cannot open easily. This process adds to the cost of the chain, and for this reason it is often reserved for precious metal chains, but it does mean a chain length is less likely to break or stretch over time. It also means finer jewellery making chains can be used with heavier embellishments such as glass, pendants and stones. Buy Closed Link Chain.

COBRA CHAIN

Is a basic cable chain that has been hammered or swaged into a chain with flat triangular links.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Cobra Chain

An illustration showing a length of Cobra Chain.

CRIMPABLE CHAIN

Crimpable chain can either be a fine tubular link chain which is thin enough to fit through standard bead holes, or a fine crimpable chain similar in style to snake chain, which can be used with crimps to secure the beads along its length. This second type of chain is also known as crimpable chain. Buy Crimpable Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Crimpable Chain

An image showing a length of Crimpable Chain.

CRINKLE CHAIN

Crinkle chain or peanut chain is an example of a fancy chain with an attractive wavy link design.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Crinkle Chain

A picture showing a length of decorative Crinkle Chain.

CUBAN LINK CHAIN

Cuban link chain is a variation of cable chain with oval shaped links and added decorative detail in the form of a twisting rope like pattern cut into each link.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Cuban Link Chain

An illustration showing a length of Cuban Link Chain.

CUP CHAIN

Cup chain consists of a series of metal open topped boxes or cubes into which are dropped shaped glass crystals providing a repeating pattern of sparkle. The boxes are typically linked with a flat bar which allows the chain to articulate horizontally, with a little movement vertically. The stones come in a wealth of colours and finishes including crystal, crystal with aurora borealis finish, black diamond, as well as solid colours. This jewellery chain is very versatile and can be used as a standalone chain or worked into jewellery designs using cord, fabric, leather or wire. Buy Cup Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Cup Chain

An image showing a length of Cup Chain with crystal rhinestones.

CURB CHAIN

Curb chain Is a variation on cable chain with uniformly sized round or oval links that have been twisted and often diamond cut so that they lie flat along a surface. This form of chain has the greatest variety of widths, ranging from a few millimetres up to several centimetres. This jewellery making chain is sometimes referred to as gourmette chain. Buy Curb Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Curb Chain

A picture showing a length of Curb Chain.

D

DAPPED

Dapping is a cold metal process used to either add additional curve to a chain link or by leaving a single hammer strike on the links surface, thereby adding shape or texture to a chain design.

DIAMOND CUTTING

Diamond cutting is a production process applied to lengths of chain to enhance their appeal. Diamond tipped precision cutting tools are used to create a pattern of fine sharp flat cuts across each chain link so that each element of the chain catches the light to a far greater extent than a standard flat surface. This process is also known as diamond milling. Buy Diamond Cut Chain.

DIAMOND MILLING

See above.

DOUBLE LINK CHAIN

Double link chain is based on a cable chain or a curb chain but instead of a repeating pattern of single links it consists of a repeating pattern with two links lying parallel to each other linking directly to a second set of links lying in parallel. A variation of this chain style is known as parallel chain. Buy Double Link Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Double Cable Chain

An illustration showing a length of Double Cable Chain.

E

ELONGATED CABLE CHAIN

Elongated cable chain has the same basic structure as a standard cable chain but uses stretched links rather than round links. It makes for a very attractive light jewellery chain with an open appearance. Buy Elongated Cable Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Elongated Cable Chain

An image showing a length of open Elongated Cable Chain.

ELONGATED or DRAWN

Elongating is a cold metal process whereby round or oval chain links can be stretched or drawn to elongate the individual links, thereby making the chain narrower whilst adding interest through new link styles.

ESPIGA CHAIN

Espiga chain translates from Spanish the word espiga meaning wheat. This intricate symmetrical chain is made from small figure of eight links which give it a plaited appearance, closely resembling an ear of wheat or corn. This jewellery chain is also known as spiga chain or wheat chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Espiga Chain

A picture showing a length of intricate Espiga Chain.

F

FANCY CHAIN

Fancy chain is a catch all description for any decorative variation of a standard chain type. By way of an example, a trace chain formed of heart shaped links would be described and sold as fancy chain. Other decorative features might include unusual link designs such as hearts or stars, decorative finishes to the chain links, or the additional of dangles. Buy Fancy Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Fancy Chain

An illustration showing a length of Fancy Chain in the form of circular disc links.

FIGARO CHAIN

Figaro chain is similar to curb chain, in that it has flattened twisted links but it does not have one uniform link size or shape. Typically it will have between one and five shorter links alternating between a longer link, creating an attractive repeating pattern for the length of the chain. This type of jewellery chain originated in Italy and is named after the popular Italian opera The Marriage of Figaro. Buy Figaro Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Figaro Chain

An image showing a length of Figaro Chain.

FIGARUCCI CHAIN

Figarucci chain is a variation of anchor chain or marine chain but with twisted diamond cut oval links and a dividing bar in the middle of each link. Like curb chain it will lie flat on a surface.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Figarucci Chain

A picture showing a length of Figarucci Chain.

FIGURE OF 8 CHAIN

Figure of eight chain is made up of flat lying oval links that are connected by a smaller, twisted link shaped like an ‘8’. This fancy chain is also known as infinity chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Figure Of Eight Chain

An illustration showing a length of Figure of Eight Chain.

FILIGREE CHAIN

Filigree chain is typically styled like a cable chain or curb chain but with long links that have added decoration in the form of a Florentine pattern giving this jewellery chain a lace like or filigree finish.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Filigree Chain

An image showing a length of Filigree Chain.

FLAT LINK CABLE CHAIN

Flat link cable chain is a style of cable chain that has flat sided vertical links rather then rounded metal links. Buy Flat Link Cable Chain

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Flat Cable Chain

A picture showing a length of Flat Cable Chain.

FLATTENED

Flattening is a cold metal process used to flatten the curved surfaces of chain links to add interest and to create a larger reflective area to enhance a chains shine and appeal.

FOB CHAIN

A fob chain is a short length of finished chain which was traditionally used to secure a pocket watch to a gentleman’s waistcoat. At the other end of the chain to the swivel hook and pocket watch was a bar or decorative ornament which would be placed through a waistcoat button hole to secure the watch in place. These are now much sought after by jewellery designers for use as necklaces and charm bracelets.

FOXTAIL CHAIN

Foxtail chain uses a loop chain link made up of two rows of slanted oval links connected by a series of flat rings running down the chain’s centre. Each row of links faces the other at a 45 degree angle. This creates a braided or woven effect with a directional grain and a fullness which gives the appearance of the hairs on a fox’s tail. This jewellery making chain can be hammered or swaged into a square profile or alternatively it can be diamond cut.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Foxtail Chain

An illustration showing a length of fine Foxtail Chain.

FRENCH ROPE CHAIN

French rope chain is made from machine flattened wire with each wire link woven into the next link without the benefit of solder. Buy Rope Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - French Rope Chain

An image showing a length of French Rope Chain.

G

GOURMETTE CHAIN

Gourmette chain is an alternative name for curb chain. This chain style is a variation on cable chain with uniformly sized round or oval links that have been twisted and often diamond cut so that they lie flat along a surface. This form of jewellery making chain has the greatest variety of widths, ranging from a few millimetres up to several centimetres. Buy Gourmette Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Curb Chain

A picture showing a length of Curb Chain.

H

HAMMERED

Hammering in relation to chain is a cold metal forging process used to create texture on the surface of individual links to add texture and additional light catching surfaces.

HERRINGBONE CHAIN

Herringbone chain is made up multiple rows of ‘v’ shaped links that lie entirely flat giving it a fluid quality when worn. The direction of these links alternates with each new row creating the herringbone pattern. The rows themselves can also be laid out in different coloured links, for example to create a tricolour effect. Thin strands of herringbone chain can even be twisted or plaited together to provide an even greater visual effect.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Herringbone Chain

An illustration showing a length of Herringbone Chain.

HEXAGON CHAIN

Hexagon chain is made up of smooth round metal plates or bands with a slight curve at their mid point. They are tightly joined together to form a continuous flexible tube reminiscent of a snake skin due to a slight zigzag effect. It has a virtually closed surface profile which makes for a very elegant and flexible chain perfect for displaying a pendant from. Unlike omega chain there is no underlying wire or mesh to support these plates. This jewellery making chain is also known as Brazilian chain, round maille chain, star weave chain and most commonly snake chain. Buy Hexagon Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Hexagon Chain

An image showing a length of Hexagon Chain.

HOOK CHAIN

In Britain this chain may put you in mind of a Victorian style toilet with a high wall mounted cistern with a long brass chain with ceramic pull handle! This hook chain is very simple in design having a round link with two folded back ends forming the hook that links into the next link. It is available in a variety of finishes as well as colours. This jewellery chain is also know as ladder chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Hook Chain

A picture showing a length of Hook Chain.

I

IDIOT’S DELIGHT CHAIN

Idiot’s delight chain is an intricate, closely linked sequential chain design which has ancient origins dating back to the 5th Century. Made of either oval or round links the resulting chain is very soft and flexible with an elegant drape. The links are used in pairs, with a vertical pair joined by a horizontal pair to a vertical pair. The final pair in this sequence is then folded back past the middle section, with the middle section then opened upwards and downwards to both lock the folded back pair in place, as well as opening up an anchor point for the next sequence of three paired links. The result is a chain with a very detailed rope like appearance and texture. It is available in both flat and round styles, as well as a graduated form with the chain width becoming larger toward the centre of a necklace for example. Because of it’s early origins it is know by many other names including birdcage chain, Byzantine chain and king’s braid chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Idiot's Delight Chain

An illustration showing a length of intricate Idiot’s Delight Chain.

INFINITY LINK CHAIN

Infinity link chain is made up of flat lying oval links that are connected by a smaller, twisted link shaped like an ‘8’. This chain is also known as figure of eight chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Infinity Chain

An image showing a length of Infinity Chain.

J

K

KING’S BRAID CHAIN

King’s braid chain is an intricate, closely linked sequential chain design which has ancient origins dating back to the 5th Century. Made of either oval or round links the resulting chain is very soft and flexible with an elegant drape. The links are used in pairs, with a vertical pair joined by a horizontal pair to a vertical pair. The final pair in this sequence is then folded back past the middle section, with the middle section then opened upwards and downwards to both lock the folded back pair in place, as well as opening up an anchor point for the next sequence of three paired links. The result is a jewellery chain with a very detailed rope like appearance and texture. It is available in both flat and round styles, as well as a graduated form with the chain width becoming larger toward the centre of a necklace for example. Because of it’s early origins it is know by many other names including birdcage chain, Byzantine chain, and idiot’s delight chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - King's Braid Chain

A picture showing a length of intricate King’s Braid Chain.

KNURLED

Knurling is a cold metal texturing process which results in hatching across the links of a chain reducing the overall reflectivity of the chain but adding texture and interest. The hatching can be in the form of cross hatching, repeating lines, or more complicated designs.

L

LADDER CHAIN

In Britain this chain may put you in mind of a Victorian style toilet with a high wall mounted cistern with a long brass chain with ceramic pull handle! This ladder chain is very simple in design having a round link with two folded back ends forming the hook that links into the next link. It is available in a variety of finishes as well as colours. This chain is also know as hook chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Ladder Chain

An illustration showing a length of Ladder Chain.

LINK CHAIN

Link chain is the most common type of jewellery chain. It is formed of individual oval or round links interlocked in a uniform pattern, with each link lying at ninety degrees to the next. Each section of chain is exactly the same shape and size throughout giving it a simple but classic look. This chain is also known as cable chain. Buy Link Chain

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Link Chain

An image showing a length of Link Chain.

LINK AND BAR CHAIN

Link and bar chain is composed of small links or jump rings separated by metal bar links which can be curved, decorative, elongated, shaped, twisted, hollow, solid or a combination of these. This type of jewellery chain is also know as bar chain. Buy Link and Bar Chain

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Link And Bar Chain

A picture showing a length of Link And Bar Chain.

LONG AND SHORT CHAIN

Long and short chain is made up of one long link alternating with a series of shorter links. The shape of the links is consistent throughout the chain but the chain itself can formed from round, oval, square, rectangular or other shaped links. This style of chain also falls within the realms of figaro chain as well as fancy chain. Buy Long and Short Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Long And Short Chain

An illustration showing a length of Long And Short Chain.

M

MARINE CHAIN

Marine chain is a classic jewellery chain design and the chain most people can describe with ease. It is characterised by uniformly sized repeating oval links which are arranged alternatively in a horizontal and then vertical orientation, traditionally with a vertical bar in the middle of each link. Because of the simplicity of its links it is one of the strongest types of jewellery chain and it is no surprise that it has the same design as the chains used to anchor large ships in port. This chain is also known as anchor chain. Variations of this chain design include figarucci chain or flat anchor chain where the outer surfaces of the individual links are flattened off by diamond cutting, round anchor chain where the outer surfaces are slightly rounded and maritime chain where only every other link is an anchor link.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Marine Chain

An image showing a length of Marine Link Chain.

MARQUIS CHAIN

Marquis chain derives its name from a fancy cut of gemstone, typically a diamond fashioned into an elongated oval shape with pointed ends. This design is believed to have been named after the Marquise de Pompadour who was the mistress of Louis XIV. The chain design follows the same elongated oval shape as the gemstone cut, with a simple join between links to maintain this chains clean lines.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Marquis Chain

A picture showing a length of Oval Fisheye Marquis Chain.

MESH CHAIN

Mesh chain has a fabric like quality with very fine wire used to weave the chain. There are a number of production methods including Milanese mesh chain and stocking mesh chain. The first is produced by weaving wire into tubular or flat profiles whilst the second is produced using a knitting process with needles generating a continuous and seamless tube of mesh chain in the same way stockings used to be made. These chains tend to be wider than normal jewellery chains, often being four or more links wide. Buy Mesh Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Mesh Chain

An illustration showing a length of flat Mesh Chain.

N

NUGGET CHAIN

Nugget chain starts life as a standard serpentine chain which is then soldered and hammered into an interlocking ‘s’ design, before being twisted to create the appearance of a nugget. This chain is also known as tinsel chain and twisted serpentine chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Nugget Chain

An image showing a length of Nugget Chain.

O

OMEGA CHAIN

Omega chain is a wide chain distinguished from other chains by the structure of its links or plates. Small individual metal plates are aligned next to one another and crimped to an underlying mesh substructure. This type of chain is popular for its overall strength and its reflective qualities as the chains texture makes it extremely shiny. This chain design is traditionally flat in profile although rounded variations of the chain can be found. They can also be reversible.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Omega Chain

A picture showing a length of Omega Chain.

OPEN LINK CHAIN

Open link chains are chains which do not benefit from the addition of solder to the link joint, and subsequently the individual links can be opened like a jump ring, which in itself has benefits. When using unsoldered chains it is important to ensure that the chain selected is substantial enough to cope with the weight of the design and the vigors of day to day wear without stretching or breaking. Buy Open Link Chain.


P

PANTHER CHAIN

Panther chain is a flat chain with a surface design that resembles three rectangular paving bricks lying above each other with the centre brick offset one half brick to the side. The offset brick is then connected to the space left by the offset brick on the next link in the chain using a pin. These bricks can also be rhombus shaped like the diamond in a deck of playing cards.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Panther Chain

An illustration showing a length of Panther Chain.

PARALLEL CHAIN

Parallel chain is based on a cable chain or a curb chain but instead of a repeating pattern of single links it consists of a repeating pattern with two links lying parallel to each other linking directly to a second set of links lying in parallel. A variation of this chain style is known as double link chain. Buy Parallel Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Parallel Chain

An image showing a length of Parallel Chain.

PEANUT CHAIN

Peanut chain is a good example of a fancy chain with an attractive wavy link design. This particular design of chain is also known as crinkle chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Peanut Chain

A picture showing a length of shaped Peanut Chain.

PELLINE CHAIN

Pelline Chain is composed of spheres of metal rather than open links. These spheres or balls can be solid or hollow to reduce weight. They can be fixed at regular intervals along the length of the chain with connector bars, or placed immediately adjacent to each other. This chain typically has it own snap fastening, with the larger steel versions of this chain more often used to hold ID cards than for jewellery. This type of jewellery making chain is also known as ball chain and bead chain. Buy Pelline Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Pelline Chain

An illustration showing a length of simple, evenly spaced, Pelline Chain.

POPCORN CHAIN

Popcorn chain is made of identical machine stamped segments of flat metal in much the same manner as snake chain. The metal segments are hollow and can be flat, rounded or concave.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Popcorn Chain

An image showing a length of Popcorn Chain.

PRINCE OF WALES CHAIN

Prince of Wales chain is made of small circular links, where each link has no less than four other links connected to it, forming a twisted metal chain. The resulting chain resembles a rope and is extremely strong due to the additional connectivity between chain links.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Prince Of Wales Chain

A picture showing a length of Prince Of Wales Chain.

Q

R

RING AND CONNECTOR CHAIN

Ring and connector chain is a variation on cable chain made up of elongated links connected by round links or jump rings. Buy Ring And Connector Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Ring And Connector Chain

An illustration showing a length of Ring And Connector Chain.

ROLO CHAIN

Rolo chain is made up of alternating oval or round links. These links are typically smaller in length and thicker in girth than cable chain links, and are flat on the inside, giving the chain a heavy, sturdy appearance. This type of chain is popular for use as charm bracelets. This jewellery chain is also known as belcher chain and in its finest form baby belcher chain. Buy Rolo Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Rolo Chain

An image showing a length of Rolo Chain.

ROPE CHAIN

Rope chain has the appearance of two, or more, twisted strands of chain spiralled together. It is created by weaving rows of metal links to resemble a thick two stranded rope. A downside of this chain is that because the individual links are not fully joined together if one link fails there can be a domino effect! Some rope chains combine two different types and colours of metal. Buy Rope Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Rope Chain

A picture showing a length of Rope Chain.

ROUND LINK CHAIN

Round link chain is a simple uniform chain combining round open links or closed soldered links set at right angles to each other.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Round Link Chain

An illustration showing a length of Round Link Chain.

ROUND MAILLE CHAIN

Round maille chain is made up of smooth round metal plates or bands with a slight curve at their mid point. They are tightly joined together to form a continuous flexible tube reminiscent of a snake skin due to a slight zigzag effect. It has a virtually closed surface profile which makes for a very elegant and flexible chain perfect for displaying a pendant from. Unlike omega chain there is no underlying wire or mesh to support these plates. This jewellery making chain is also known as Brazilian chain, hexagon chain, star weave chain but most commonly snake chain. Buy Round Maille Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Round Maille Chain

An image showing a length of Round Maille Chain.

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SAN MARCO CHAIN

San Marco chain is made up of long and rounded links which somewhat resemble a puffed grain of rice with a flat bottom. These individual links are arranged next to each other at a forty five degree angle and attached to each other at the bottom by sturdy flat pins set at an opposing angle.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - San Marco Chain

A picture showing a length of San Marco Chain.

SATURN CHAIN

Saturn chain is composed of small round link chain punctuated with filled beads that look like orbiting planets or moons, adding both interest and texture to the overall chain design.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Saturn Chain

An illustration showing a length of Saturn Chain.

SCROLL CHAIN

Scroll chain is produced by a dedicated machine which uses two separate lengths of wire fed from opposite directions to create the initial scroll which is then soldered. The chain can then be hammered or diamond cut for added effect. Buy Scroll Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Scroll Chain

An image showing a length of Scroll Chain.

SERPENTINE CHAIN

Serpentine chain is composed of hammered ‘s’ shaped links that are laid next to each other with another identical set of links laid in parallel below the first and connected together. Buy Serpentine Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Serpentine Chain

A picture showing a length of Serpentine Chain.

SINGAPORE CHAIN

Singapore chain is constructed using a series of flat diamond cut chain links. Several of these links are interwoven to form a diamond shape, and then in turn these diamond shaped links are twisted and flattened to form a chain. This process results in a chain with links that reflect light from different angles, giving the chain a sparkling appearance as well as a pleasing natural curve.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Singapore Chain

An illustration showing a length of Singapore Chain.

SNAKE CHAIN

Snake chain is made up of smooth round metal plates or bands with a slight curve at their mid point. They are tightly joined together to form a continuous flexible tube reminiscent of a snake skin due to a slight zigzag effect. It has a virtually closed surface profile which makes for a very elegant and flexible chain perfect for displaying a pendant from. Unlike omega chain there is no underlying wire or mesh to support these plates. This jewellery making chain is also known as Brazilian chain, hexagon chain, round maille chain, and star weave chain. Buy Snake Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Snake Chain

An image showing a length of Snake Chain.

SPIGA CHAIN

Spiga chain is made from small figure of eight links which give it an almost square, plaited profile. It is a strong, complex chain which are both qualities that are usually reflected in its price. This jewellery making chain is also known as espiga chain and wheat chain. The name derives from the Spanish word espiga meaning wheat.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Spiga Chain

A picture showing a length of intricate Spiga Chain.

SQUARE LINK CHAIN

Square link chain is much loved for its geometric simplicity. It is made from round wire which is rolled flat and then folded into square links that form open boxes or cubes. This provides a sturdy, yet classically smooth, sleek and uniform appearance. This jewellery making chain is also known as book chain, box chain, briolette chain and Venetian chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Square Link Chain

An illustration showing a length of Square Link Chain.

STAR WEAVE CHAIN

Star weave chain is made up of smooth round metal plates or bands with a slight curve at their mid point. They are tightly joined together to form a continuous flexible tube reminiscent of a snake skin due to a slight zigzag effect. It has a virtually closed surface profile which makes for a very elegant and flexible chain perfect for displaying a pendant from. Unlike omega chain there is no underlying wire or mesh to support these plates. This jewellery making chain is also known as Brazilian chain, hexagon chain, round maille chain, and most commonly snake chain. Buy Snake Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Star Weave Chain

An image showing a length of Star Weave Chain.

SWAGED or SWEDGED

Swaging or swedging in relation to chain is a forging process used to change the shape or cross section of the individual links using a shaped tool or die. This shaping process is used to condense, flatten or generally modify the overall appearance of cold metal chain usually to create variations of more common chain styles. The change achieved can be signiifcant, for example herringbone chain and serpentine chain both start out as cable chain or curb chain.

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TINSEL CHAIN

Tinsel chain starts life as a standard serpentine chain which is then soldered and hammered into an interlocking ‘s’ design, before being twisted to create the appearance of a nugget. This chain is also known as nugget chain and twisted serpentine chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Tinsel Chain

A picture showing a length of Tinsel Chain.

TRACE CHAIN

Trace chain is generally a fine and delicate chain which usually has a uniform breadth and thickness. It is typically formed from wire with slightly oval links. For the purposes of our bead shop any style of jewellery chain with links smaller than 2.5mm is described as trace chain. Buy Trace Chain.

 Jewellery Chain Glossary - Trace Chain

An illustration showing a length of fine Trace Chain.

TWISTED CURB CHAIN

Twisted curb chain is constructed using a series of flat curb chain links which have been twisted to add extra interest. This design results in a chain with links that reflect light from different angles, giving the chain a sparkling appearance and a more textural appeal.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Twisted Curb Chain

An image showing a length of Twisted Curb Chain.

TWISTED HELIX CHAIN

Twisted helix chain is one of the simplest chains in appearance with uniform links and a pleasing repeating pattern. This chain can be produced in very fine widths creating a very delicate trace chain. Buy Twisted Helix Chain

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Twisted Helix Chain

A picture showing a length of Twisted Helix Chain.

TWISTED ROPE CHAIN

Twisted rope chain is created from lengths of rope chain which are twisted together to form a single chain length which gleams from every angle. Buy Rope Chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Twisted Rope Chain

An illustration showing a length of Twisted Rope Chain.

TWISTED SERPENTINE CHAIN

Twisted serpentine chain starts life as a standard serpentine chain which is then soldered and hammered into an interlocking ‘s’ design, before being twisted to create the appearance of a nugget. This chain is also known as nugget chain and tinsel chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Twisted Serpentine Chain

An image showing a length of Twisted Sepentine Chain.

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VENETIAN LINK CHAIN

Venetian link chain is much loved for its geometric simplicity. It is made from round wire rolled flat before being formed into square links that form open boxes or cubes, giving it a sturdy yet classically smooth, sleek and uniform appearance. This jewellery making chain is also known as book chain, box chain, briolette chain and square link chain.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Venetian Link Chain

A picture showing a length of Venetian Link Chain.

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WHEAT CHAIN

Wheat chain, not to be confused with barleycorn chain, is an intricate symmetrical form of rope chain made from small figure of eight links which give it an almost square, plaited profile which puts you in mind of Harvest Festivals! It is typically made from four strands of oval and twisted oval links. This jewellery making chain is also known as espiga chain and spiga chain. The name derives from the Spanish word espiga meaning wheat.

Jewellery Chain Glossary - Wheat Chain

An illustration showing a length of intricate Wheat Chain.

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Free Jewellery Chain Glossary – PDF Download

Free Jewellery Chain Glossary PDF


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