Jewellery Chain is made in many shapes, sizes and styles. This post will introduce many of the most popular chain styles on the market as well as some common variations. 

Please remember when choosing your ideal chain, that chains with a curb link height under 1mm may be more fragile than those with larger links depending on their design.

Belcher and Rolo Chain

Belcher and Rolo

Belchers are chains that are made from uniform round or oval links made from Low dome or flat wire. Rolo (Rollo sometimes) chains are made from half round wire. The resulting chain is heavier than cable and looks like it has been assembled from strips of metal instead of wires. 

Box Chain


A typical box chain is made up of folded over flat, square links. They interlink tightly resembling a smooth, square box. 

Half Round Box Chain

Half Round Box

The half round box chain has slightly rounded links instead of flat, square ones.

Round Box Chain

Round Box

This box chain has links that are round. 

Cable Chain

Trace or Cable

Cable chains (also known as Trace chains) consist of uniform round or oval links of wire that are connected to form a chain. Cables are the most simple and commonly used jewelry chain. Cables are frequently altered by flattening the links, texturing the metal surface or drawing/elongating the links. Double cables use two links side by side for each chain link position.  Flat cable chains have the links hammered flat, instead of being of round wire. 

Figure 8 Chain

Figure 8

This starts out as a cable chain but then the alternating links are twisted or “curbed” into a figure-8 or infinity shape. 

Double Link Chain

Double Link

Cables with separate double links in each position instead of a single round wire link. 

Curb Chain


Curb chains are oval cables where each chain link has been twisted or “curbed” so the entire chain length lies flat against the body. Look for variations of the curb chain such as twisted and marquise styles too. 

Parallel or Double Cub Chain

Parallel or Double Curb

A common variation of the curb chain is the parallel curb where two links side by side are used in each link position. 

Fancy Wire Link Chain

Fancy Wire Link

Many fancy variations are possible by machining differently shaped link components. These styles are called “fancy” or “fantasy” variations of cables. These chains may use heart, infinity, flower or other shaped machine-made links instead of rounds or ovals. 

Fancy Sheet Link Chain

Fancy Sheet Link

These chains are hand or machine made by assembling stamped sheet links in shapes such as flowers, petals or geometrics. These stampings may have additional variation effects such as textures or curbing. 

Foxtail Chain


The foxtail chain is made with a woven v-shaped pattern of wire. You can make loose foxtail chain or tightly woven ones as shown above. This chain looks similar to spiga or wheat chain, but the construction is different. 

Popcorn or Korean Style Chain

Popcorn or Korean Style

This is a bendable, fairly dainty chain made up of lightweight, hollow, interconnected links that are machine made and assembled. 

Ladder Chain


Ladder chains are machine made by assembling wire links in a hook and eye configuration instead of standard interlinking. 

Link and Connector Chain

Link and Connector

A pattern of alternating round or oval wire links connected by straps of flat, wide strip. Link & connector styles are usually larger, fashion chains. 

Long and Short Chain

Long and Short

As the name suggests this is a broad category of chain styles consisting of links of differing lengths to create an appealing design. Long & short styles are usually a short, repeating pattern of links with a fairly uniform width but differing lengths. 

Figaro Chain


A popular variation of the long & short, figaros are patterns of three short links followed by one long link nearly equal to the length of the three short lengths. Figaros are usually made from thicker gauge wire than many other chains so they are heavier weight styles.  The links are curbed. 

Margarita Chain


The sparkly, constantly changing look on a margarita chain is created by using a diamond cut, twisted curb or a cable chain. 

Marine or Anchor Chain

Marine or Anchor

Marine chain is manufactured using round wire that then goes through complex, multi-step machining to create large oval links, cut bar segments, insert and then solder the bars in the center of each large oval link. Finally, the chain is flattened or hammered. 

Rombo Chain


Rombo link styles are “fancy” or “fantasy” variations of cables. These chains typically use diamond or “rombo” shaped, machine-made links instead of rounds or ovals. 

Rope Chain


A braided rope assembly of open wire links so named because the braiding is similar to that used to create fiber ropes or twine. 

French Rope Chain

French Rope

A variation on the rope chain that creates a spiraling effect in the finished braid. This chain is not made in France. Rumor has it that the tool & die maker who invented the braid had the last name, French. Not sure if that is just industry lore or the actual truth. 

Spiga or Wheat Chain

Spiga or Wheat

Another common variation of the rope style, wheat (or spiga in Italian) chains exhibit a wheat-like v-pattern of links when viewed from the side. Wheat links are typically thicker than the fine links used in standard ropes or French ropes. 

Singapore Chain


A twisted, lightweight rope chain variation. 

Saturn or Satellite Chain

Saturn, Satellite, Rosary

A Saturn chain is made using standard links with equally spaced accent beads along the chain. The accent beads and links can vary, so there is a variety of these chain styles available. 

Ball or Bead Chain

Ball or Bead

A ball in socket assembly of spherical metal beads and wire connectors that when joined create a flexible length of bead chain. 

Bar Chain


As the name suggests, bar chains are made from bar-shaped links connected by small oval jump ring connectors. Bars can be straight, curved or even shaped like chevrons, marquise… etc. 

Scalloped Chain


Resembling a scallop., these links are curved and separated by smaller chain links. 

Herringbone Chain


A flat chain made from double cable that has been “swaged” or drawn through a flat condensing die. The resulting chain is smooth and solid in appearance with a mirror surface. Herringbones are not flexible and can easily kink. 

Mesh Chain



This flexible chain is woven tightly together using very fine wire. 

Omega Chain


A stiff, solid chain made from metal sheet strip spiraled around a box chain core, omegas are known to hold their collar shape. Omegas are solid and shiny in appearance with no open links. Omegas can kink if not properly handled. 

Sequin Chain


This chain style is made up of larger round or elongated blanks separated by smaller connecting links. 

S Link Chain

S Link

Similar to herringbone, this is a chain made of s-shaped links that are interconnected. S-links are slightly more flexible than herringbones but still prone to kinks. 

Snake Chain


A tubular chain made from assembled curved plates. Snake chains are highly flexible and have a solid appearance instead of open links. 

Dapped Chain


Dapping can either curve a metal link  or leave a single hammer strike mark that reflects light. Both effects can be used for design purposes. 

Diamond Cut

Diamond Cut

Chain links can be diamond cut in various patterns with precision tools. Diamond cuts create angled facets with precise edges. This alteration creates the most shiny, light catching facets possible on a metal surface. 

Drawn or Elongated Chain

Drawn or Elongated

Round or oval machine links can be stretched or “drawn” to elongate the chain. Drawing a chain can change its overall appearance and also make it narrower. 

Flattened Chain


Wire links can be flattened to create more surface area to reflect light. Flat chain links appear to be more bright and shiny. 

Hammered Chain


Hammering the surface of the links creates a multi-faceted reflective surface texture. 

Textured or Knurled Chain

Knurled or Textured

Knurling is a common texturing that gives links a hatch mark surface texture that brinks down reflectiveness and also forms an excellent foundation for oxidizing in relief. Many other surface textures can be applied ranging from simple line textures to more complicated pattern imprints. 

Twisted Chain

Twisted or Curbing

Twisting or curling links is called curbing and can vary the look of chains. Curb chain are most obviously curbed cables. However, you can twist other styles as well for added effect.