A Jeweller’s Guide To Choosing a Chain

October 10, 2023

Whether you’re buying for yourself or as a gift for someone special, choosing the right chain can make or break your purchase. While there’s no right or wrong, the best chain for women or men is the one that complements their personal style. As Sheffield jewellers, the experts at Michael Spencer Jewellers have put together this guide to help choosing a chain that is sure to please. 

Setting Your Budget

As with all jewellery purchases, defining a budget from the outset is often a wise choice. If you don’t have a budget in mind – lucky you! You’ll have even more options to choose from. One of the most notable discrepancies to price when buying a chain is handmade vs machine made. 

Handmade chains, often more unique and intricate, showcase the skill and creativity of the jeweller. Machine-made chains, on the other hand, are more uniform in appearance and often more affordable. Again, there’s nor right or wrong – but you’ll need to factor which you prefer when considering your budget.

How Do You Plan to Wear Your Chain?

When looking at gold chain options, first consider how often you plan to wear it. If you’re looking for an everyday piece, durability and comfort are key. Chains that lay flat against the skin, like box or wheat chains, are excellent for frequent wear due to their sturdy construction. For occasional wear, you might opt for something more delicate or ornate. 

Another crucial aspect is whether you’ll be hanging a pendant. If so, choose a chain that is strong enough to support its weight. A snake or curb chain can be a perfect choice, offering both strength and a smooth surface that complements most pendants.

Chain Varieties

The next exciting decision when choosing a chain is what chain variety you’re looking for. It’s worth noting that certain styles tend to be more popular among men or women, though personal preference always prevails. Generally, men might gravitate towards bolder, heavier chains that make a statement, while women often prefer more delicate, intricate designs. However, the beauty of jewellery lies in its versatility and the personal statement it allows one to make. 

Below, we’ve listed some popular chain varieties, categorised by their popularity:

Best Chains for Women:

Belcher Chain: Timeless round links; elegant yet robust and versatile.

Singapore Chain: Known for its twisting design that catches the light.

Box Chain: Simple yet elegant, perfect for smaller pendants.

Snake Chain: Smooth and sleek, offering a modern look.

Bead Chain: Delicate beads strung together, versatile for various pendants.

Best Chains for Guys:

Curb Chain: A classic, featuring interlocking, uniform links.

Figaro Chain: Alternating pattern of links, offering a distinctive look.

Anchor Chain: Nautical inspired, robust and masculine.

Rope Chain: Twisted pattern, symbolising strength and durability.

Wheat Chain: Intricate, braided design, combining elegance and sturdiness.

It’s important to remember that chain selection is highly personal, and these gender preferences are merely trends rather than rules. At Michael Spencer Jewellers, we celebrate the individuality of each customer, offering a wide range of chain styles suitable for everyone’s unique taste and style.

Fine vs Solid Chain Necklaces

Within each variety of chain, you’ll often also have the choice between a fine and solid style. The choice is largely dependent on durability, intended use and your personal aesthetic. 

Fine chains are elegant and subtle, perfect for a minimalist look or for wearing smaller pendants. However, if you’re seeking something more robust, especially for daily wear or larger pendants, solid chains are the way to go. 

Think About the Length

The length of your chain plays another key role in its style and wearability. Chains are usually measured in inches and multiples of two. Popular lengths range from 16 inches (ideal for a choker style) to over 24 inches (which sit lower on the chest). 

Customers often ask “what size chain should I get?” and ideally, we recommend trying a few options to see what looks and feels right for you. The length, style and weight of the chain will all impact each other. For example, a 24” fine chain may feel too likely to snag throughout the day, while for some, a 16” solid chain may feel restrictive. 

As you can see, choosing the perfect chain involves taking a wide range of factors into account. At Michael Spencer Jewellers, we keep a large selection of chains in stock, allowing you to find the best chain for you through trial and error. 

Pop in and see us, we’d love to help you find your new favourite chain.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Ensure My Chain Lasts Longer?

You can prolong the life of your chain with regular care and maintenance. Avoid exposing it to harsh chemicals and remove it during strenuous activities to prevent damage. For professional cleaning and maintenance, our skilled team at Michael Spencer Jewellers is always at your service.

What is the Best Chain to Wear Daily?

For a chain that stands up to daily wear, we suggest opting for 14k or 18k solid gold, which strikes the perfect balance between durability and elegance. The alloy used in 14k gold is notably resilient, making it ideal for everyday wear without compromising on style.

What is the Most Popular Chain Style?

The most popular chain style tends to vary based on personal preference and current trends. However, classic designs like the Curb and Box chains consistently remain favourites due to their timeless appeal and versatility. They are suitable for a variety of occasions, making them a staple in any jewellery collection.

How Do I Choose a Chain for a Pendant?

When selecting a chain for a pendant, consider both the weight and style of the pendant. A sturdier chain, such as a box or wheat chain, is ideal for heavier pendants, ensuring security and balance. The style of the chain should also complement the pendant – for intricate pendants, a simple chain design works best, allowing the pendant to be the focal point.

Can I Mix Different Metals in a Chain?

Absolutely! Mixing metals can add a contemporary and unique touch to your look. Combining, for instance, a classic gold chain with a modern silver pendant can create a striking contrast and add depth to your ensemble. It’s a wonderful way to express your individual style and keep your jewellery collection versatile.

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