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In the Glow: Chains and How to Style Them

All about the chain types, lengths, and top styling tips. 

Whether you’re classic and minimal or “more is more” with your style, there are some jewellery styles that are must-haves; and a versatile chain necklace is a key piece.

Chains are the ultimate jewellery base-layer: adding elegance on their own to every outfit, and pairing easily with other jewellery styles. Discover the essential chain necklace styles and lengths, and our favourite ways to wear them.

What types of chains are there?

There are so many styles of chain necklaces available, you can find the perfect combination of weight, texture, and link style to suit you. Let’s start with the most popular styles:

  1. Rope chain: as the name suggests, this beautifully textured chain style features small links which are closely interwoven into the shape of a double-strand rope. With their intricate look, rope chains are perfect for wearing alone but they can also be layered up with ease.

  2. Paperclip chain: paperclip chains are similar in style to belcher chains, but they feature more elongated, rectangular links with rounded corners. Available in fine or bold weights, paperclip chains have a modern, statement edge.

  3. Box chain: box chains are formed from square-shaped links, which create a cube like appearance. With their close-set links, box chains form a smooth, square edged and almost solid surface appearance, which creates a high-shine finish.

  4. Snake and Herringbone chains: a style that originated in the 1980s, these chains are comprised of small, closely joined links that create a smooth and solid surface appearance. These stunning designs provide a high-shine look and fluid drape for a bold, modern look.

  5. Curb chain: curb chains are similar to belcher chains, in that they feature links which are usually round or oval, and uniform in size. However, the links are ‘twisted’ so that they all lie flat, with the open side of the links facing outwards, giving a bolder appearance.

  6. Singapore chain: one of the most popular and timeless chain styles, the Singapore chain has a beautifully intricate, twisted and faceted look. Usually found in finer widths, Singapore chains are perfect for adding delicate shine, or layering with additional necklaces.

  7. Belcher chain: the most classic chain style, belcher chains feature round or oval links which are uniform in size throughout the chain. These versatile chains vary from fine and delicate through to bold heavyweight styles.

  8. Figaro chain: a design originating in Italy, figaro chains are patterned styles that pair two or three smaller links in a row, followed by an elongated link, and repeated. With their unique design, figaro chains can be worn alone or added to necklace layers for a multi-dimensional look.

Hollow vs Solid Chains: As well as chain designs, there are also different types of construction: solid or hollow. Hollow chains are more typically found in gold. These pieces are carefully crafted to comprise some empty space inside the chain links, which provides a beautiful piece of gold jewellery that is more lightweight and affordable. A solid chain is the best choice for holding a pendant.

How do I choose a chain length?

Whether choosing your perfect chain for every day, or adding a new piece to your layered necklace look, you’ll want to get the length right so that it falls where you want it.

  • 45cm (18”) chains: this length will typically fall just below your collarbone, and it’s perfect as the shortest piece in a layered necklace look.

  • 50cm (20”) chains: an ideal everyday length, these tend to land at your upper chest.

  • 55cm (22") chains: for a little extra length, these versatile chains can easily be styled over the top or underneath different shirt styles.

  • 60cm (24”) chains: styles of this length or longer will give you statement length, falling to around mid-chest. If you love a multi-layered necklace look, this chain length is perfect for your longest layer.

Many of our chains feature an adjustable length, so they’re versatile for styling into your various layered looks.

How do I style chains?

Chain necklaces are classic and versatile, giving you endless styling options. For a trending look that you can make your own, try layering a few chain necklaces together. We’ve created three layered look ideas to inspire your styling.

Look 1: Fine Layers

Shop the look: 40cm hollow Singapore chain; 45cm adjustable bead necklace; 50cm box chain.

For a trending, customisable look that’s suitable for every day, layer some fine chains. Layering two or three chains will keep your look minimalist, while giving you a unique edge. For a polished look, wear each chain in the same metal colour; but mix the textures and lengths to create depth and to ensure each chain is visible.

Look 2: Bold Layers

Shop the look: 50cm graduated fob chain; 45cm snake chain; 46cm paperclip chain.

Create a statement look that takes your outfit to the next level (or perhaps forms the centrepiece for your outfit) with heavier, bold chain layers. When styling a bold chain look, it’s a great opportunity to layer a mix of unique chain types, as each texture will be clearly visible. Try pairing a chain with a solid appearance, such as a herringbone chain, with chains featuring different types of links such as paperclip, figaro, and rope chains.

For a simple way to keep your look polished, stick to the same metal colour. You can also make more of a statement with your bold layers by mixing your metals. Try layering a yellow gold or rose gold chain with sterling silver or white gold pieces.

Look 3: With a Pendant

Shop the look: 45cm hollow paperclip chain; Taurus zodiac pendant with diamonds, worn on 50cm box chain.

Add a personalised touch to your chain layers with a pendant. A pendant will anchor your layers and create a focal point, so wear it on your longest chain. This is also a great way to make your jewellery layers unique and personal, by choosing a pendant with individual meaning to you. It could be a zodiac pendant, a letter that has significance, a locket, or a symbolic design that you’re drawn to.

We recommend wearing your pendant on a solid chain, especially if it is a larger piece.

Add a versatile, must-have chain to your jewellery wardrobe. Shop chains online >

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