Popular Types of Bulk Jewelry Chain — A Glossary
Find definitions and illustrations of the most popular jewelry chain types being used today by everyone from hobby crafters to professional jewelry makers. This illustrated guide will help you choose the best types of chain for your jewelry making and DIY projects.
Ball Chain - Unlike most types of chain, ball chain does not contain any open links. Instead it's made of metal spheres (balls) that are linked at regular intervals with connector bars. Ball chain is a trendy option for making simple custom necklaces that display personalized charms (like letter charms and symbol charms to express who you are). Ball chain clasps are long, hollow tubes with a large slot in the side for snapping in the final ball on the chain. Ball chain is also known as bead chain.
Beading Chain - Made from tiny, tightly fitted links, beading chain is thin enough to slide through bead holes as small as 1mm. Often the links are rectangular, which helps creates a smooth surface for pulling through bead holes. Beading chain can be crimped, which means you can add beads in attractive patterns that expose segments of the chain. The fact that beading chain is crimpable means that you can finish beading chain with crimp cord ends too!
Cable Chain - The most common type of jewelry chain, cable chain maintains an identical pattern for its entire length, giving it a classic and very versatile look! It is made from either round or oval links of the same size that are uniformly interlocked. Cable chain isn't just used in the jewelry industry. Large varieties get so big they're used on ships! Cable jewelry chain varies from delicate 1.4mm links to chunky 10mm links and larger. Links can be basic, hammered, or otherwise textured, providing several styles within this one chain type. Long oval cable chain is normally called "drawn cable chain" because it is pulled through a draw plate to elongate the links. Due to the resulting shape, drawn cable chain is sometimes also called paperclip chain, or simply "clip chain".
Curb Chain - Similar to cable chain, curb chain is typically made from a series of identical links. The difference is that curb chain links are twisted or diamond cut so that they nestle against each other. This allows the entire length of chain to lay flat against the body. As with cable chain, curb chain comes in a great variety of sizes from dainty to big and blingy! It also allows for stylistic varieties including rope-textured links, hammered links, and more.
Figaro Chain - This popular style of long-and-short chain displays a pattern of three short (round) links followed by one long (oval) link. Long-and-short chain is any chain with a pattern that alternates short links with long links. With figaro chain, the three short links generally equal (or nearly equal) the length of the long link in the pattern. Similar to curb chain, the figaro chain links are twisted or diamond cut so that the entire pattern lays flat. The result is sophisticated and elegant!
Rolo Chain - The links in rolo chain can be round or oval, but they always alternate creating a very 3-D effect. The chain links are made from flat or half-round wire, which makes them flatter and wider than regular wire links. As a result, this chain offers a heavier, more substantial appearance than many types of jewelry chain. Also known as belcher chain and rollo chain, it comes in several sizes, from petite "baby rolo chain" up to 11mm wide chain that makes a statement!
Shop over 400 jewelry chain options right here in sterling silver, karat gold fill, white plated (imitation rhodium), silver plated, gold plated, copper, brass, and black (gunmetal)! You'll find the popular types of chain defined above, plus, beaded chain, rhinestone chain (cup chain), popular purse chain styles, charm chain, and more! Chain supplies include ball chain connectors and clasps, plus rhinestone chain ends.