If you’re making necklaces, bracelets, anklets—even earrings—with chain, you know how crucial it is to have plenty of this versatile material in stock. There are many things to consider when selecting the right jewelry chain for your designs. This quick reference will help you understand the language of chain, including how to:
Chain for jewelry comes in a large variety of widths and chain styles. When you are choosing a chain for your design, select a chain that complements your desired look while offering the strength to support the weight of your pendant and other design elements. The list below presents many of the chain styles available and explains the unique characteristics of each type.
The width of chain for jewelry is measured from the outside of the widest link on the chain. When choosing how wide you want the chain to be, consider the overall size of your pendant or the design you are creating. Pick a chain width and thickness that accommodates a suitably sized bail or jump rings.
If you’re buying finished jewelry chain, ensure that the end ring will fit through your bail or plan how you will attach your design to the chain. When determining your finished length, this photo of the standard lengths (shown on figure) may help.
Determining Chain Width
Determining Chain Lengths
The metal type of the chain you select plays a crucial role in the design and look of your jewelry—not only for its appearance but also for the value, durability and any maintenance required to keep the jewelry shining like new. This list describes the characteristics of the most common metal types and finishes.
Before purchasing your chain, you should consider what units the chain is sold in. Each unit that jewelry chain is available in has its advantages depending on the type of work you are doing.
Ordering jewelry chain by the foot (sterling silver, Argentium® Silver, and gold-filled) or by the inch (gold) makes it easy for you to get custom lengths. You can buy only the amount you need for your design or you can choose to add up what you’ll need over a period of time and purchase at the best price break.
Bulk spools (silver, gold-filled and base metals) are available in 10, 20, 50 or 250-ft. lengths. When available in the chain style and width you’re looking for, Spooled chain is an economical choice and ensures that you have whatever length you need on hand when you need it. Also keep in mind that, with bulk chain, you’ll need to select a clasp and plan for the work steps necessary to attach it to your chain. This allows you to customize each piece with the right clasp style for your design.
Most precious metal chain for jewelry has links that are soldered together. This strengthens the chain by closing the links so that gaps won't form and cause the chain to break. Some chain cannot be easily soldered and therefore the links are left open. Unsoldered chains should be used with care and you must make sure links are substantial enough to handle typical wear and pendant weight without stretching.
Feel free to contact us with your questions about chain for jewelry. We're happy to answer any questions you may have regarding chain or any other jewelry project you are working on. Give us a call at 800-545-6566 and talk to one of our experts.