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 chain for your designs. The goal is to choose a chain that complements your design and has the strength to support the weight of your pendant and other design elements.
First, determine what type of precious metal chain you will be using such sterling silver chain, yellow gold chain, white gold chain, rose gold chain, and Argentium® chain. You may also decide to use gold-filled, silver-filled, vermeil and gold plated silver, or base metal chain. Popular chain styles include box chain, cable chain, curb chain, diamond cut chain, rolo chain, figaro chain and long and short chain—and that's just to name a few. Then, plan how long the chain should be for the piece to hang correctly, and how much weight needs to be supported. It helps to know the units that chain is sold in—finished lengths, pre-cut lengths without a clasp, by the inch, by the foot or bulk spools. With Rio Grande's cut-to-order service, we well chain for jewelry makers in the lengths most advantageous to your work. Once you establish the length of your jewelry chain, you will need to consider the gauge of chain needed to support your design. Familiarize yourself with the Guide to Jewelry Chain by Rio Grande which has images and descriptions and is a great reference when sourcing chain.
Its very important that you have a clear understanding of the jewelry chain characteristics of the metal type you’re working with and how it pertains to the demographic of your customer base. For example, some precious metal chains like sterling silver chain will oxidize in humid weather. Many chains are available with protective coatings like rhodium, palladium and fine silver to reduce tarnish. Base metal chains like copper chain are raw and will patina naturally over time; to maintain it's desired color, it's recommended to use a lacquer.