Different Types of Chain

Every so often it’s important to remind ourselves of the basic elements of jewelry making. We can sometimes forget simple vocabulary and make up our own words and descriptions. If you’re a beginning beader, you might also feel overwhelmed with all of the new terminology you have to learn to become part of the “beading world.” I know I sometimes am not sure how to best describe a product or idea, so I’m constantly checking my resources. With all of the different chain out there, it might be hard to know what each name means and which ones you think would work best for your designs. Below are the different types of chain commonly used in jewelry so you’ll know the difference next time you’re shopping for supplies.

Box Chain
This chain is made up of wide square-shaped links and creates a smooth appearance.

Cable Chain
Also known as a link chain, this chain is comprised of oval or round links of the same size. It’s the most common chain used.

Curb Chain
Curb chain is made of flattened round links which are all the same size.

Figaro Chain
Like the curb chain, a Figaro chain is comprised of flattened round links; however, Figaro chains display links of different sizes. It commonly features a pattern of two or three small links and then a larger link.

Infinity Link Chain
The links in this chain are shaped into the infinity symbol, or figure eight loops.

Rollo Chain
Similar to a cable chain, a rollo chain also features round or oval links with symmetrical sizes, though these are usually bulkier to hold pendants and dangles.

Rope Chain
This chain’s oval links twist and spiral to create the appearance of woven rope. Its style is popular for versatile looks.

Remember, some manufacturers may label their products differently. This is a basic guide to help you with well-known terms to get you started. You can browse all of our jewelry chains to find the one that’s best for your next design.


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  1. Reply

    Great article! I haven’t used chain yet in any of my designs because i haven’t figured out what to use yet. Your article was helpful. I was wondering if you have an idea of brands? I have no idea what is a good brand, which is another reason I haven’t tried it yet. I don’t want purchase chain to find it’s cheap or dulls, or breaks, know what I mean? So wondering if you have any recommendations on a brand to purchase. THanks again for your article. It was super helpful.

      • Marissa
      • July 20, 2011

      Hi Liss!

      I’m glad this article was helpful 🙂

      I think a lot of brands carry high-quality jewelry chains that you could work with, but you might want to start with deciding what your style is. There are lots of cool shapes, sizes and designs to choose from, as well as material and finishes. If, for example, you’re looking for a silver chain, you may prefer sterling silver chain over one made from silver-plated base metal if you like the look of precious metal. However, silver-plated pewter chain has a nice shine and is more ecomonically friendly. I would recommend viewing some of our designs from the Learning Center and find which styles you like the best. Then you can see what material we used. I hope this helps!

  2. Reply

    Thank you for sharing.
    This article is very helpful.

  3. Reply

    Very good post.
    This article is helpful and the explanations with images are perfect.
    David Star.

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