Necklace Link Types

Written by jill lee
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Necklace Link Types
A Figaro chain (chain image by saied shahinkiya from

Necklace chains come in a variety of types with different links to make them stronger or more aesthetically appealing. When selecting a necklace, it is important to consider the link type among other factors, such as material and weight, to determine which chain best suits your needs.

Rope Links

Rope-style necklaces are sturdy chains suitable for heavy pendants and everyday wear. Rope links are woven together with no space between the links to make the chain stronger. Rope links typically appear twisted and reflect light because of their tendency to roll back and forth along the neck and chest. Necklaces made with rope links come in many different thicknesses and strengths.

Box Links

Necklaces made with box links are typically lightweight. Box links are small square links that latch together to form a chain with little-to-no space between the links. As with other types of necklaces, box chains come in many different thicknesses to accommodate different needs. While a thin box-chain necklace may be appropriate for wearing on its own, thicker chains are necessary for heavy charms and pendants. Box chains reflect light because of the flat surface of the link, which often makes the metal appear brighter than it would on a different type of necklace link.

Oval and Circular Links

Oval and circular links are available in different sizes and thicknesses, from so small the links appear to be one piece of metal, to large loops that expose the skin beneath them when worn. Necklace chains that use oval and circular links go by a variety of names, depending on the shape of the link and how they are connected. Cable chains are comprised of small round links that are all the same size. "Figaro" chains alternate oval and circular links in a pattern, often one long oval followed by three small circular links. A "mariner" chain uses oval links with a flat bar dividing each oval in two halves for aesthetic reasons and to make the links stronger.

Flat Links

Flat necklaces use flat links that are either slightly slanted in a diagonal direction or curved into an S shape. One of the most popular flat chains is the herringbone, which is made of flat, slanted links in several rows with each row slanting in the opposite direction of the row above it. Other flat chains include the "omega" chain, comprised of rectangular links crimped over a thin piece of metal and the serpentine chain made up of flat, curved links placed side by side with no open space between them. Flat necklaces reflect light very well and do not move much, but they kink more easily than other link types.

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