If you’re buying a necklace, you’ve come to the right place.
Every few days we see someone wandering around the store with a befuddled look in their eyes and we immediately know what’s happening. This wonderful person will have popped in to buy a necklace or chain for their loved one and become completely overwhelmed with the fabulous range we have on offer. Of course, while they’re in store, our brilliant customer service team will look after them and guide them to making the best choice. But sometimes you just want to browse for a necklace or chain online.
That’s why we’ve decided to tell you everything you need to know about necklaces and chains. We’ll answer some of the most common questions we get asked about these gorgeous pieces of jewellery. After reading this, there’s nothing you won’t know about necklaces and chains!
What’s the difference between a necklace, necklet, chain and a pendant?
Great question! Throughout this post we will call them necklace chains to cover all bases, but there are some differences between each of these gorgeous neck adornments. Some are simple distinctions, and some are more open to interpretation. Read on to discover more!
What is a necklace?
‘Necklace’ is the name for a piece of jewellery that hangs round the neck and is usually of a similar design the whole way round. It can vary in length from a short 40cm “Choker Style” necklace to a longer necklace around 70 to 80cm and a whole lot of sizes in-between. Necklaces often feature tokens or gemstones which is how they differ from chains.
How is a necklet different?
A necklet often has a feature pendant in the centre which is fastened to the necklace chain. We refer to this piece of jewellery as a ‘necklet’ to indicate that the chain comes attached.
What’s a chain?
Most of us think of a chain as a necklace that’s made up of links. Chains can be very fine or quite thick, depending on the style you prefer. They’re usually made from silver, gold or stainless steel. Chains have a classic look that doesn’t need much decoration, but you can choose to hang a pendant from them. Right now, it’s really trendy to wear lots of chains layered together. Combine them with a pendant and a necklet too for a truly unique look.
Like necklaces, chains come in a variety of lengths and styles – from a snake chain (that resembles a snake), a curb chain (flat links that join together tightly), a trace chain (that have fine links that resemble a paper chain) to a rope chain (that looks like a rope). We’ll discuss each of these in more detail below.
OK, back up, what’s a pendant?
A pendant is a small piece of jewellery that can be attached to a necklace or a chain with a loop or bail. The pendant hangs from the chain and can usually be removed to allow you to wear it on different lengths chains. Pendants are often made in silver or gold and come with or without gemstones. In most cases you will need to purchase a chain for the pendant separately.
Choosing a metal for your necklace chain
There’s no doubt that the most popular metal types for necklace chains and pendants are silver and gold. Both are very durable metals that won’t tarnish easily and since they’re a malleable metal, they can be shaped into lots of different designs and chain styles.
Plus, you can get both in a variety of gorgeous colours. Here’s an example of a beautiful silver necklace and here’s a rose-tone sterling silver chain. You can view our full range of silver necklace & chains right here.
Our gold necklace chains offer even more variety. You can choose from white gold necklaces, yellow gold necklace chains, or the romantic rose gold necklace chains and pendants.
But if you’re still a little overwhelmed, let’s narrow your choices down a little further.
What type of gold necklace chain is best?
There’s no doubt that solid gold chains are worth every cent as they’re so durable and look amazing. You can also find gold plated chains and gold-bonded chains which are a great, budget-friendly option. Then there are some chunky necklace chains that are hollow on the inside. These may look good on the outside, but because they’re hollow, they’re not going to withstand as many of the rigours of day-to-day wear. Of course, choosing the type of metal you prefer for your necklace chain is just the first step. Now you need to consider what style of chain you prefer.
How do I choose the best length of necklace chain?
Choosing which length of necklace to wear is entirely a personal choice. Starting with the shortest of the necklaces is the choker, which is usually worn high up on the neck and close to the skin. A choker measures 40cms or 16 inches.
After that, the measurement of necklace chains continues to increase by approximately 5cms. The longest length usually measures 75cms or 30 inches.
Everything you need to know about necklace chain styles
This is the really fun bit! Choosing a style that you like or mixing and matching different styles for a look that’s unique to you. We’ll talk about each style below.
Curb A Curb necklace chain has its links twisted in such a way that they lock together and lie flat. It’s named curb after the strap that passes underneath the jaw of a horse to connect the bit. Here are some of our favourite Curb necklaces.
Click here to view Hosking’s full range of Curb necklace chains
Belcher The Belcher got its name from a bare-knuckle champion boxer called Jem Belcher. Presumably to testify to its strength! It’s also known as a ‘Rolo’ which is Italian for round.
Click here to view Hosking’s full range of Belcher necklace chains
Omega Here’s something I bet you didn’t know about necklace chains...the Omega chain isn’t officially a chain at all, but it’s so divine we don’t care! It’s made with a core of wire or woven mesh and then covered with small metal plates for a wonderful satiny look. Because of the way they’re made, Omega necklaces are heavier than other chain designs but can kink more easily, so they’re best worn as a special occasion chain.
Click here to view Hosking’s full range of Omega necklace chains
Figaro The Figaro necklace chain is named after the Italian opera ‘The Marriage of Figaro’. Its delightful pattern makes the Figaro one of our most popular necklace chains to be worn alone, although it can be used as a pendant chain too.
Click here to view Hosking’s full range of Figaro necklace chains
Rope Even if you think you don’t know about necklace chains, I bet you’ll know what these sumptuous necklace chains are called? A rope chain of course! They’re made with links that are woven together to form a stunning chain that resembles a rope.
Click here to view Hosking’s full range of Rope necklace chains
Singapore The Singapore chain looks a little as though a curb chain and a rope chain had a baby! With a gorgeous, twisted look that’s lovely and sparkly. The Singapore necklace chain is a great choice for pendants or to wear as an anklet or bracelet.
Click here to view Hosking’s full range of Singapore necklace chains
Box ln some circles a Box chain is also known as a ‘Cube’ chain, ‘Square Link’, ‘Briolette’ or ‘Venetian’ chain. Those circles are usually made of people like us who geek out about everything there is to know about necklace chains! But it’s fair to say that Hoskings’ Clients are also pretty amazing at spotting a gorgeous necklace chain, because our Box necklace chains are some of the most popular in store! Here are some of our favourites.
Click here to view Hosking’s full range of Box necklace chains
Ball Ball necklace chains are another super-popular style. And they’ve come a long way from their association with the “dog tags” worn by the military. You’ll find elegant thin ball necklace chains, double ball chains and mixed chains on the same necklace, like this gorgeous necklet.
Click here to view Hosking’s full range of Ball necklace chains
Cable Cable chains are one of the most adaptable necklace chains due to their simple linking style. They’re also very sturdy despite their sometimes-delicate appearance. That’s why you’ll find them in all metal types and holding the most precious of jewels.
Click here to view Hosking’s full range of cable necklace chains
Snake At first glance, many people confuse the lush Snake necklace chains with the Omega chains. But they’re quite different. Unlike the flat plates of the Omega chain, Snake chains are usuallly made of wavy plates that are joined to each other and not the wire or mesh inside the chain. They’re still very smooth and are great for a sliding pendant.
Click here to view Hosking’s full range of Snake necklace chains
Wheat Named because of the intricate figure-of-eight interlocking chain that resembles the tips of wheat stalks, the wheat chain is simply stunning! Not only does it look expertly crafted by nature, it’s also very strong and durable, so it’s a perfect choice for a pendant. Here are a couple of wheat chains that we’re proud to stock in Hoskings Jewellers.
Click here to view Hosking’s full range of Wheat necklace chains
Frequently asked questions about necklace chains
OK, now that you know your Cables from your Figaros, you’ll already have learned almost everything you need to know about necklace chains. But let’s delve a little deeper into how we can care for these gorgeous pieces of jewellery to keep them looking their very best.
Which necklace chain is best for everyday wear?
Great question! We’ve already hinted that some of these chains can be more delicate than others, so it’s important to consider which type of necklace chain is the best for everyday wear.
Ideally, you’ll want the strongest necklace chain, so for everyday wear we recommend the ever-popular Cable, Curb and the Figaro chains. Each of these have interlocking links that won’t kink and break very easily.
Also, the more solid the chain, the less fragile it will usually be, so a chunky look is great for everyday wear. This sterling silver Figaro chain is a great example.
What type of necklace chain is best for pendants?
A necklace that has a feature hanging from it, like a gemstone or decorative piece is called a pendant. Almost all chains can be adapted to be worn with pendants, but there are a few that have the strength and simplicity to really showcase the pendant perfectly. We especially love the Cable, Curb and Belcher chains for pendant necklaces. Case in point, this simple Belcher chain on this Thomas Sabo ‘Magic Stones’ necklace allows the beautiful coloured stones to shine and bask in all the glory!
How to clean a gold chain
We’ve written a blog post about how to clean and maintain gold jewellery before. You’ll find it right here. And while we’re on the subject, this blog post explains how to clean silver jewellery. But there are some questions that people ask specifically about caring for gold chains that we’ll cover here.
Can I wear my gold chain in the shower?
Although gold jewellery is very durable and tarnish resistant, we recommend you take your gold necklace chain off before you shower. That’s because the products you use in the shower might cause the gold to look dull. And showering with gold plated jewellery is a big no-no! Trust us on this one!
Is it OK to wear my gold necklace chain in the pool or at the beach?
Nup. It’s really not! The chemicals in the pool might discolour your gold necklace chain. And if you’re wearing a gemstone pendant like this beautiful pearl and diamond pendant, it could really damage the gemstones too.
There’s a couple of reasons we recommend that you don’t wear your gold necklace chains to the beach. Firstly, the abrasive sand at the beach can erode the finish of your jewellery over time and secondly, we know way too many people who’ve lost their precious chains in the waves, or even just the sand, and have never been able to find them again. And nothing ruins a perfect day at the beach more than that!
Can I wear my gold necklace chain while I’m sleeping?
Again, in order to keep your gold chain looking its absolute best for as long as possible, we’d prefer if you took it off before going to bed each night. We have a wonderful collection of jewellery boxes that look good enough to sit on your bedside table, so that you can place it there safely every night. Doing so means it’s less likely to kink and get damaged and it’s also less likely to get tangled in your hair.
Now that we’ve shared everything you need to know about necklace chains, we hope we’ve made choosing the perfect chain easier for you. If you would like some personalised help, please pop in store where one of our customer service team members will be delighted to look after you.
Alternatively, feel free to call our customer service team on these numbers: for VIC/ NSW/ QLD & TAS here 1800 819 796. Or call (08) 8981 8895 if you’re in NT/WA or SA.
Written by Niamh Hislop
Photo by Kate Hliznitsova on Unsplash