jewellery glossary: chains

There are so many different types of chain out there, it can be hard to know which is which. Our illustrated guide will help you tell your foxtail from your figaro chain.

Use our index to jump straight to the chain style you’re looking for.

Belcher Chain | Bead Chain | Beading Chain | Box Chain | Cable Chain | Curb Chain | Figaro Chain | Foxtail Chain | Prince of Wales Chain | Round Link Chain | Rope ChainTennis Bracelet | Snake Chain | Trace Chain

Diamond Cut Chains | Anodised Chains | Dapped Chains | Hammered Chains


Belcher or Rolo chain

Made up of oval interlocking links turned 180 degrees.

Like this? View this belcher bracelet here.



Bead or ball chain

These are solid chains made up of a series of round beads at fixed distances separated by wire connectors.



Beading chain

A very fine chain made of tubular links which can be used to string beads.



Box chain

These have wide, square links. They are often used with pendants.

View this box chain here



Cable chain

A simple chain made up of connecting oval links.

Also available in sterling silver here.



Curb chain

A chain made up of interlocking oval links which lie flat. These can be fine or quite chunky. Diamond cut curb chains reflect the light beautifully. Parallel curb chains feature connecting pairs of links.

Get this curb chain charm bracelet here



Fancy or fantasy chain

These involve unusual shapes such as hearts or stars which interlock to form a chain.



Figaro chain

A flat chain with a repeating pattern of smaller and larger links, often three small ones followed by a larger link.

See here for another example of a figaro chain



Foxtail chain

A foxtail chain is a loop chain with two rows of angled oval links connected by a series of flat rings running through the centre of the chain. The two rows of links face each other at a 45 degree angle, creating a braided or woven effect.



Prince of Wales chain

A Prince of Wales chain is made up of small circular links, with each link connected to at least four other links. It has a twisted chain or rope appearance and is extremely strong.



Round link chain

A simple chain made up of connecting round links.



Rope chain

Small links are fixed close together and the whole chain is twisted, resembling a rope. View this rope chain here



Tennis bracelet/necklace

A flexible row of diamonds or CZ crystals. The name tennis bracelet was given after tennis player Chris Evert wore one in the US Open in 1987. The clasp broke and she requested for play to be stopped while she retrieved the bracelet. The style of bracelet has been known as a tennis bracelet (and necklace) ever since. We also like the gold version here!



Snake chain

Made up of rings fitting closely together, resembling a snakeskin-textured rope.



Trace chain

A fine and delicate chain that usually has links of uniform breadth and thickness, often with oval shaped links. This unicorn trace chain is a favourite!




Chain finishes:



Diamond cut

Any chain cut with sharp edges and flat surfaces, these chains catch the light like diamonds.




Any chain finished with a protective coating applied using electrolysis to guard against corrosion.




Dapping is when the chain links are struck with a hammer to curve them more, adding a textural element.




When the cold metal is hammered to create a textured effect.