Chains for jewelry making come in many different styles. While you can easily make your own chain, the process can be time-consuming. It's often easier to purchase a prefabricated chain to use in your jewelry designs. Buying chain in bulk saves time and expense and can give you many more choices in styles. Local bead shops often carry a limited selection of types, finishes, and styles but you can find many sources online.
Chains come in different types and styles and the name of the type or style depends on the number and shape of the links used to make the chain pattern. They have names such as rolo (made of thick, round links) and figaro (made of one long and three short links). It is important to become familiar with the different types of chains as you consider which will best suit your design.
- You can choose a round cable chain, oval cable chain, and flat cable chain. A cable chain, also known as link chain, is made up of round or oval links of the same size. This style can usually be found in a simple necklace with a pendant or a charm. This chain works well with small to medium-size pendants.
- Bead or ball chain includes round metal beads fixed along the length of it, with a small distance between each bead. The bead or ball chain needs a special connector. Each end of a connector goes over and around a ball at the end of the ball or bead chain and snaps over its wire connection to secure it. These can be used to connect two lengths of chain or to connect the ends of the same chain to form a loop.
- The figaro chain incorporates a pattern of two or three small circular links with one elongated oval link.
- The links of a rolo chain are usually identical and often round. These links join in a simple alternating sequence, making this chain simple yet durable.
- Snake chain may also be called Brazilian chain. The tight-linked snake chain has a round or square cross-section and links that create a slight zigzag look joined together forming a flexible chain. It looks like a smooth snakeskin, hence its name.