Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Primer on Jewelry Chains

So what types of Chains do I advise buying? I'm glad you asked... Wheat Chains (My absolute Favorite type of Chain), Box Chains (Medium Thickness), Anchor Links, Figaro Links, Cuban (Curb) Links, and Mariner (Marine Links - Some call these styles Gucci Links as well) Link Chains! (See Pictures below)

Notice a trend here? Most of these Great Chains to Buy are Link Chains! Why? Because Links tend to hold up the best. And since every Link is independently soldered closed, you won't have to worry about them ever Opening Up or Coming Undone. They are the Safest type of Chain to EVER own! I would recommend Link style Chains to be worn with any style of Pendant or Charm (Man or Women). You simply can't go wrong with them!
And while we're talking about the best Chain to ever buy... Let's take a look at Clasps! The Lobster Clasp (Pictured right) is the Safest and most Durable Chain Clasp there is. Not to mention the fact that Lobster Claws get soldered onto your Chain (where as the Weak, Frail, Spring Ring Clasps are not). Spring Rings get Bent, Broken, and Pulled open all the time. Plus the little Spring inside the Spring Rings seems to Wear out and Break quickly. Stick with Lobster Claw Clasps, they are the best. Plus, they are also the easiest to Clasp! Bonus!

Is this Chain Durable?

Will this Chain Bend or Kink? These are great things to know before you spend your hard earned cash on a Chain! Also note that these examples listed here apply mainly towards 10kt Gold or 14kt Gold Chains (Which are the most common on the market anyway). Silver is also quite popular, but Silver is much softer than Gold , will Bend, Break, Stretch, Fall apart faster, and will even Tarnish as well! (Plus it leaves a black stain on your neck! Not cool!) If you want a nice Chain that won't give you problems, skip Silver and go for White Gold or Yellow Gold. You won't regret it!

Other alternative Metals would be: Stainless Steel or Titanium! (See Picture) 

Stainless Steel Chains and Titanium Chains are great Chains to own (especially for Men). The Metals are extremely Rugged, Durable, Masculine and will last a lifetime. You can't beat that! And I say, if a Chain lasts that long... That's a great Chain to buy! 


Do Chains Wear Out? Certainly! Chains are just like everything else in life. They Wear Down, Get Old, Erode, Weaken, Break, Bend, Kink and Stretch! And you can't blame them either... We wear our Chains every single day! What else could you wear daily and not have wear out as quickly? Nothing! Different types of Chains and Metals do different types of things when they Wear Down as well... For example: The Rope Chain. (See Picture)

Rope Chains are great Chains to own! They Sparkle and Shine (some have Diamond Cuts) and for the most part are pretty Durable and will last you a lifetime. But, as you wear them, Rope Chains will slowly Stretch and Lengthen. Normally this doesn't affect the Chain much, and most people don't even notice it. With a Rope Chain, the thicker the Rope, the better. I've owned a Rope Chain for over 20 years and it still looks brand new! Smaller Rope Chains do wear down though. They wear down by Unraveling. Pieces of the Chain actually come undone and stick out from the rest of the Chain. You'll notice this because the Chain will start snagging your clothing and sweaters, or it will feel rough and scratch your skin. No matter, Rope Chains are an easy fix. Jewelers usually just tuck the jagged piece back into the Rope (intertwine it), or they just add a drop of Solder onto the spot to keep it from breaking. Rope Chains come highly recommended! And then we have Box Chains! Box Chains are one of the most popular Chains there are! (See Picture)

Box Chains are great for holding Pendants and Charms (they come to a nice V on the neck). But, they are only great... If they are thick enough! Jewelers sell Box Chains in different thicknesses. The best is a Medium Thickness (around .8mm or bigger) for Durability and Longevity. Thin Box Chains (around .5mm or less) seem to Pull, Stretch and Snap easy! The interesting thing about Box Chains is that they stretch more than any other type of Chain (because of the way they're made). A 20" Chain in a couple of years could end up being 30". (Gold being very malleable can stretch quite a distance!) When Box Chains get stretched (which is caused by hanging heavy Pendants off the Chain, or things getting caught on the Chain and Pulling on it, or having your Kids or Grand Kids grab the Chain and Tug) they tend to get really Thin and Stiff (Not Flexible - It loses its Elasticity). When Box Chains get this Weak and Frail they tend to Snap in half. Once a Box Chain get Stretched and Thin, there is no way to Fix it... It's time for a new Chain! What are the Worst Chains to buy? Omega Chains, Snake Chains, and Herringbone Chains! These are not great Chains! (See Pictures below)

Flat Chains like these (or ones that don't have a good bending point), will Kink, Bend and Pull apart! Pieces of the Chain will Bend up and Break off and then there's not much hope for them. Soldering them just makes the Solder Joint stand out and look Globby. And even if they do Solder it back together again, the Solder Mark will harm the surrounding areas and make them Weaker. Plus, once Flat Chains like this Kink, they will always Kink. Jewelers can Roll or Flatten the Kinks out, but those areas will always be noticeable and end up being Weaker and Kink again. Not good! Usually the best advice is to cut the Chain down into a smaller Chain (Cutting out the bad parts) or turn it into a Bracelet!

Next up: Bead Chains! Pretty, Little Chains... But Don't Buy Them! (See Picture)

Bead Chains (Like little Disco Balls) are Pretty and Cute, but they are very Delicate and Break often (the little Links tend to Pop out of their Sockets). Fixing them is a Bear! Once those Holes get Opened up, they just don't hold well and aren't Secure. The Beads will probably be on the floor with just a slight Tug or Pull. Beware! Singapore Chains (See Picture below) tend to Twist, Snag, and Knot often. These types of Chains never seem to lay right either, they're always twisting around and getting caught. Singapores can also Break and Stretch easily as well. I would skip Singapore!

San Marco Chains! Run away! Run away Fast! These San Marco Chains (and Bracelets) are Beautiful and Elegant (They look like little Macaroni Links), but they are made Horribly!!! They are put together with little posts that Bend and Break way too easily. They fit into little Holes that Pull out and Open up. San Marco Links never lay right, they always want to Roll over (Which makes them break apart) and Twist. And once you Pop these Links apart, you may as well forget it. Soldering or Fixing them is a Nightmare because the links are Hollow. My suggestion: Look at Buying a different type of Chain. Don't even look at San Marcos... Run away and keep running! You'll be happy you did!Fine Chains! (See Picture below)

Fine, Thin Chains are the Default Chains that come on most Pendants, Charms and Necklaces. Take a look... 
These Chains are Frail, Delicate, Thin and Extremely Fragile! Any slight Yank could Break them apart or Pull the Links open. You take your chances with these Chains. I always recommend people upgrade these Chains immediately! Buy a Box Chain or a Wheat Chain instead (Pictured below). Those Chains are much more durable and a safer choice. Otherwise you'll be losing your Beautiful Diamond or Gemstone Pendant! These little Fine Chains are an accident waiting to happen! 
Here's another word of advice... Don't buy Hollow Chains! (See Picture below) Jewelers sell tons of different styles of Chains. Some are way Cheaper than others (even though they are the same width). There's a good reason for this. Most of these Cheaper Chains are Hollow inside. Don't buy them!

Hollow Chains (Like Puffed Gucci Links) Bend, Break and Dent faster than any other Chain out there. And once these Hollow Chains get Broken, they really can't be Fixed. Jewelers dislike even working on them because you can't put any pressure or heat to them. It just makes fixing them a huge ordeal. So before you Buy a Chain... Always ask the Salesperson these questions: Is this Chain Hollow?


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