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8 Top Tips to Buy Gold Chains

Buying gold chains tips

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Gold chains are a highly versatile accessory, offering something for everyone regardless of your personal style. For some, gold chains are a status symbol and signify wealth and prosperity. They can also be an excellent investment.

However, there are many types of gold chains and choosing the right one for you depends on several factors, such as the type of gold, the karat, the designs and so on. Let’s take a look at the most important factors to consider when buying a gold chain.

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Tip 1: Deciding on the Type of Gold

Gold chain

14K gold chain by Chic In Gold. See it here.

Before purchasing a chain, it’s important to decide on the type of gold. Gold chains can be made of solid gold, gold filled or gold plated, as well as hollow gold chains. Choosing between these options depends on the affordability and the preference of the wearer. 

Solid Gold

Solid gold chains are made of pure gold alloyed with some other metals. Because of this, they have a higher percentage of pure gold compared to gold filled and gold plated options. Solid gold comes in various levels of purity, with 14K or 18K chains being the most preferred. Most gold chains come in one of these two varieties.

While 24K gold is the purest and most valuable type of gold, chains made from this metal are too soft and delicate to wear daily. They’re also hard to manufacture and often much too expensive to be practical.

Because of this, most gold jewelry has a mix of other metals such as silver, copper, nickel, or zinc, which increases the strength and durability of the alloy.  

Gold Filled

Gold filled chains are made with thin sheets of gold that are bonded to a base metal, typically brass, copper, or silver. Usually, a very small percentage of the finished piece of jewelry will contain solid gold. For instance, a 14K gold filled chain would only have about 5% solid gold. Due to this, gold filled is less valuable than solid gold, but has a greater worth than gold plated jewelry.

Gold Plated

Gold plating is done by dipping a base metal such as copper or silver into a gold bath. Compared to gold filled accessories, plated jewelry only has about 0.05% of its weight in gold. Although gold plated chains can flake off or discolor easily with use, they’re highly popular because they are affordable, easily available and mimic the look of actual gold.

Hollow Gold Chains

Hollow gold chains are made with layers of solid gold, or can be gold plated, but they are hollow inside.  Although hollow gold chains are affordable, they are fragile and can dent or break very easily. If someone is looking for a long-lasting piece, it’s better to opt for solid gold chains.  But hollow gold chains generally have more resale value than gold plated or gold filled pieces.

Tip 2: Choosing the Type of Gold Chains

Gold chain types

Types of gold chains by Charm America. See more here.

Gold chains come in a wide range of styles and designs, each with its own pros and cons. When choosing the design of your chain, it’s important to consider the purpose. For example, some chains are better worn alone whereas others look great with pendants.  There are plenty of options for everyone, and we will take a look at the most popular ones below.

  • Rope Chains: Rope chains are a popular design and are made with small inter-linking wires that resemble a rope. They are one of the most durable chains and can be worn with any pendant. 
  • Mariner Chains: Mariner chains have interlocking oval links, each with a bar set in the middle. They’re one of the strongest types of chains as it’s made up of interlocking links. Large mariner chains make for excellent statement necklaces, when worn alone, while thinner versions are ideal with pendants.  
  • Box Chains: Box chains are a sturdy chain made of square links, connected together to create a smooth and flowing chain. These chains are popular due to their sturdiness and can be worn with heavy pendants or alone.
  • Snake Chains: Snake chains are called this because of their texture and smooth look that resembles a snake. They are a fragile chain that can be worn alone, or with smaller pendants. 
  • Franco Chains: Franco chains are made with V-shaped links to form a curb pattern. These durable chains are especially desired by hip-hop fans who wear them with bling pendants.
  • Figaro Chains: Figaro chains have alternating patterns of circle and oval links. This is one of the sturdiest and most popular types of chains.
  • Bead/ Ball Chain: The bead/ball chain is created by setting small circular beads in a continuous line. These are either closely linked or set apart.  These chains come in a variety of widths and are especially popular when worn with dog tag pendants.
  • Cable Chain: Cable chains have uniform round or circular links that are interconnected to form a simple design.  These chains can be worn by both men and women as standalone pieces, or with pendants.

Tip 3: Deciding on the Length of the Chain

Gold chains can range from short chokers of 14 inches to long ropes of over 40 inches. The length you decide on factors such as your personal style, whether or not you will wear the chain with a pendant, and the occasion, to name a few.

Usually, women’s gold chains range between 14-42 inches. Shorter chains are more suitable for day-to-day wear, while longer ones are great for formal events, like parties or business meetings.

Men’s chains typically range between 18-24 inches. They can be worn both for casual and formal wear, with or without a pendant.

Tip 4: Deciding on the Thickness of the Chain

The thickness of a gold chain is significant both in terms of its appearance and price. Thicker chains are perfect as statement pieces and can be worn alone without a pendant. While thicker chains are generally worn by men, women who want to make a bold statement also opt for them.   

Thinner chains are ideal for a minimalist look. They’re also perfect when you want the focus to be on the pendant rather than on the chain. These chains are desired for their fragile and delicate appearance.

Tip 5: Deciding on the Clasp

Lobster clasp

Lobster clasp by Warung Beads. See it here.

Although this is a lesser-known fact, the clasp of the chain plays an important role in holding and securing the chain. There are many types of clasps used in gold chains, including lobster, spring ring, toggle, hook and screw.

The lobster claw clasp is considered the strongest and most durable type of chain clasp. It holds the chain securely and minimizes the chances of the chain coming undone. The spring ring is also highly secure and one of the most common types of clasps used for chains.  

Tip 6: Check the Quality of the Craftsmanship

When buying a gold chain, it’s important to check the quality of the craftsmanship.A smoothchain is the ideal option for daily wear as it won’t irritate the skin.The chain mustn’t have any rough pieces that can poke or scratchyour body. Additionally, well-made chains won’t get easily yanked, caught or pulled, and can be worn for longer durations without any fuss.

Tip 7:  Check for the Hallmark

The hallmark is a small engraving, typically found near the clasp of gold chains. This mark displays the purity of the chain in karats.  Additionally, some chains also have the year of marking that will be etched near or on the clasp. For example, the hallmarks for 18K gold can include – 18K, 18KT or 18Kt.

Tip 8: Look for the Best Places to Gold Chains

It’s important to purchase your gold chain from a reputable site to ensure that you don’t get ripped off. If purchasing online, consider the trustworthiness of the site and its track record. Customer reviews are an excellent way to gauge what other buyers think and say of the retailer.

Some of the best places to buy gold chains online are Blue Nile and Frost NYC. Etsy and Amazon are two excellent platforms to find a wide range of gold chains, from gold plated to solid gold. However, always do your due diligence and thoroughly vet the retailer as each store on these platforms have their own policies and procedures.