Strongest and Weakest Gold Chain Styles Explained

Common gold chain styles

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The chain style you choose plays a crucial role in the design of your jewelry, but it also affects the durability of the piece.

Whether you’re looking for a statement piece to add to your collection or something durable to withstand daily wear, we rounded up the most common gold chain styles along with the unique characteristics of each.

What Makes a Gold Chain Durable?

How to choose a strong gold chain

When looking for a gold chain, it’s important to consider the following factors to ensure you choose the right chain for your purposes.

1. The type of link the chain contains

Gold chain jewelry is comprised of links, which make the piece flexible enough to be twisted or bent. The strongest styles of chains are made up of interlocking links that do not have a bending point and won’t break in twisting or folding.

Cable, curb, mariner, Figaro, and rope are just some of the strongest chain styles, especially if they are thick. Also, wheat chains are made up of multiple links that won’t easily kink or break, making them durable to be worn every day.

Unfortunately, some chains are delicate and easy to kink. Flat chains like herringbone and omega are made up of links that are mounted on a backing rather than being interlinked, which makes them prone to bending and breaking. Also, some chains come with tightly connected links, like the snake chain, which make them inflexible and impossible to repair.

2. The thicker the chain, the more durable it is

A reasonably thick chain will make delicate styles stronger and will be able to bear the additional weight of a pendant. For instance, a box or snake chain is delicate, but it can be more durable to withstand twisting and bending if it is made up of thicker links. However, the thickness of gold chains will depend not only on your style preference but also on how you’re going to wear them—with a pendant or without.

3. Chains with independently soldered links will never pull apart

In jewelry making, soldering is the process of mending breaks in chains, closing their gaps to make them unbreakable. Soldered chains are more resistant to tugging since the links are closed, and gaps won’t form. Anchor, Figaro, and curb chains are some of the styles that usually come with soldered links. Unfortunately, some gold chains cannot be easily soldered, so you must ensure that the links are durable enough to handle daily wear.

What makes a gold chain strong

The Strongest Styles of Gold Chain

1. Curb Chain

Gold Curb Chain
Gold Curb Chain. Check Price Here

What Makes It Strong: This chain comes in soldered links and is commonly thick and heavy, so it’s rare for them to break. If you’re looking for a gold chain that will stand the test of time, the curb chain is a classic choice.

Thicker types look bold and masculine, so they are appealing to men, though delicate types are also becoming popular in women’s jewelry. Curb chains look absolutely stunning with pendants, but they’re also a statement on their own.

Miami Cuban Chain. Check Price Here

Its chunky variety is known as the “Miami Cuban link,” which is associated with edgy, street-style fashion. However, the standard curb chain has a flat, chiseled appearance, while the Miami Cuban link has a round, bolder look.

2. Figaro Chain

Figaro gold chain
Figaro Chain. Check Price Here

What Makes It Strong: This chain is solid and durable, and usually comes with thick, soldered links. With its uniqueness and durability, you can’t go wrong with a Figaro gold chain.

It’s one of the heavier chains that will hold up after literally being yanked on, and it is easy to fix if a link is broken. In fact, it is a modified version of the curb chain, where its links are also twisted so they lie flat. This chain is durable enough to be worn with a pendant—but its attractive repeating pattern makes it stand on its own.

3. Anchor or Mariner Chain

Mariner gold chain
Anchor Mariner Chain. Check Price Here

What Makes It Strong: Its links tend to be thick in proportion to their size, making it a great option if you want a jewelry piece that will last a lifetime.

Anchor chains are comprised of interlocking oval links with a vertical bar across the center, which keeps them from tangling or twisting. They are extremely durable and perfect for charms or pendants. Traditionally, these chains have a flat appearance, but modern varieties can be found in rounded puffed styles. Inspired by the nautical realm, it’s a gold chain for ones who love the sea.

4. Wheat Chain

gold wheat chain necklace
Gold Wheat Chain. Check Price Here

What Makes It Strong: It is made up of four-strand twisted oval links, making it durable at almost any thickness. If you’re looking for a lightweight gold chain that rarely kinks, the wheat chain is perfect for you.

Its woven or braided appearance makes it perfect as a standalone chain—but its multiple links make it strong enough to hold heavier pendants too. As long as they are made of solid, not hollow links, they won’t easily break.

5. Cable Chain

Cable chain closeup
Gold Cable Chain. Check Price Here

What Makes It Strong: This chain is made up of links and doesn’t have a bending point. Cable chains hold up through daily wear—you can twist them, fold them, or knot them. It’s one of the strongest styles of chains and the classic choice for necklaces with charms or pendants.

You can find cable chains in any width or thickness, but avoid ones that are too fine and dainty, especially for higher gold karats. These chains won’t easily break and do not require soldering to be repaired. For gold chains, a “rolo” chain is recommended since it has a heavy, sturdier appearance than typical cable chains.

6. Rope Chain

Rope chain
Gold Rope Chain. Check Price Here

What Makes It Strong: Rope chains come in various widths, and ones with thicker, soldered links have the strength to hold heavier pendants.

Unfortunately, its individual links are not fully joined together, which makes them less resistant to tugging. While a rope chain can be repaired when broken, the complexity of its design calls for weaving the links back together so the pattern will look the same. The key is to opt for thicker, soldered links that are more durable for daily wear.

While thinner rope chains look elegant with pendants, thicker ones can be a statement on their own. It’s one of the most lustrous, lavish-looking gold chains you can have. You may even opt for diamond-cut rope chains that add sparkle and shine to your jewelry.

7. Box Chain

Round box gold chain
Gold Box Chain. Check Price Here

What Makes It Strong: Box chains with thicker links are durable and hold a pendant extremely well.

Gold box chains come in a variety of widths, but opt for at least 1.5mm wide that works great, and avoid ones that are too skinny. These chains are made up of square links that give off a reflective shine, but modern versions, like the one featured above, can have round links. Unfortunately, they have a tendency to stretch over time, and thinner varieties often break easily.

The Weakest Styles of Gold Chain

1. Omega Chain

Omega gold chain
Gold Omega Chain. Check Price Here

What Makes It Weak: The chain has limited flexibility and can easily kink and bend. If twisted, omega chains can get damaged beyond repair.

Omega chains are ideal to be worn as a choker instead of a necklace with a pendant. In fact, it is one of the chain styles to go for if you want a solid-looking gold chain. However, this chain is made up of metal plates and an underlying mesh structure that kinks easily, which makes them impractical for everyday wear. When damaged, the repair might call for straightening and working on its inner structure or even removing the actual plate.

2. Herringbone Chain

gold herringbone chain necklace
Gold Herringbone Chain. Check Price Here

What Makes It Weak: Its chain links are both flat and thin, which easily kink, bend, and show signs of damage.

Herringbone chains are a great choice if you like a solid-looking necklace with or without a pendant. Unfortunately, it’s one of the least durable gold chain styles and most notorious for kinking. When damaged significantly, they are challenging to fix.

3. Snake Chain

gold snake chain necklace
Gold Snake Chain. Check Price Here

What Makes It Weak: Due to the nature of its design, a snake chain breaks easily and shows signs of denting which can ruin the overall look of a jewelry piece.

If you’re looking for a gold chain with a seamless look, the snake chain is an elegant option for pendants and charms. Just keep in mind that its flexibility is similar to a body of a snake, which is a bit delicate. Also, it doesn’t have an underlying mesh or wire support and is usually repaired by soldering.

4. Ball or Bead Chain

gold bead chain necklace
Gold Bead Chain. Check Price Here

What Makes It Weak: This chain has a fragile construction, and its beads are often hollow to reduce weight.

This chain has the advantage of not easily tangling, making it a great necklace option for dog tag necklaces. Unfortunately, its narrow bars tend to break, and the chain requires soldering when broken. As much as you can, opt for gold chains with solid, not hollow links to make your jewelry piece more durable.

Which Gold Chain Is Perfect for You?

gold figaro chain necklaces on the man's neck
Figaro chains are thick and durable. See them here.

As we have seen, the durability of gold chains will depend on the type of links, chain styles, and soldered links it comes with. If you need thick and durable gold chains, opt for Figaro, curb, and anchor chains that withstand daily wear and tear, and look great on their own.

If you’re looking for something lightweight yet durable to wear with pendants, opt for wheat, cable and rope chains. Box chains are durable if they are thick, but they easily break if the links are too thin. Also, the ball chain has a fragile construction but can be more durable in solid links.

If you need a solid-looking jewelry piece, omega and herringbone chains are an elegant option—though they kink and bend easily. Snake chains have a seamless look with pendants, but they’re a bit delicate and need soldering to repair.

There might be lots of things to consider when buying a gold chain, but with this guide, you’ll be able to choose the most durable and stylish option that will last a lifetime.

How to Extend the Life of a Gold Chain

gold cuban link chain necklaces on the woman's neck
Cuban chains are highly durable. See them here.

Having a chain that might be labeled as “fragile” doesn’t mean it can’t last a long time. Here’s how you can ensure your jewelry stays in good shape.

Firstly, be mindful about adding pendants to your chains. Chains such as Cuban links and Figaro chains are robust and ideal for attaching pendants.

If you’re fond of eye-catching pendants like the Wave Pendant, opt for strong chains like Francos or Cuban links. Heavier pendants need a solid chain to support them.

Secondly, make sure to keep your chains away from substances like cleaning solutions, chlorine from swimming pools, and aerosols. These can damage the metal, causing it to look tarnished and wear out faster.

This could not only spoil the look of your jewelry but also weaken it, leading to potential breakage.

In case your chain does snap, most jewelry stores can mend it, provided you have all the broken pieces. However, starting with a sturdy piece minimizes this risk.

Where to Buy

yellow gold wheat chain necklace
Wheat chain necklace by James Allen. See it here.

If you’re in the market for gold chains, there are several reputable jewelers renowned for their high-quality products and excellent customer service. Be sure to check out these stores:

1. Angara Jewelers

Known for its extensive collection of fine jewelry, Angara offers a vast selection of gold chains in various styles and designs. With a focus on quality and craftsmanship, their chains are a perfect blend of durability and aesthetics.

2. James Allen

James Allen offers a range of gold chains in different lengths, styles, and gold purity options, enabling you to find a piece that perfectly suits your personal style. Their customer-friendly policies, including free shipping worldwide, free returns, and 24/7 customer service, also add to the overall shopping experience.

3. Blue Nile

As one of the largest online retailers of certified diamonds and fine jewelry, Blue Nile is an excellent choice for buying gold chains.

They offer an array of designs, from simple and understated to intricate and eye-catching. Blue Nile is committed to quality, ensuring that every gold chain they sell is crafted to meet high-quality standards.

Wrapping Up

The strength and durability of a gold chain significantly depend on its alloy composition, design, and craftsmanship. Always consider these factors when choosing your piece.

While higher karat gold chains offer pure luxury, they may not be as robust as their lower karat counterparts. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of various gold chains will ensure that your choice serves both your style and durability needs.