Last updated: August 19, 2021

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Welcome! And because we want you to be always up to date with the most practical items, but also the most traditional, resistant and distinguished, today we will talk about an accessory that has surely been part of your life: chains.

These accentuators of our style can be much more than that. Besides giving an original and personal touch to the way we look, they have been used as charms, symbols of commitment and more. If we look beyond fashion, chains are also used to keep objects in place or to walk animals.

Today we will not only learn about the best chain options on the market, but we will also learn about their characteristics, the factors that make them an ideal choice for purchase, their different uses, where to get them and much more relevant information




Summary

  • We know as chains that sequence of intertwined links, usually made of metal, which are used to pull heavy objects, to keep control of another or simply to hang around our neck as an element of jewellery.
  • If we talk about materials, chains (especially in jewellery) are usually made of 4 metals: gold, silver, stainless steel and brass. Each of them provides a specific finish and characteristics that you will want to know before selecting your favourite one.
  • There are a few things to know before choosing the perfect chain for you, such as what you plan to use it for, the type of links it should have to perform the function you need, its adjustability, and the way in which the precious metal is included during manufacture.

The Best Chain: Our Picks

Buying Guide

These models are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also affordable and durable. But it's not enough just to know the top choices; it's also important to familiarise yourself with the characteristics of the chains themselves in order to find your ideal model with greater certainty

The length of the chains is very variable and can be adapted to the tastes and preferences of each user. (Photo: SnapwireSnaps/ Pixabay)

What are chains and what are their advantages?

Chains are objects made of links intertwined with each other, with the purpose of fastening, decorating, stretching, among others. They are widely used as fashion accessories, as control

tools for pets, as a support to attract heavy objects and similar functions. Here is a list of their main features and benefits that will surely be useful in your daily life. Depending on their manufacture and function, you can find several of these in your chains.

Advantages
  • Highly resistant and durable
  • Decorative
  • Unisex design
  • Never go out of fashion
  • Some adapt their size
Disadvantages
  • Some materials may be weak
  • Not all are water resistant
  • They can be very heavy

Gold, silver, stainless steel or brass chains - what should you look out for?

When we talk about jewellery, chains have different ways of elaboration depending on their style, their function and, above all, the material that will be implemented for their creation. When it comes to this, there are basically 4 metals that are used: gold, silver, stainless steel and brass.

  • Gold. This may be one of the most sought-after metals in the world and the king of jewellery shops. Its manufacture is divided by carats, whose number will determine how pure the piece is. Unless we have a 24 carat piece, we will know that it has a degree of combination with other materials. Their appearance is golden and very shiny, and their cost is usually high, increasing depending on the purity of their manufacture. They also tend to be highly resistant and durable, and it is important to know if the person who will use it has previously been allergic to this material.
  • Silver. It has a range of varieties, but when it comes to jewellery, an item made of 100% silver would be very fragile. For this reason, a little copper tends to be added to give strength to the piece (known as 925 silver, because it is 92.5% pure). Its shade lives up to its name and it shines constantly. It will cost more than steel and brass, but much less than gold. It is usually resistant, but prone to scratches and shocks, and it is advisable to make sure that our skin is not sensitive or develops any allergy to the material.
  • Stainless steel. It is an iron alloy highly resistant to climatic changes, acids and other adverse conditions, which makes its main feature is its resistance. It is not necessary to worry because it can cause allergies in some people. Its silvery shade is similar to silver, but it tends to be more durable and economical, although less shiny. Nowadays there are alternatives that give it a colour more similar to gold, copper or pink tones.
  • Brass. This metal is a combination of copper and zinc, and is often used as a substitute for gold, thanks to its golden and moderately shiny appearance. It is, of course, a cheaper option, but less distinguished in appearance. It does not contain lead, which makes it suitable for people allergic to some metals. It is highly resistant, which is why it tends to retain its original colour and appearance for life, unless it suffers extensive damage in use.
Gold Gold Silver Stainless steel Brass
Origin Can be pure or combined Silver and a touch of copper Iron alloy Copper and zinc
Colour Gold Silver Silver plated Gold plated Gold
Brightness High High Medium Medium Medium
Cost Very expensive Expensive Cheap Cheap Cheap
Resistance High Medium Very high High
Allergies May cause May cause May cause No cause No cause

Thin and small links are widely used in women's jewellery (Photo: Nile / Pixabay)

Buying criteria: factors that allow you to compare and rate different models of chains

Your knowledge about chains has increased, and so has ours! So here are a few final points you'll want to consider before you buy that chain you want or need. Take each of them into account to evaluate your final purchase decision.

  • Usage
  • Links
  • Adjustment
  • Inclusion of precious metal

Usage

The type of chain you choose will highly depend on the use you decide to give it, since each one of them is manufactured to fulfil a very specific function. Here are the most common uses of chains.

  • Accessory. When we talk about chains, perhaps this is the first use we think of. Chains made for jewellery are usually made of brass, stainless steel, gold or silver; materials that will provide an outstanding appearance and will have a characteristic aesthetic finish. If you wish to purchase a model made of another material, make sure it is sufficiently resistant and not at risk of corroding. Also make sure that it does not generate allergies and that it has the ideal size you need.
  • Animals. Chains for animals can be of 2 types: those that go around your pet's neck like a collar and those that you attach to the collar to hold it in place. If you decide to put a chain collar on your dog, we recommend that it is covered with a more comfortable material to prevent damage to your dog's skin. Chains should have thick, welded links to prevent them from coming loose with every tug. Make sure that the metal used is not vulnerable to corrosion, as it is likely to face wet weather conditions.
  • Protection. There are chains created for the purpose of protecting and guarding belongings. You can find small ones (such as those found in your wallet) or large ones (for securing bikes while you are away). For the small ones, we recommend stainless steel for durability. When it comes to large straps, in addition to making sure the material is durable and suitable for outdoor environments, make sure the links are spacious enough to accommodate locks or safeties

It is important to ensure that the material of the chain you purchase, regardless of its use, is rust resistant to ensure a long life (Photo: Adnan Khan/ Free Images)

Links

Links are the main components of a chain, as it would not exist without the link of each link. It is therefore important to know their thickness and linking mechanism to determine their strength.

  • Thin links. Thin links are often more elegant, but this could compromise their strength. If you have a chain as an accessory, you can choose the link thickness you like as long as it represents comfort. These options are lighter and preferred especially by female users. If it is a chain for holding animals, this option could be very weak and could be damaged, broken or cracked if subjected to too much pressure. In the case of protective chains, it is a good choice to add to your wallet.
  • Thick. Thick links are preferred by men because of their stronger appearance when it comes to jewellery. It is important to make sure that their thickness is not heavier than expected for constant use. They are highly recommended for use on animals as a support leash, as they will not be as vulnerable to the pressures and pulls that the pet may exert. They are also an excellent choice for attaching objects temporarily (or for long periods of time) to a specific location, such as bicycles.

Fit

Chain sizes vary greatly, depending on the use and style of the user. And depending on the modifications you wish to make, it will be important to consider whether the model of your choice has adjustment options.

  • Fixed. Some chains do not have the option to modify their size, due to the way their links are arranged or the way they are welded. Usually, this feature makes them more resistant. Opt for these options when you don't need to resize them later.
  • Adjustable. The adjustment on a chain can be temporary (given by the same locking hook anchoring itself to different links) or permanent (by removing or adding new links). For the latter to happen, it is important that the links are not completely joined, but that there is an end by which you can separate them with the correct tools. This is a good option when you want a chain to be used by a child for many more years than its original size would allow.

Inclusion of precious metal

When you want to buy a chain made of a precious metal such as gold or silver, you need to know beforehand what the manufacturing methodology has been and how this metal is included in your garment.

  • Basis. The purest pieces are those that are made with the precious metal as a base. In this case, it does not mean that it contains 100% of it, as it can be combined with other materials such as copper. These pieces are more expensive and resistant. Over time, you will still notice a very similar appearance to the original
  • Veneering. This mechanism takes a garment made from a base material other than the precious metal that is named. It can be copper, brass or other. After processing, the piece is covered with a thin sheet of metal that is fully adhered and gives a more distinguished appearance. In these cases, the final finish may fade over the years. We recommend not to use it in case of suspected allergies and to avoid at all costs garments that are covered with nickel, as it can be harmful to health.
  • Plating. As with plating, in bathing the base piece is created with a secondary material and immersed in a solution of salts of the metal to be used (gold salts, for example) and, by means of a current, total integration and coverage is achieved. This option is much stronger and more durable than plating, although it is important to ensure that the total gold thickness is more than 0.02 millimetres to be considered a successful plating. Surely this information can be provided by the vendor.

(Featured image photo: plepraisaeng / 123rf)

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