A Beginner’s Guide to Chain Types

Foxtail, herringbone, satellite – these necklace chain types sound more like something out of a scientific documentary than a jewelry store. Gold, silver, and rose gold chains come in a near endless assortment of styles, and for a beginner, it can feel nearly impossible to identify what style you’re looking for. Understanding what chain styles look like may take some practice, but with the brook & york guide to chain types, you’ll find yourself identifying them with ease. 

 The chain styles link, curb, box, ball, and snake are shown in order.

The Classic Chains:

Link Chain: Perhaps the most recognizable, the link chain is a simple type of chain comprised of small, rectangular links interlocking with one another in a thin line. Popular for pendants of all kinds, this versatile necklace type is used by designer and amateur jewelers for its easy styling. Our Carly Choker emphasizes this classy style. 

Curb ChainSometimes known as Cuban Links, this flat, bold style of chain is a durable necklace or bracelet perfect for layering or wearing solo. Though available in many different widths, we’ve kept the size of our Ella Necklace slim for an elevated look. 

Box ChainMade with square links that give the illusion of a smooth chain, this dressy favorite is a classic layering chain. While it is not as common as a link chain, it also makes a great pick for pendants. Brook & york offers this chain in several forms, from our short Emma Choker to our long Emma Wrap Necklace. 

Ball ChainAlso called a Bead Chain, this style of chain is made with an alternating series of metal balls and short wired links. Popular with dog tag necklaces, this classic necklace creates an understated look. For a 14k gold plated ball chain, check out our Mae Anklets, Bracelets, and Necklaces. 

Snake Chain: Formed with small chains linked tightly together, the snake chain is a smooth, effortlessly beautiful design. Great for adjustable bracelets and pendant necklaces, this sleek chain style has many applications. Brook & york offers many designs with snake chains, including custom monogram pendants. 

 The chain styles Singapore, satellite, herringbone, foxtail, figaro, and bar link are shown in order.

Uncommon Chains

Singapore ChainTwisted and charming, this durable chain is a unique and flexible design perfect for creating a statement look. Pairing elegantly with bold pendants, a singapore gold chain is a beautiful way to add a sleek shine to any outfit. Find this cool pick in our Sophie Collection. 

Satellite Chain: Satellite, Saturn, or Rosary chains are a unique looking necklace style with small beads embedded directly into the chain. Unlike the ball chain, satellite chains have a length of link chains between each bead for just a hint of texture. These beads do not move along the chain, making them the perfect dainty addition to a favorite charm or pendant. This style of chain necklace is featured most notably in our Madeline Initial Pendants. 

Herringbone Chain: An ancient design with modern flexibility, the herringbone chain is a beautiful and sleek chain that drapes beautifully. This flat chain is smooth and fashionable but works best on its own due to its boldness. Herringbone necklaces typically do not come with pendants attached, but we’ve made an exception with our stylish Izzy Toggle Necklaces. 

Foxtail Chain: Similar to the herringbone chain, this bold and flat necklace is a luxurious looking piece that is sure to catch attention. Foxtail linking is more rigid than herringbone, meaning your necklace is more likely to stay in place in your desired shape. Brook & york offers this dazzling chain type in our Gaby Necklace and Bracelet. 


Brook & york also offers many specialty chains that have variations on classic styles. Figaro chains like our Lennon, for example, are very similar to curb chains. Though the length of the respective links may differ, structurally they have comparable designs. Bar link chains, like our Amelia, take a classic chain and add lengths of a long, thin bar to create a uniquely structured design. Chain designs come in many styles, but with the basic knowledge of the above styles, you can be sure to find just what you’re looking for.