What Is the Strongest Necklace Chain Type?
The appeal of chain necklaces comes from two traits—their aesthetic designs, and their practical strength. Chains play a large role in the advancement of civilizations. Industrial development and mechanical engineering depended on chains. In correlation, people in successful societies also liked to wear gold chains as a symbol of wealth.
The reason why gold chains have remained popular over millennia is that they just work. The strongest chain designs have been used for jewelry and in industry. Even Leonardo DaVinci foresaw the importance of chains in 1500 by sketching the first steel chain design, long before the advent of molded chains.
What type of necklace chain is the strongest? Knowing what the strongest necklace chain styles are is important for choosing a durable chain necklace. It’s especially important to have a strong necklace chain if you’re wearing a pendant on your necklace, to support its weight. We’ve put together a guide to the strongest types of links and chain styles for you to learn which chain types are the strongest.
Factors that Influence Chain Strength
To help you choose the strongest gold chain type, here are the factors that make a strong necklace chain.
- The type of links: The strongest jewelry chain is made up of interlocking links that do not have a bending point, so they won’t get twisted or folded, which could cause a link to break. Some chain links form kinks, which can cause breakage.
- Chain thickness: Thicker links and chains are more durable. You can still achieve delicate/minimal chain styles while adding durability in chain-link thickness or chain thickness. The chain doesn’t need to be very thick if it’s lightweight and only supporting its own weight but the strongest chains for pendants must be thick, to withstand the added weight of a pendant or medallion.
- The density of the metal: Solid gold links are more durable than hollow gold links. You especially want to avoid a hollow gold link necklace if you’re planning on wearing a pendant.
- The type of link soldering: Chains that have independently soldered links are more resistant to tugs or pulls since the links are closed and don’t have gaps. Chains that have gaps may break more easily if an individual chain link bends and detaches from the rest of the chain necklace.
- Metal type: The strongest metals for chains are gold and platinum. White gold with rhodium plating can have added strength. Sterling silver chains are also pretty strong, but they require more upkeep to prevent tarnish. Stainless steel chains and other metal chains are also strong, but be careful when buying if you have a metal allergy. Typically, precious metal chains are the easiest to repair.
- Craftsmanship: Chainmakers that use modern technology create stronger chain necklaces than handmade chains. Similarly, cheap, fast-fashion chains are weaker than those made by experts.
These are the characteristics that play a role in which types of chains are the strongest chain types. Depending on your lifestyle, you might not need the strongest, thickest chain. For example, the herringbone chain is a more delicate style but is perfect for wearing on special occasions. For a daily-wear chain that can put up with regular use, you’ll want to buy one of the top ten strongest types of chains.
Solid vs. Hollow Gold Chains
What’s the difference between solid and hollow gold chains, and how does it affect chain strength?
Hollow Gold: Hollow gold chains are made of real gold, but the inside of the chain links is hollowed out. This gives hollow gold chains the same look as solid gold chains, but at a lighter weight and cheaper price.
Solid Gold: Solid gold chains are made entirely of the gold that their karat number lists. This makes the gold chains more heavyweight and stronger. Solid gold chains will always be stronger than hollow gold chains.
When to Choose Solid Gold
It’s always a good idea to choose solid gold chains if you plan on adding a heavy pendant. If your pendant is made of silver, gold, and diamonds, platinum, or feels heavy—you don’t want to risk losing it from a hollow gold chain breaking from the weight. Choose solid gold chains if:
- You want to attach a pendant to your chain.
- If you want to wear it daily.
- If you’re on a budget—choose smaller solid gold chains to save money and get the most from your investment.
When to Choosing Hollow Gold is Okay
Choosing hollow gold chains is okay if you’re looking for cheap real gold chains on a tighter budget (hollow gold is pure, unlike gold-plated or gold-filled). It’s not typically a good idea to attach a pendant to a hollow gold chain. There are a few occasions where it may be alright.
- If you don’t plan on wearing it often (i.e. for a specific event).
- If you’re extra careful and clean it consistently.
We do not recommend hollow gold chains for pendants or regular wear. It’s almost always a smarter option to buy a solid gold chain with the width and karats you can afford. If you check out our clearance section, you’ll find many real solid gold chains at cheap prices.
The Strongest Necklace Chain Types
There are many popular types of chains. The Miami Cuban link chain is one of the most famous gold chain styles today; it’s no coincidence that it’s also quite strong. What is the strongest gold chain type? Here are the top ten strongest chain necklace styles.
A cable chain is the most basic design for strong gold chain styles. It’s a smaller version of a standard iron chain—the link structure is the same as many chains used for industrial purposes. It’s no wonder why it’s one of the most recommended gold chains for durability because its structure is reliably strong.
- Uniformly interlocked oval links
- Individually welded/soldered links
- Flat cable chain links are equally strong
- Easy to repair
- One of the best chains for pendant necklaces
- Good for charms
The cable chain is simple but elegant. You can choose thinner cable chain links without sacrificing an elegant appearance. You can also customize a thin cable chain with charms.
Cheaper cable chains don’t have individually soldered links, so they’re more likely to pull apart. However, they’re still easy to repair. Opt for solid gold, solid platinum, or sterling silver cable chains.
Cuban Link Chains
The Cuban link chain, or the Miami Cuban link chain, is a type of curb link chain. All curb link chains are among the strongest gold chain necklace designs, but the Cuban link is the strongest of all because of its thickness. The unmistakable feature of a Cuban chain is the flat, interlocking, twisted oval links.
- Individually soldered links
- Thick links
- Heavyweight necklace
- Interlocked links with no bending point
- Great chain for pendants
Cuban link chains are popular amongst rappers for their masculine appearance, although many female celebrities have started wearing rose gold Cuban link chains with diamonds. Whether you’re wearing a Cuban link chain with a pendant or not, you can rely on its durability. If you’re looking for the strongest gold chain necklace, the Cuban link chain is one of the best choices of all time.
It’s no surprise that the mariner chain (or anchor chain) is one of the strongest gold chain types. It shares many similar characteristics of curb chains like the Miami Cuban link chain. The mariner chain is designed after the heavy-duty chains that seafarers used to anchor their boats. It features oval links broken up by a bar, which resemble a boat’s anchor.
- The center bar keeps them from twisting
- Tangle-free chain—prevents breakage
- Thicker chain sizes
- Variety of width options
There are two main types of mariner chains, the rounded edge, and the flat link design. One of the most famous mariner chain styles is the Gucci link chain (or puffed mariner), which is recognizable as the type of gold chain necklace that Al Pacino wore in Scarface.
If it works to keep a boat anchored, it must be pretty durable. Chains for jewelry are often similar in design to the ones in industry, although you don’t exactly need an iced-out 14K gold chain on your woodworking machinery (we won’t stop you).
The rope chain is the OG gold chain necklace type. It was the first hip hop chain that became popular, thanks to rappers like Slick Rick, LL Cool J, Biz Markie, the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC. The rope chain is designed after heavy-duty ropes. It features woven links that support the chain, making it one of the best gold chains for pendants.
- Thick, solder link rope chains are extremely durable
- Lustrous appearance, heavyweight gold
- Thin rope chains and thin rope chains can withstand pendants
- Solid gold links are best
- Interwoven links add strength
Although hollow gold rope chains are more affordable, if you’re wearing a pendant, it’s best to choose solid gold rope chains. Hollow gold rope chains are much harder to repair, and can withstand less weight. Rope chains come in a variety of widths and are popular with men and women, and members of the hip hop community.
Wheat Chains/Spiga Chains
The wheat chain or Spiga chain (also known as the espiga chain), is one of the strongest chains. It features figure-eight-shaped links that point in the same direction, forming a braided look with squared edges. These are a popular lightweight gold chain that are resistant to kinks. If you want the strongest thin chain, the wheat chain is the best choice. Its structure is durable, without requiring the width of other chains.
- Kink-free chain reduces the risk of breaking
- Intricate, symmetrical design is very strong
- Structurally supportive—does not require much width or thickness
- Links have low risk for breakage from tugs or pulls
Spiga chains work well on their own, but they’re also one of the best gold chains for pendants. For the most durable Spiga chains, opt for solid gold links, especially for pendant jewelry.
The Figaro chain is another type of curb chain and is almost identical to the regular curb chain. The key difference between the curb chain and the Figaro chain is the pattern of the links. The Figaro chain pattern features one elongated curb link, followed by three normal-sized curb chain links. It’s a simple Italian style chain, but it has a suave and elegant design that’s exceptionally stunning when created by an experienced gold jewelry craftsman.
- As strong as cable chains or Cuban link chains
- Easy to repair if they do break
- Works well alone or with a pendant
- Soldered links
- Thick styles available
The Figaro chain is very masculine at thicker widths, and elegant at thinner widths. Either way, it’s a chain that will last a long time. This type of chain is very popular for its appearance and strength.
The box chain is a very versatile chain with many names. They’re also known as the briolette chain, square link chain, book chain, and Venetian chain. They’re a geometrically designed chain known for their simplicity and strength. The form of the chain is made of flat-rolled plates that form squared, cubic style links. Box chains come in a variety of styles and widths, but the thicker styles are much more durable.
- Sturdy structure, despite smooth appearance
- Thick, heavyweight gold box chains are quite durable
- Easy to repair box chain links
- Thick box chains frequently pair with pendants
- Solid gold box chains available
Gold box chains come in a variety of widths and are popular gold chains for men and women. Choose a box chain that’s at least 1.5mm wide to assure that the gold chain is strong. If you’re wearing a pendant on your box chain, opt for thicker, and you have a great choice.
The Singapore chain might not seem like a super-strong necklace chain due to its intricacy and delicate look. However, Singapore chains are one of the top ten strongest chains due to their remarkably strong structure. The Singapore chain is similar to a twisted Cuban chain. It’s composed of interlocking hammered oval links.
The design of a Singapore chain is often compared to liquid gold—its flat and curved links make it highly flexible. As Bruce Lee says, be like water. Water is both soft and strong, and the Singapore chain embodies this.
- Flexible and smooth; no bend points
- Strongest gold chain for delicate styles
- Doesn’t need bulk for strength
- Elegant appearance and surprising durability
It’s incredible how strong a thin Singapore chain is. If you want a minimalist gold chain without sacrificing strength and durability, the Singapore chain is perfect for you. It’s not a popular choice for pendants—its design best speaks for itself.
Singapore chains make a great gift for the hard-working, strong but elegant lady in your life. They’re a great self-gift to buy if you are that woman! They’re also great for men who want a touch of elegant gold to elevate their outfits.
The Franco chain, like the Figaro chain, is another strong Italian chain. Franco chains are based on the traditional curb pattern links but have a thicker pattern of tightly woven v-shaped (or chevron) links. These chains have a thick yet smooth appearance and are often dense and heavy for their size.
- Thick, tightly knit links are strong
- Flexible links to avoid bending point
- Tangle-proof chain
- Strong chain option for pendants
- Dense design fit for daily wear
The tightly knit, dense gold chevron links make Franco chains strong and durable, making them a strong gold chain for heavy pendants. It’s a great chain choice for layering chains for a bold and elegant fashion statement. The franco chain looks great at any thickness, and complements a variety of fashion styles, looking good with or without a pendant.
Dog Tag Chains (Ball Chains)
The dog tag chain (or ball chain), also known as the bead chain, sometimes gets a bad rap for low durability. However, the roots of this chain trace back to the Civil War, where the chain had to be durable enough to keep the soldiers’ IDs on them at all times.
When it’s made from quality materials, the ball chain is a very strong type of chain. This is why it’s one of the chain styles that’s also used for industrial purposes. They’re a reliable chain that’s relatively low-maintenance.
The balls of the chain are hollow and have two small holes, through which short wire segments connect the links and rivet to the individual balls. Many balls and wires join to form a chain. This connection method allows the chain to swivel on itself without restriction, preventing kinks.
- Structure prevents kinking, provides flexibility
- 10K and 14K gold are durable, easy to repair
- Can support pendants–choose thicker widths
- Lobster clasp keeps it secure
- Customizable length to suit your lifestyle
- Good for personalized ID tags, good for charms
- Solid gold options available (i.e. solid 14K bead bar chain, solid 14K white gold)
The ball chain or bead chain provides a very street-fresh look when worn with a pendant, or a military chic when worn with a dog tag. Women may choose to put unique charms on bead chains for a personalized accessory.
The important thing to remember is that not all ball chains are created equal. The military requirements for the breaking strength of dog tag chains are between 15 lbs and 32 lbs. You will not find these specs in the dog tag chains you used to find in quarter machines. Ultimately, the weight a ball chain can hold is limited by the wire that connects the ball chain links. Choose solid gold ball chains for better strength.
It’s a good idea to ask your seller what weight pendant they’d recommend. Sterling silver pendants are available as religious pendants, dog tags, diamond pendants, and gem pendants, and charms, and they provide a lighter-weight alternative for wearing pendants with ball chains.
How to Choose the Right Chain for Jewelry
What type of necklace chain is strongest? Here’s how you can choose the best chain for your lifestyle and be sure in its durability. For example, you want a short chain that’s minimalist and elegant, you’re not going to need the durability of a curb chain. You could wear a less strong chain, such as a snake chain or beaded dog tag chain. If you’re looking for the best gold chain for pendants, the strength of the chain will depend on the weight of your pendant.
Here are some buying tips for choosing the best gold chain for your needs:
- The best gold chain for pendants: Consider some of the strongest chain necklace styles—the wheat chain, curb chain, Miami Cuban link chain, cable chain, rope chain, mariner chain, Gucci link chain, and box chain.
- The strongest chain link type for statement necklaces: thick chains such as the Miami Cuban link chain, curb chain, Figaro chain, rope chain, cable chain, Gucci chain.
- The strongest chain necklaces for delicate styles: Singapore chains, wheat chains, rope chains, cable chains, mariner chains, Franco chains.
- The best gold chains for sterling silver pendants, ID tags, and charms: Cable chain, ball chain/beaded chain, rope chain.
Other things to look for to buy the strongest chain necklaces:
- 14K gold or higher, white gold, rose gold, yellow gold, platinum, and sterling silver
- Solid gold chain links, rather than hollow
- Solid Lobster claw clasps for securing the necklace
- A policy similar to ours: 30-day money-back return policy, 1-year warranty
- Customizable chain link lengths/sizes
- Thicker widths in chains that require thickness for strength (i.e. box chain, heart chain)
- Fine craftsmanship—attention to every detail of the chain design
- A wide variety of options to customize your choice
- Filters to search specifically for chain widths
- Opportunities to ask the seller questions about durability and quality
Here at Itshot, we make finding the strongest gold chain necklace styles easy. We offer search filters so you can find the exact gold chain that fits your style. We sell both real gold chains and pendants. You can also browse our clearance section for cheap real gold and diamond chains and other fine jewelry.
If you don’t find the perfect chain necklace or pendants for your chain, we offer custom chains and sell custom pendants.
Contact us for any questions about the strength of different chains for jewelry, attaching a pendant to a chain, or anything else.