Chain by the Foot

If you think you have maxed out the creative factor of your beaded jewelry project, try working with chain. Whether you invest in sterling silver chain or try the bold style of antique copper chain or gunmetal chain, the design possibilities of chain are almost limitless. Stretch your creative limits by making a daring choice from a variety of styles, precious metals or plated chain by the foot.

Chain by the Foot

Plated Chain by the Foot

Get the look for less with affordable plated chain by the foot. Styles of plated chain by the foot range from the funky and funky to simple classics like a delicate cable chain. Find coordinating beads, clasps, jewelry wire and jewelry findings in Silver, Gold, Copper, Antique Brass and Gunmetal finishes.

Guide to Styles of Chain by the Foot

The names for styles of chain can be confusing; rolo chain, cable chain and drawn chain. Learning the basic vocabulary of chain styles can help you find what you are looking for much more easily. Here are some basic descriptions of different types of chain by the foot you will see when shopping for jewelry supplies and designing your own jewelry.

Cable chain: This is any chain of interlocking links of the same style. The links can be a variety of shapes (circle, heart, oval, square, etc) or sizes but to be described as cable chain, the links are continuously all the same.

Rolo chain: This chain is comprised of thick, circular links. Each link is made from half round wire, meaning that the inside of the link is flat and the outside of the link is rounded. Even when very small in size, this is a very durable and thick chain.

Figaro chain: Alternates between a larger oval link and typically three smaller oval links. The smaller links are twisted slightly and the larger link may be hammered, so this chain lies flat.

Figure Eight chain: This chain has oval links joined together with a smaller twisted link that looks like the figure "8".

Ball chain: This chain is comprised of round metal spheres attached with metal tubes. It can look like metal beads strung onto a strand of metal. Many people are familiar with this style of chain from "Dog Tag necklace" imagery. This type of chain needs a ball chain connector to clasp the two ends together.

Snake chain: This chain has very hard to see links. It can made by very small links being drawn down so that they are very compact or by tightly winding wire around core. This style gets its name by how closely it resembles the movement of a snake. Some Beaders will string beads directly onto this chain as a method of stringing since it can come very thin.

Circle Chain: A popular style of cable chain that features very thin, delicate circles linked together. It is a wonderful style to use for earrings since it is lightweight but be careful not to use beads that are too heavy for too much weight can stretch out these links. Curb Chain: This is a form of cable chain that once it has been made, all the links are twisted slightly in one direction. This chain tends to lay nice and flat.

Long / Short Chain: This chain has alternating links of a longer link (usually an oval, rectangle, decorative, or just bigger in size) with a much smaller link that is typically plain and round.

Double link cable chain: This is a cable chain that can have two or more links attached to the next link in the chain. They usually sit nicely side by side together.

Dangle Chain: This chain consists of a main cable chain that has many more links attached inside each link of the cable chain.

Filigree Chain: This chain will have a small shape (usually an oval) that will have a filigree design in the center, alternated by 3 small circle links. Filigree is the technique of soldering very delicately placed pieces of thin wire inside a metal frame to create the look of lace.

Peanut Chain: A type of cable chain that is cinched in the middle and resembles the shape of a peanut.

Spiral Chain: This is a woven chain that has been twisted to the point of making a spiral. It resembles a double helix formation and is a style of chain most recognized among fine Italian Gold chains.

Jewelry Chain Finishes

Ribbed: Just like ribbing on a piece of fabric or grosgrain ribbon, this finish can be done on chain links to add texture.

Diamond Cut: Small cuts or facets are made on the links of the chain to give a very light reflective, sparkly finish.

Hammered: This term has been used to describe two types of finishes: 1.) It may refer to the chain being hammered completely and uniformly flat and this tends to make a shiny, reflective chain. 2.) It may also refer to the chain being hammered in a textured, rough and organic way. This chain looks wonderful oxidized in silver!

Knurled: This finish puts a crease in the middle of the link, giving it a bit of texture and dimension.

Drawn: This is a process done to cable chains. The chain is drawn through a metal or wooden drawplate to elongate or stretch out the links.

Twisted: In this finish each or some of the links may be made of twisted wire.

Matte: This finish takes away the surface shine of the metal and can make the metal look frosty or powdered. Brushed: This finish is applied to the metal after it has been finished to a high polish. It adds very thin, hairline streaks or scratches to the entire surface of the metal.

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