Rope chains: A classic accessory bringing new life to 2021 fashion...
Chains have been a jewelry staple for decades, and they’re an easy way to spice up your look without going overboard. Whether you choose to layer your chains or don a thin, barely-there style, these necklaces offer everything from a touch of glam to an eye-popping amount of bling.😎 Rope chains are particularly popular as they look great in all settings and pair well with other accessories.
Today, let’s discuss:
- The definition of a rope chain
- 8 rope chains we think you’ll adore
- What to look for when purchasing your own rope chain
- How to clean your chain jewelry
Understanding the basics of rope chains
There are so many chain variations available on the market today that it can be hard to distinguish between them! Let’s take a brief moment to discuss rope chains and how they compare to other popular styles with a similar design.
What does a rope chain look like?
Jewelry makers form rope chains by attaching one link to several links at a time, which are subsequently attached to even more links.
This chain of links forms a ropelike structure, and craftsmen can use thinner or thicker links to completely change up the size of the full chain. Rope chains can come in any size, such as 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, and 5mm.
The use of multiple links is what makes a rope chain so strong. Not only can the structure itself hold weight with ease, but breaking one link does not destroy the whole chain. The many intertwined links create failsafes that protect the chain from breaking unexpectedly.
How to tell the difference between a rope chain and similar styles
So how can you tell rope chains apart from similar styles? Let’s look at two other chain types commonly confused with rope chains for more clarity:
While similar to rope chains in durability, Spiga chains offer a bit more strength than rope chains overall. As such, Spiga chains work well with pendants and charms.
This added strength comes from the link design and how they intertwine. Rather than the round links found in a rope chain, Spiga chains have figure 8 style links that connect to the two links above and below each one. As a result, each link is supported in multiple directions, and link thickness can add to the durability of Spiga chains.
While rope chains have a shape reminiscent of a long double helix, Spiga or “wheat chains” actually look like a long rope made from heads of grain.
Taking the name of an entire empire, Byzantine chains are more elaborate than rope chains. They make great standalone pieces without extra adornments, excelling as bracelets and necklaces.
Similar to both the Spiga and rope chains, the Byzantine chain combines several links in each section to produce a strong product. Each link is attached to 4 others, passing through them in alternate directions to create a three-dimensional design. However, some jewelers offer flat Byzantine chains as well.
This 4-way connection between the links provides extra hold, and the design itself is something out of a history book. The links bend in every direction, offering texture in pieces with larger links and a subtle beauty in those with smaller links.
A 360 view of rope chains
Having a hard time visualizing the appeal of rope chains? Here’s a 360° animation of just what to expect from a gold rope chain:💫 (Drag to spin👇🏻)
- Monily 18K Gold Plated Rope Chain: Amazon’s Choice rope chain with over 12,000 reviews!
- Miabella 18K Gold Plated Sterling Silver Rope Chain: Lightweight and diamond-cut, great for beginners or children.
- Lifetime Jewelry 24K Gold Plated Rope Chain: Offers 24K gold plating and superior craftsmanship with a lifetime guarantee.
- Lifetime Jewelry 7mm 24K Gold Rope Chain: Has all of the benefits of the above chain with a thicker, chunkier style that’s ideal for flashier looks.
- Blue Nile 14K Gold Rope Chain: Classic rope chain from a well-respected company that’s best for wearers with sensitive skin.
- The Gold Gods 4mm Rope Chain: Made by a top name in hip-hop jewelry and pairs well with bling and pendants.
- Hawaiian Silver Jewelry 14K Rose Gold Plated Rope Chain: Best women’s rope chain and offers lightweight, snag-free wear.
- Savlano Sterling Silver 6mm Rope Chain: Best men’s rope chain and great for buyers that are new to wearing hip-hop accessories.
What to look for when buying a rope chain
How can you find the best rope chain for your needs? Let’s look at some common features that vary piece-to-piece that you should research before buying a rope chain:📝
As we mentioned above, rope chains can come in various widths. The width of your chain is crucial to its overall aesthetic, and thinner and thicker chains can completely alter your style.
The size difference between thinner and thicker chains is very visible, even between these two 14K yellow gold chains in 1.5mm and 4mm! For those wearers interested in hip-hop culture, a single, thick rope chain is a great introduction to the style.
Thinner rope chains are ideal for casual looks, particularly for women. The sleeker design is more elegant and feminine, and a pendant can easily be added for further customization. Your hair length should also be a factor, as longer hair can get caught in the wider gaps of thicker rope chain designs.👩🏻🦰
For men, larger chains may be more appealing, as they bring a broader appeal to the chest. Or, men may prefer to layer their rope chains and combine thicker and thinner styles for a more “blinged-out” style.
Type of Metal
Metals come in all levels of durability, and it’s important to understand the differences when shopping for a rope chain. Metal type also impacts price, as platinum and gold cost much more than stainless steel and silver options. Think about how much work you want to put into your chain, as investing in a stronger metal upfront may save you money on cleanings in the long run!
The metal color of your rope chain is also crucial to your chosen style. In addition to white-gray metals like silver, platinum, and white gold, some wearers prefer the sunnier tones of yellow and rose gold. This rose gold rope chain is a subtle yet feminine way to dress up any outfit, and it offers a different aesthetic than this pricey platinum rope chain.
If you have sensitive skin, certain metals are hypoallergenic and offer long-term, comfortable wear as well. Platinum, some types of gold, and stainless steel are just a few options that are hypoallergenic. However, some people are allergic to the copper and nickel found in sterling silver alloy, so if you tend to get itchy skin, spend a little extra for a nice chain or stick with stainless steel!
No one likes buying a beautiful new necklace only to realize the clasp is faulty. Make sure your new rope chain necklace has a sturdy claw to keep the piece around your neck, as rope chains are heavier than other styles!
This is especially important for thicker rope chains, and a cheap metal claw can easily break under the weight of the piece. When shopping for rope chains, stick to durable metals to avoid clasps that just can’t handle the job.
Our recommendations: 8 quality rope chains plus reviews
If you’re looking for quality rope chains at reasonable prices, we have 8 solid chains we’d like to recommend:
Monily 18K Gold Plated Rope Chain
This rope chain is an Amazon’s Choice listing with over 12,000 reviews! This is a gold-plated stainless steel chain, which means it’s hypoallergenic and affordable given the small amount of gold used during the electroplating process. There are also multiple lengths and widths to choose from, but a 3mm rope chain is perfect for new wearers.
Reasons to buy:
- Affordable price
- Great starter chain
- Multiple chain length and width options
- Durable enough for pendants
Miabella 18K Gold Plated Sterling Silver Rope Chain
Another great rope chain for beginners, this product costs slightly more due to the solid sterling silver core. Gold plated and diamond-cut, this chain adds an extra layer of texture to your look and doesn’t fade over time.
Reviewers noted the chain has a more delicate appeal even at varying widths, so this style is perfect for women and children or wearers who prefer lightweight wear. There are also several chain lengths and widths available for varied looks, and some buyers even suggest layering these chains for a more “blingy” aesthetic!🤩
Lifetime Jewelry 24K Gold Plated Rope Chain
Crafted by a small, family-run business, this rope chain is made from quality materials and offers a personal touch you can’t get with commercial options. 🏇🏻The 24K gold plating is bright and appealing, and a purer gold layer means this chain is higher in hypoallergenicity.
If you’re not a fan of yellow gold, you’re in luck! This rope chain actually comes in both yellow and white gold, and there are multiple length options to create layered looks.
Reasons to buy:
- 24K gold plating adds extra luster
- Affordable price
- Lifetime replacement guarantee
- 20x more durable build with thicker electroplated layer
Lifetime Jewelry 7mm 24K Gold Rope Chain
If you love the superior craftsmanship of Lifetime Jewelry but need a bigger chain, try their 7mm version instead. The 7mm rope chain has all of the same benefits as the 4mm product, but it makes a much bolder statement with every outfit.
The 7mm rope chain comes in both yellow and white gold and is incredibly popular among men and rappers or performers seeking a wide style with a classic fit.🤸🏻♂️ Don’t forget about the lifetime guarantee on this brand’s jewelry!
Blue Nile 14K Gold Rope Chain
A well-known name in jewelry, Blue Nile offers their take on rope chains with this piece. This chain is exceptionally thin and lightweight, and it looks as great in layered looks as it does with a pendant.
This rope chain is solid 14K gold, and Blue Nile offers both yellow and white gold options to fit your style!
Reasons to buy:
- Backed by Blue Nile service package and exceptional customer service
- Solid gold construction for added durability
- Thin, lightweight design perfect for switching out pendants with each wear
- Multiple lengths available
The Gold Gods 4mm Rope Chain
Another piece from a well-respected name, The Gold Gods are a professional hip-hop jewelry brand serving up quality, eye-catching products for all tastes. This 4mm rope chain is 14K yellow gold plated and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. There are also plenty of matching pendants on the website if you’re looking for a little extra bling!
The Gold Gods offer lifetime warranties on all products, so if your chain ever fades or breaks you can replace it for free. Additionally, buyers love the multiple lengths they can choose from, and the well-constructed clasp means you’ll never have to worry about your rope chain falling off.
Hawaiian Silver Jewelry 14K Rose Gold Plated Rope Chain
For wearers who love to feel pretty in pink, this rose gold rope chain will spice up your wardrobe! Made in Italy, this chain has a sterling silver core plated in 14K rose gold that gives it a rosy hue.
The chain is 1.3mm, so it offers a daintier feel than some of our other selections. The diamond-cut also provides additional sparkle that fits both casual and formal occasions.
Reasons to buy:
- Affordable Price
- Multiple lengths available
- Nickel-free for hypoallergenicity
- Thin chain perfect for pendants
- Durable and “snag free” for long hair
Savlano Sterling Silver 6mm Rope Chain
A pricier option, this sterling silver rope chain is certainly worth the extra cash. It’s ideal for those who prefer a thicker chain, and it comes in several lengths to fit your body. Unlike plated pieces, this chain is pure sterling silver, meaning it will require a bit of extra polishing but will last a lifetime.
Men love this diamond-cut rope chain for its modern appeal and “iced out” shine.👦🏻 Plus, sterling silver is heavy and durable, meaning your chain will “feel” expensive even if it's not!
How to clean and care for your rope chains
To maintain your chain’s strength and shine, be sure to clean it regularly! Keep your jewelry sparkling with these simple cleaning methods:
Classic method: Soap and water
Cleaning your gold in soap and water is a tried and true way to restore shine. First, place a few drops of dish liquid in a container and add warm water.
Next, let your chain sit in the mix for a few minutes. We recommend about 15-20 minutes of soaking.
Then, remove your chain and gently brush every surface and nook with a soft toothbrush. The light scrubbing scrapes away any buildup of skin, chemicals, and other irritants.
Finally, rinse your chain and dry it with a soft, lint-free towel. If you have a non-abrasive cloth at home, you can use it to buff your chain for added shine.
Professional method: Ultrasonic cleaner
If you can afford a slightly stronger cleaning option, try an ultrasonic cleaner instead. At only $40-100, an ultrasonic cleaner is a minor investment for consistently clean chains!
Ultrasonic cleaners work by adding jewelry to water-soluble solutions and creating ultrasonic waves that produce microbubbles. These microbubbles remove any dirt or irritants on your jewelry, reaching places even a soft toothbrush can’t.
To use an ultrasonic cleaner, simply add your chains to the solution and turn the machine on for the suggested amount of time. Then, wipe them off once the cleaning cycle has completed and you’re ready to go!
Be careful when using an ultrasonic cleaner, as your chains may be hot when removed. It’s best to use tongs with rubber tips to remove any jewelry and avoid scratches.
Additionally, if your chain has any diamonds, check your stone’s grading report to ensure it wasn’t treated and is free of any problematic inclusions, as diamonds can be damaged if not properly handled in an ultrasonic cleaner.
Gold method only: Boiling your chains
If you have gold chains, you can boil them for a fast, effective cleaning method. However, do NOT put your precious metals directly in the pot on the stove!
Once you’ve boiled some water, pour it over your chain as it sits in a container. You’ll want to utilize a metal or glass container, as a plastic or cardboard one may disintegrate.
Then, leave your chain in the water until it is lukewarm. At this point, you can remove your chain and dry it off with a lint-free towel. Be sure to only use this method on your gold items! ⚠️We also don’t recommend this method for gold-plated jewelry.
Rapping up with rope chains
A rope chain is an affordable way to change your look for every occasion. Mixing metals, adding diamonds, and changing chain lengths are a few ways you can customize your look each day with rope chains, and everyone will think you’ve got the largest collection of jewelry they’ve ever seen! Since most designs from reputable stores are durable, you’ll be able to change up your look for years to come to ride the constantly changing waves of fashion.
Are you interested in learning more about chain styles? Read our article regarding popular necklace chains here!