Jewelry Trends

The Ultimate Gold-Chain Necklace Guide

L-R: Sarah Razanantsoa Mariager; Caroline Daur; Vera Van Erp

While a gold chain necklace has always been a staple of any fine-jewelry collection, its style credentials have positively soared in recent years. So, whether you can already differentiate a cable link from a Cuban like a pro, or you’re looking to invest in your first piece, here’s our guide to the chicest chains at NET-A-PORTER. By CHARLIE BOYD

A bi-color chain

Lauren Rubinski is the doyenne of the contemporary chain world and her weightless designs are crafted from 14-karat gold, yet feature hollow links to give a barely-there feel. Bi-color designs offer enormous versatility, perfectly blending into layers of white- or yellow-gold jewels with equal panache.

An asymmetric chain

Yvonne Léon’s signature dual-link chain feels ultra-modern, featuring a traditional trace chain on one side and elongated clip links on the other, yet united by a glittering diamond pendant. Pieces this delicate can be layered and layered upon each other – simply select whisker-fine chains with petite pendants that pepper the collarbone with sparkle for an easy evening look.

A clip chain

Jessica McCormack was inspired by the humble paperclip for her Gem Clip collection, which features rose gold contrasted with blackened gold and delicate diamond accents. McCormack’s chains have gained a cult following (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is a particular fan of her Ball n Chain line), and, offering the ultimate high-low jewel, they prove the perfect companions for a white tee and denim combo.

A diamond-set chain

For those who feel more comfortable wearing a traditional necklace than a chain, this 18-karat gold Jade Trau design offers all the personality of a classic multi-link chain but flaunts diamond accents that give a precious-pendant edge. Elongated links feel especially modern right now, and the intricate combination of differing-sized links is testament to the complexity of its design and craftsmanship.

A mixed-link chain

Foundrae – a New York-based brand that has made stylish, beautifully crafted chains its bread and butter – is the gold standard for chain-necklace design. Its founder, Beth Bugdaycay, has played with countless designs to dream up the perfect customizable system involving clips, charms and clasps that can be adorned with symbolic and precious talismans. This long-length chain with mixed links can swing low and loose like a medallion or be doubled up to adorn the entire décolletage.

Ellie Delphine
Darja Barannik

A Cuban chain

If the TV adaption of Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People popularized delicate curb chains (cue lead character Connell), then Victoria Pedretti – who plays Love Quinn Goldberg in the hit Netflix series You – is doing the same for chunky Cuban chains. Goldberg’s version features a double-strand design, contrasting an oversized Cuban with a finer version, creating an instant layering effect. Anita Ko’s ‘Hemingway’ curb-link chain is crafted from 18-karat gold and sits effortlessly on the collarbone – the perfect choice for bare-shouldered outfits.

A cable chain

David Yurman’s cable design is an icon of the New York-based maison. Individual strands of gold are expertly twisted into a helix, then sculpted into decorative links for this 18-karat gold chain necklace. The T-bar pendant adds an urban edge, with diamonds set on its surrounding links – it’s a statement piece that is best worn alone for maximum impact.

A choker chain

Shay’s choker chain is dusted with diamonds, with a striking 3.50 carats adding a potent sheen to each loop in this curb-link design. A choker should sit just above the collarbone, delivering the ideal accent for a round neckline. If you’re a necklace-layering pro, build up an entire chain story using a choker as your starting point or top layer, then select multiple pieces that graduate in drop length beneath to avoid a tangle.


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