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While the beads you use tend to have the biggest impact on the overall appearance of your creations, the chain matters, too. In addition to impacting the aesthetics of your design, the chain you choose can have a huge impact on how well the finished product withstands the test of time.
Gold and silver are the most common chain colors, and both are favorites among many consumers. While care always needs to be taken to ensure you are buying a chain which is appropriate for your project, shopping for gold can be especially difficult. If you are in the market for a gold chain for jewelry making, keep reading to learn how to pick the best one.
Unless you are making extremely high-end jewelry, you’ll likely be using gold-plated chains as opposed to solid gold. As the name suggests, a solid gold chain is made from, well, solid gold. A plated chain, however, is made from another metal that has been coated in genuine gold.
Gold plated chains cost significantly less than their solid gold alternatives. And thanks to modern plating techniques, they maintain their beautiful appearance for a long time, and they are difficult to tell apart from solid gold at a glance. While the plating can wear off over time, it is quite durable when properly cared for.
Gold-plated chains can be plated in various karats of gold. The most common options are 14kt and 22kt. With gold, the higher the karat, the softer the metal. However, higher numbers also mean greater purity. If you are concerned about nickel allergies or sensitivities, gold in a higher karat is the safest option. If allergies and sensitivities are not a concern, though, choosing a lower karat could make your chains less susceptible to scratches, scuffs and other types of damage.
Metal chains for jewelry can be made using many different types of links. While choosing a link type largely comes down to personal preference, there are a few other factors that should be taken into consideration before making a decision.
Some types of chains are prone to twisting, kinking or getting caught on clothing. Omega, herringbone and round snake chains are the types which are most likely to have these types of problems. If you are creating jewelry pieces which are likely to be worn frequently, they may not be your best options.
Consider how thick the links are, too. Generally, thinner, daintier links are preferred by women while men prefer heavier links. When determining how thick the links should be, you should also consider whether you will be placing a heavy pendant on the chain. If so, you’ll want to choose thicker links which can handle the additional weight.
Oval and twisted oval link chains are both good options, as is a rolo chain. These types are versatile enough to work well in many designs, and they are durable enough to withstand daily use.
When you are in the market for a jewelry-making chain, you may think all chains labeled as “gold” are identical in color. Think again. Gold comes in several different shades and hues, so it’s important to take the time to make sure you are purchasing the right one for your project. Ideally, it is best to purchase enough materials to complete your entire project at the same time. This ensures that you won’t run out of chain (or other supplies) and need to buy more which ends up not being a perfect match.
Buying from a trusted vendor who promises quality helps ensure color consistency, too.