What to look for when buying a Gold Chain
There are plenty of options available for shoppers looking to buy gold chains - we aim to look at the kind of questions that these shoppers should be asking.
How often will I wear the chain?
If you are looking for a chain to wear on a regular basis then you should look at a more strong and durable design, and you should probably stay away from hollow chain designs as they don't tend to be as strong.
What different designs are available?
Curb - The links of a curb chain interlock with each other when laid flat. This style of chain has the greatest variety of widths available.
Figaro - In this design a number of standard links (usually three) precede an elongated link all the way through.
Rope - These have an intertwining feature that is made to look like a rope. Rope chains have two main designs: a delicate version (straight rope) and a stronger designs (twisted rope)
Rolo - The links of a rolo chain are usually identical and often round.
Wheat - When oval and twisted oval links are connected and intertwined together. The result is an intricate chain with a great deal of visual texture. This is known as a wheat or spiga chain.
Snake - This design consists of a very tight-linked chain that has a round or square cross-section and has links that create a slight zigzag look. Whilst giving a fantastic smooth effect, they are also prone to catching on clothing and twisting or kinking.
Box - A box chain is made up of square links that are connected to create a smooth chain.
What material is the chain made of?
An important thing to consider when buying a gold chain is the purity of the gold. Chains will be offered in a variety of purities - 9ct (37.5% gold) 14ct (58.33% gold) 18ct (75% gold) 22ct (91.66% gold) 24ct (99.99%). Quite simply the higher the number of carats, the more gold there is.
22ct Yellow Gold Chain
Whilst it is great to have a 24ct gold chain, the properties of gold itself are such that it is very soft and is therefore not the most practical choice. We would therefore suggest 22ct or 18ct as the best balance between high gold purity and strength / durability. 22ct gold chains are often yellow (their natural colour) whereas 18ct chains provide more of a choice of colour with the gold itself being plated (which means there is a risk of it tarnishing eventually)
18ct White Gold Chain
It is also important to conisder gold purity if the wearer has any allergies - quite often to nickel. The lower the gold purity, the more nickel the chain may contain. If you have sensitive skin and are prone to allergies then it is wise to stick to 18ct chains or above.
How do I know the gold is real? Or is the indicated carat weight?
To verify how genuine gold sold in the UK is, all items above 1g in weight must be hallmarked - this is UK law. When a gold chain is hallmarked it shows that it has been independently tested and verified and therefore conforms to all legal standards of purity or fineness. A hallmark will tell you where the item has been purchased from, the metal and its purity fineness and an Assay Office mark to show where it was tested and hallmarked.
A Minar Jewellers hallmark on a gold bangle
You can find out more about hallmarking here
Is the chain solid, plated or hollow?
Solid gold chains are the most expensive option, but they are also the strongest and most durable.
Hollow chains are less expensive, but there is a potential problem with them: These chains are easy to break or dent, and if that happens, they are difficult to repair.
Plated gold chains are cheaper, but the plating will wear off after time, exposing the metal underneath, and you will need to have the chain replated if you want to restore its colour.
What kind of clasp does the chain have?
Another important factor when buying a chain is the type of clasp that comes with it. Lobster clasps are very popular as they are easy to release, are more durable, and are less likely to snag on clothing.
Hook Clasps are very easy to use, but maybe not as safe as lobster clasps.
The ring clasp is again a safe option but you might need help when putting on or removing your chain.
What length of chain should I get?
The length of chain that you choose to wear will emphasise different parts of the wearer's chest. For example a 16 inch chain will be closer to the neck line and will lie above the collarbone. The more common length, the 18 inch gold chain, will lie over the collar bones, and longer lengths will lie on the skin but also on clothing, and with the right choice of clothing it can have a dramatic effect.
Will there be a pendant on the chain?
If you are going to put some kind of pendant or charm on your gold chain, make sure it is strong enough to bear the additional weight, but not too thick or large so that the pendant is over powered. Box chains and wheat chains are good choices for this as they are both sturdy and relatively flexible.