Join the chain gang with jewels laden with links

© Written by Rachael Taylor for JewelleryNetAsia

Chains are one of the oldest and most loved pieces of jewellery, and have been worn in many guises, often as support to another jewel such as a charm or pendant. Right now the humble chain is very much in vogue, and is playing a starring role in new designs.

While there are many different variations of chain in jewellery design, the one of most of interest to us for this trend is curb-link chain, created when the links are twisted together and then beaten flat on top. It is a classic look that has in recent times been associated with the heavy gold chains favoured by rappers.

For some this association with hip hop and big bling may be off putting when considering a fine jewellery purchase, but for those with a sense of humour and a keen eye for style it is this very ironic charm that is leading us back to the curb link. And there are many new ways to wear it.

Chunky chains

The easiest way to get involved with this trend is to stick true to its original format – a simple, chunky chain. Many jewellery houses are including heavy link chains in collections, most notably with bracelets. Givenchy has tried to lighten the mood with a shark’s tooth charm on its bracelet, while Chloe has added something akin to a branded, oversized bar, and Ann Dexter-Jones has fallen back on that oh-so-classic combination of ID bracelet and heavy curb-link chain, allowing for customisation through engraving.

Mixed material

Heavy curb-link chains are very masculine and as this trend is mostly directed at ladies, an easy way to add femininity and colour is to weave in some bright material. Matthew Williamson has kept his Black Butterfly necklace muted with black fabric interwoven with the links, while Ben-Amun has created a vibrant bib necklace decorated with red thread, faux pearls and other trinkets that has a curb-link chain running through its centre. And in a new twist on the friendship bracelet, Marc by Marc Jacobs has tied a short length of curbed links to a colourful string fastening that truly lifts the chain into summer wear.

Fine jewellery

This is not just a trend occupying the attentions of the fashion houses; fine jewellery has been taking note too. Roberto Coin has created some spectacularly heavy curb-link chain-style gold rings studded with diamonds in its main collection, while Le Vian runs a diamond and rose gold curb-link chain-inspired design diagonally over a rose gold and brown diamond ring. Mattia Ciello has also created some heavy link chains in rose gold and diamonds, and more interestingly carbon and diamonds.


As well as the faithful reproductions of this jewellery-box staple, some designers have taken a more abstract approach. David Webb has used hammered gold nails in place or traditional links in his bracelet design, while Roberto Coin’s fashion-forward diffusion line Fifth Season has created a range that features what appears to be curb links but stretched and pointed beyond their normal proportions.

This article was originally published on JewelleryNetAsia on 20.05.15. I write a weekly column for this website about global jewellery trends. 

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