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Chain Necklaces

The beauty of an antique chain necklace lies in its air of eternity. This quality, combined with the relative ease of manufacture, made chain link necklaces an attractive type of adornment early in the ancient world.

These first chains, made from simple loops of gold or silver, were popular among the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean as a symbol of affluence as well as eternity. Over time, the chain links became increasingly refined, with jewelers developing different link gauges, or sizes, as well as discovering ways to dangle pendants or beads from individual loops.

Over time, the chain link necklace evolved into a wide variety of chain link styles, from the simple trace link, which consists of delicate rounded rings, to the more intricate herringbone, in which links are woven together to create a luminous, seemingly liquid strand of metal.


Quick Facts

  • Surviving ancient Roman and Egyptian chain jewelry from the 5th-7th centuries A.D. includes the more complex body chain styles. These extended necklaces wrapped around both the neck and the torso, literally wrapping the body in lustrous gold
  • In addition to signifying eternity, the chain also became a symbol of strength and industry. Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, for example, was known to sketch prototypes for chain links amid his designs for engineering innovations
  • Also during the Renaissance, Venetian jewelry designers developed a link style made from thin gold wire rings that were joined and then looped through another set to create a woven or mesh motif. This technique, originally known as “entrecosei,” is better known today by its simplified cousin, the Venetian link chain

Recommended Items at Auction

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Gold Chains
Mar 02, 9:00 AM EST
Gold Chains
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$85028 Bids
14k Gold Mariner Link Chain
Mar 01, 9:00 AM MST
14k Gold Mariner Link Chain
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$65012 Bids
14K Gold Chain / Necklace
Mar 01, 8:30 AM EST
14K Gold Chain / Necklace
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $230- $330
$22511 Bids
18K Gold Chain (28.4g)
Mar 01, 8:30 AM EST
18K Gold Chain (28.4g)
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $1,300- $1,600
$1,0009 Bids
18ct gold Figaro link neck chain, hollow links. Weight 42.59g. Length 90cm.
Mar 10, 7:00 PM AEDT
18ct gold Figaro link neck chain, hollow links. Weight 42.59g. Length 90cm.
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD4009 Bids
14K Yellow Gold Box Chain Necklace
Mar 03, 10:00 AM EST
14K Yellow Gold Box Chain Necklace
by Paul Arsenault Auctioneers
Est: $0- $0
$457 Bids
Gold Chains
Mar 02, 9:00 AM EST
Gold Chains
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$4406 Bids
Taxco Mexico Sterling Silver Cuban Link Necklace
Mar 01, 9:00 AM MST
Taxco Mexico Sterling Silver Cuban Link Necklace
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $75- $125
$456 Bids
(2) 14K Scrap Rope Chain Link Necklaces
Mar 02, 10:00 AM MST
(2) 14K Scrap Rope Chain Link Necklaces
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$2006 Bids
14K Gold Panther Link Necklace
Mar 01, 8:30 AM EST
14K Gold Panther Link Necklace
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $880- $1,080
$6005 Bids
Lot of Four Sterling Necklaces
Mar 03, 10:00 AM EST
Lot of Four Sterling Necklaces
by Paul Arsenault Auctioneers
Est: $0- $0
$204 Bids
14K Yellow Gold Herringbone Chain Necklace
Mar 03, 10:00 AM EST
14K Yellow Gold Herringbone Chain Necklace
by Paul Arsenault Auctioneers
Est: $0- $0
$254 Bids
Two Gold Chain Necklaces
Mar 01, 8:30 AM EST
Two Gold Chain Necklaces
by Keystone Auctions LLC
Est: $150- $250
$504 Bids
Sterling Silver Ball Link Necklace
Mar 01, 9:00 AM MST
Sterling Silver Ball Link Necklace
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $25- $50
$203 Bids
14K Yellow Gold Chunky Curb Link Chain
Mar 03, 10:00 AM EST
14K Yellow Gold Chunky Curb Link Chain
by Paul Arsenault Auctioneers
Est: $0- $0
$303 Bids
Georg Jensen sterling silver no. 166 necklace designed by Ibe Dahlquist.
Mar 07, 1:00 PM CET
Georg Jensen sterling silver no. 166 necklace designed by Ibe Dahlquist.
by Goudwisselkantoor Veilingen
Est: €400- €600
€803 Bids
14K GOLD BOX CHAIN NECKLACE
Mar 02, 9:00 AM CST
14K GOLD BOX CHAIN NECKLACE
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $100- $300
$703 Bids
Tony White Sterling Silver fancy link neck chain, Weight 45g. Length 75g.
Mar 10, 7:00 PM AEDT
Tony White Sterling Silver fancy link neck chain, Weight 45g. Length 75g.
by Bargain Hunt Auctions
Est: AUD0- AUD0
AUD1103 Bids
14K GOLD REVERSIBLE WHITE GOLD OMEGA CHAIN NECKLACE
Mar 02, 9:00 AM CST
14K GOLD REVERSIBLE WHITE GOLD OMEGA CHAIN NECKLACE
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$6003 Bids
Cordão em ouro de 800 milésimos, de 208 cm. Com contraste do Gondomar, em uso de 1900 a 1913. Peso aprox.: 71,5 g.
Mar 04, 7:00 PM WET
Cordão em ouro de 800 milésimos, de 208 cm. Com contraste do Gondomar, em uso de 1900 a 1913. Peso aprox.: 71,5 g.
by Palácio do Correio Velho
Est: €2,400- €4,800
€2,8003 Bids
Large Lot of Sterling Silver Necklaces
Mar 10, 10:00 AM EST
Large Lot of Sterling Silver Necklaces
by World Auction Gallery
Est: $250- $300
$1502 Bids
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(2) 14K BOX LINK NECKCHAINS
Mar 07, 5:00 PM EST
(2) 14K BOX LINK NECKCHAINS
by Leighton Galleries
Est: $200- $225
$1252 Bids
Trancelim em ouro de 800 ml, malha com elos filigranados, contraste do Porto 1938-84. Comp. 200 cm; Peso 50,4 g.
Mar 04, 7:00 PM WET
Trancelim em ouro de 800 ml, malha com elos filigranados, contraste do Porto 1938-84. Comp. 200 cm; Peso 50,4 g.
by Palácio do Correio Velho
Est: €1,600- €3,200
€1,8002 Bids
ANTIQUE 14K GOLD VICTORIAN CHAIN, 48”L.
Mar 06, 10:00 AM EST
ANTIQUE 14K GOLD VICTORIAN CHAIN, 48”L.
by William Smith Auctions
Est: $1,500- $2,000
$7502 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chain Necklaces


Berner's Auction Gallery

Berner's Auction Gallery

Weatherham Estate Treasures

Weatherham Estate Treasures

Easterly Auction Company

Easterly Auction Company