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Rope Chains: Everything You Need To Know

A rope chain is a chain characterised by its unique twisted pattern and appearance that resembles a real rope. The chain consists of hundreds of small links that form the pattern of a rope. The chain itself reflects light super well and shines at any angle, making it one of the more lavish and bright types of chains. This makes rope chain necklaces one of the most popular styles of chains to have. The rope chain is also super durable and sturdy due to its link structure. 

silver rope chain

Silver Rope Chain by Sky Austria

The rope chain necklace was made popular by golden age rap groups in the Hip Hop community including RUN D.M.C and Eric B. & Rakim.

Thicker rope chains that range from 3mm+ are great as statement pieces and worn on their own. Thinner variations are great for pendants as they offer durability and strength to hold the weight of a pendant, or even for layering with other chains. 

How Is A Rope Chain Made?

A common misconception is that the rope chain necklace is made from individual strands that are just woven together, this is not the case. 

Rope necklace consist of hundreds of individual links that are joined together to create a rope-like chain effect. Here's a basic overview of how to rope chain necklaces are made. 

  1. Starts with the melting of the desired metal for the rope chain. This can be precious metals such as silver or gold or non-precious metals such as stainless steel. This is up to personal preference. 
  2. The chunk of metal is then thinned gradually using a machine and specialist equipment, creating a super long and thin strand of metal. 
  3. The strand of metal is then wrapped around a thicker rod over and over to form a spiral. 
  4. The spiral metal is then cut down on one side to form individual c shaped links. 
  5. Each individual c shaped metal link was put on pliers and pushed down to open up the links. Most commonly round nose pliers are used for this. 
  6. Each c-shaped link is joined together side to side parallel and level to each other and heated with a blow torch to stay together. 
  7. For the third c-shaped link, the link is put together with the first link not the second. 
  8. The fourth link then goes through the first two links that were put together, processes are repeated and c links are added continuously. 
  9. Once the links are together and the chain is at the desired length, they are soldered together. 
  10. The jeweler will usually add a clasp to the rope chain, the most common being the lobster clasp.
  11. The whole chains is then warmed up and put into acid.
  12. Then the chain is sent for polishing. 


Are Rope Chains Durable?

Rope chains are one of the more long-lasting and durable styles of chains and can last years without needing repair or fixing. However, the durability of your rope chain will depend on a number of factors. 

A hollow link rope chain in general tends to be less durable and heavy than a solid link chain. Another consideration is the metal material the rope chain necklace is made of, stainless steel rope chains are much more durable in comparison to sterling silver and solid gold for example. The final factor that determines a rope chain's durability is its thickness, a 2mm rope chain is more likely to get caught on something and break than a 3mm or 5mm rope chain. 

Are Rope Chains Good For Pendants?

The rope chain necklace as it is is a super classic and loved chain. Rope chains don't kink or break as easily as other types and are durable enough to withstand the weight of a super heavy pendant. Additionally, this chain comes in various sizes, lengths and colours (silver, gold, rose gold)  that match any pendant or outfit. That’s why we believe the rope chain is one of the best types of chains for a pendant. we even decided to use a rope chain for our new Icarus pendant because they are that good!

gold icarus pendant

To learn more about the chains for pendants, check out our blog post about the best chain type for pendants

Are Rope Chains In Style In 2022?

The rope chain is a style of chain that will never be out of style. Even in 2022 this chain is still loved and worn by many. 

Because of the rope chain's versatility and ability to match all outfits, this chain is a must-have even in 2022. Year after year this chain still remains the most popular type of chain necklace you can have. 

Can You Sleep With A Rope Chain On?

Flat chains including the herringbone chain or omega chain will tangle, kink and snap if slept with. The slightest movement and pressure caused during sleeping will cause irreversible damage to the chains. 

One benefit of the rope chain necklace is that as it is, it almost never kinks. Even when the rope chain is bent into compromised positions, the chain still never kinks. This makes the chain perfect to wear whilst you sleep. 

How Do You Clean A Rope Chain?

  1. Add mild dishwashing soap into a bowl of hot water, mix it up and get the solution foamy 
  2. Then using a soft toothbrush dip it into the solution and gently brush over the rope chain to get rid of grime and dirt. 
  3. Once finished brushing over the rope chain, rinse the chain in lukewarm water. 
  4. Then leave the rope chain to air dry or dry it with paper towels.

Can You Fix A Broken Rope Chain?

silver rope chain

A broken rope chain can be taken to a jeweller for repair, this is briefly how they would go about fixing it if you sent it in. 

  • They would snip the broken ends of the chain with an end cutter until they had two clean ends. 
  • Then they would cut those ends with snips and create half-millimetre gaps on the links at the two ends.
  • Then most jewellers would try to weave the two ends together and solder them. 

Are Rope Chains Hollow? 

Not all rope chains are hollow. Rope chains come in both hollow and solid-linked variations.

Solid rope chains, better known as solid gold rope chains, come in variations including solid gold, gold-filled and gold-plated. Despite the variation in the amount of gold, the solid rope chain necklace is known to be solid as each individual is filled. 

Hollow rope chains are different in that each individual link of this type of rope chain is hollow like a tube. This reduces the amount of gold or metal actually used in the chain, reducing costs for both the jeweller and the customer. This also allows manufacturers to mass produce these rope chains using gold or metal at much more affordable prices, whilst maintaining quality.

Differentiating a solid and hollow gold rope chain is quite simple, below are some characteristics you want to look out for. 

  • Feel the weight - solid gold rope chains are much heavier than hollow
  • Price - solid gold rope chains cost more as they have more gold in comparison to hollow rope chains
  • Check strength - solid gold rope chains feel much sturdier than hollow ones
  • Check hallmark - a real gold rope chain will have a hallmark on the clasp, however, a plated one doesn’t necessarily need to have one.


Rope Chain vs Cuban Chain: Which One Is Better?

Deciding on the rope chain vs cuban chain depends on a variety of factors. Rope chains are better for those looking for a shiny chain that offers durability and timelessness and is relatively inexpensive. The Cuban chain would be better for those looking for a bold chain that is lightweight but still offers durability, is timeless and easy to repair. 

Find our more about the pros and cons of each of these chains by reading our blog post which compares the Cuban chain to the rope chain


Which Chain Should I Get, The Tennis Chain Or The Rope Chain?

Deciding between the Tennis Chain or rope chain will depend on your personal preferences as well as how you plan on styling it. 

For those looking for a highly durable chain that will last them a lifetime, won't cost them an arm and a leg and works well with both smart and causal outfits, the rope chain is the ideal chain for you. 

If you are looking to get a statement piece chain then the tennis chain is for you. This chain shines like no other chain can and is the perfect piece worn on it's own. 

To get a more in-depth comparison between the two chains, have a read at our tennis chain vs rope chain blog


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