Trace chains are made in much the same way as the simpler chain designs like Cable or Belcher chains. Links of uniform breadth and thickness, usually small and oval in shape, are joined together one after the other to form a chain.


The origin of this chain’s name is unknown though a couple of theories and connections do exist. The first two are etymological with the word itself referring to how small and fine the chain is, as in “trace of (a) chain”, or alternatively how each link traces and follows the next in the sequence. The other theory is that like the Curb chain, the Trace chain has an equestrian root and was originally one of the many chains used to harness horses and similar animals to farm equipment or carriages. As there is not a direct link here the usage is probably just coincidence and the real origin is more likely connected to the word itself.


Although the Trace chain is by all means a simple chain in design, its definition is slightly complicated as some jewellers refer to any style of chain below a certain thickness or width threshold as a trace chain rather than a single specific design. Using this definition the trace is not its own style of chain but just a subcategory of another style. Very little separates Trace chains from smaller versions of other chains, as they are in essence the same design but scaled down. For the sake of simplicity it can be easier to refer to all smaller and very fine chains as trace because the unique designs which define these chains are sometimes lost when made this small. The actual design of the trace chain depends on which other chain it is based on, which also means it carries the same properties as them as well. This means that you can have trace versions of cable, curb or even Figaro chains.


By definition they are not found in larger sizes so the uses are limited. Used to fill out or accentuate other chains worn arranged in a sequence or layered around the neck or wrists with other chains. Trace chains can also be found diamond cut for a small eye-catching chain with a sparkle. The most common use for the Trace chain however is as an inexpensive and simple option for hanging charms and pendants as the size means most pendant loops or bails will fit this type of chain. But because they are so small the chains do not weigh very much and can’t withstand particularly heavy weights. The minute widths and fine nature also means that these chains can easily tangle which is something to bear in mind when wearing or storing these chains. But if you’re looking for a lightweight, reliable and cost-effective chain that still looks good, then you can’t go far wrong with a Trace chain.

Unlike most chains which feature similarly sized links the Figaro’s unique design element is its single larger elongated oval link followed by a number of small rounded links. This makes the chain easily recognisable as the repeating designs of other chains, from which the Figaro draws inspiration, are interrupted every so often by the Figaro’s elongated link.



The name of this chain is thought to have come from the main character, Figaro, in the operas “The Barber of Seville” and “The Marriage of Figaro”. Both of which were extremely popular in Italy in the 18th century. Although the Italians were probably not the first to think of making such a design, its usage and popularity within Italy and connection to Italian opera meant the name stuck and still has a strong connection to the country and its jewellery industry today.

Figaro chains are most commonly associated with the curb chain in that they are both usually made of twisted and flattened links but this isn’t always the case and other variations still fall into the Figaro category. The multiple smaller links which make up the Figaro can be variations on curb, cable, trace or even belcher chains. These then contrast against the stretched link of the same design or an entirely different one. In this sense the Figaro can be thought of as a variation on existing chains rather than its own distinct chain design. The chain can even be found made up of single alternating short and long links further accentuating the differences between the sizes and designs but creating a simpler pattern overall. A benefit of the elongated link is that it can give the illusion of length, even with shorter chain sizes. The main point to remember though in what makes a Figaro chain is the differing number and shape of links throughout the chain’s length.

The Figaro can be seen as something of a mutant chain because of how the separate chain sections can look like two different designs randomly attached together. Despite this notion the Figaro’s segments don’t clash and actually complement each other with the final design appearing surprisingly visually balanced. Additionally the Figaro is often diamond cut to highlight flattened sections or to draw even more attention to the contrasting links. Diversity can be found in the number of links between the distinctive longer sections as well as the shape and size of the links. The same variations on the chains that make up the Figaro are also transferred, such as octagonal links sometimes found on curb chains.

The Figaro has a strong association with men’s jewellery, again due to a connection with its possible Italian origins and in centuries gone by one could perhaps find rows of upper-class Italian gentlemen in the theatre wearing Figaro style chains while watching Figaro in action. The chain has since found its way into women’s fashion as well as remaining a consistently popular option for men today. Available in a variety of widths, sizes and lengths in Sterling Silver and 9ct Gold, view our full collection of Figaro chains at https://www.925jewellery.co.uk/productlist.php?Group=15&sb=1&st=&ftr0=96



The belcher is a simple chain with simple, singular links but that’s where the simplicity about belchers ends.


Firstly, there is a lot of confusion over the origin of its name. The most believable explanation claims it to have derived from belcher scarves and rings. The shape of these rings, used to tighten the scarf or worn on the hand, was simply copied and multiplied into chain form so the theory goes. It may also have been named after the 19th century bare knuckle boxer James Belcher who lived around the same time that the chain is thought to have been created, and who the aforementioned scarf was likely named after.


Confusion is also abundant when it comes to the definition of the design itself. Some jewellers claim it to be a chain where the links are wider than its thickness, while others claim that it has to be created from broad D-shaped wire. In fact both are correct as in a standard belcher design the use of D-shaped wire would create a chain where the links are wider than its thickness by default, which is the definition we follow. But as the chain can be found in oval, round and box shapes the matter is only complicated further. One thing can be agreed on though and that is that the belcher is a classic British chain, perhaps even originating in Birmingham’s very own Jewellery Quarter.

Birmingham's Historic Jewellery Quarter

When pulled taught each link alternates 180 degrees to the next making a simple design which is sturdy, strong and less prone to breaking. Because of this it is often mistaken for or grouped with trace and cable chain though they are not the same thing. The name is sometimes used interchangeably with rolo chain but this is more common for the rounded versions of belchers and is more similar to cable chains with uniform sized links.




Historically associated with men’s fashion due to the chain’s initial standard being heavier and with thicker links, the belcher has since developed a more universal appeal due to its simplicity and many potential variations. Thinner belchers with closer links make a delicate chain excellent for charm bracelets or showing off pendants on necklets. Alternatively, the traditional wider and chunky links create a robust looking chain suitable for adorning larger and heavier accessories or simply worn alone for a restrained and refined look.


Available in sterling silver and gold, browse our extensive collection of belcher chains at 925jewellery.co.uk

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