All About Ball Chains

Updated: Jun 25, 2019

Ball chains, also known as bead chains, are comprised of a series of identical metal balls connected by wire. The balls themselves are hollow and pierced with small holes in order to receive the wire and join them together to form a chain. Rather than being strung along a single string of wire, the balls are actually attached with separate lengths of wire which are threaded through the holes and twisted, bent or riveted on each end in order to keep them attached to the ball. Each ball and wire is then attached to another to form a chain of any desired length; this also means the chain can be cut at any point without the balls simply falling off the wire.

DIAGRAM OF A BALL CHAIN - HOW IT WORKS

Unlike finer or more intricate chains, ball chains are unlikely to become kinked as each link swivels independently and can be easily untangled. This also means however that the chain is weaker compared to others and can’t withstand great force or particularly heavy weights.

Ball chains are most commonly found in sterling silver but can be plated in gold or other metals for a more colourful or sophisticated look. Stainless steel can also be used as a cheaper and durable replacement for silver.


You’ll find ball chains when you’re pulling blinds, starting a ceiling fan or to stop you from stealing that pen at the bank or post office. But for our purposes in the jewellery world the small uniform balls create a simple and repetitive design which draws attention away from the chain making it ideal for attaching charms and pendants. It is also the iconic chain that is paired with dog tags.


The ball chain has remained more or less unchanged since its inception thanks to its simplistic and versatile design though a recent innovation which involves diamond cutting facets into the balls has been creeping into the repertoires of fashion houses and independent jewellers alike. These facets create an almost disco ball like effect catching and reflecting light for an added sparkle to the chain. While smaller balls are the more popular and common option, the design can be scaled up to meet specific needs or taste and larger beads and a chunky wire can make a statement by itself. (Take a look at the difference between our SBC150 and SBC600 for example).

For the full range of our ball chains visit 925jewellery.co.uk……

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