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The History of Chain Jewelry


Chain jewelry has been well loved throughout history, and it’s also one of the most common types of jewelry available on the market. Whether it’s holding the beautiful diamond pendant you selected or gracing your wrist, what is the history of the chain?


What Is Chain Jewelry?

Chain jewelry is usually defined as a series of rings or links that are attached to each other. Chains do not just exist in jewelry, as they have been used to do everything from anchoring ships to docks to helping tires work in the snow throughout history.


The History of Chain

Chains date back to before 2500 BC, and they were first designed and created by the Egyptians. Gold was abundant in Greece at the time, so the Greeks also created early gold chains and adorned them with beautiful pendants. In the 8th century BC, strap chain was developed. This design involved strands of chain connected side by side to create a more flexible band that almost looked like fabric.

The elite members of the upper class started to wear jeweled chain jewelry in 300 BC. Over the course of the Renaissance period, numerous artists and designers modified the chain design, including Leonardo da Vinci. While medieval upper-class individuals chose to wear brooches as a status symbol, the pendant on a long, golden chain became the fashion in the Renaissance. Many wore pendants that were illustrated with scenes from the Bible, saints or landscapes.

In the 18th century, it became fashionable to use chains to hold muffs. The muff was a small roll of fur that ladies would place their hands in to keep warm. Muff chains were designed to hold the muff when it was not in use, and they are very similar to the mitten strings used today to prevent kids from losing their mittens!

Over time, the processes used to make chains have allowed for more elaborate and intricate designs. Today’s chain jewelry can take almost any shape or form that you can imagine!


Talk to the Experts at SAZ Gem & Jewelry Appraisal

Whether you have a family ring you are interested in learning the value of or you’re looking to expand your collection, SAZ Gem & Jewelry Appraisal is here to help. We know how to verify the authenticity of vintage jewels and can assist you before, during or after the purchasing process. For more information, give us a call at 425-785-1871.

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