How to Determine the Quality of a Jewelry Chain – A Buyer’s Checklist

Some key indicators can help determine the quality of a jewelry chain. Some are evident at first glance, while others can be missed when examining a piece in person or at a photograph online.

Gold and silver are much heavier metals than their imitation counterparts, like brass or pewter. If a gold chain feels surprisingly lightweight, it is likely hollow, plated, and not solid gold.

The Metal

The metal used in a jewelry chain is an important aspect to consider. Some producers, for instance, choose to use plated metals instead of genuine ones to save money and time. These chains are very likely to discolor due to being in contact with your skin all the time, and they may not be as durable as those made with pure metals.

Real gold is a precious metal, and its purity is indicated by the hallmark on the piece. This mark is usually hidden on the back of the pendant, inside the ring, and close to a bracelet or necklace clasp.

Some pure metals are too soft in their elemental form, so jewelers add other elements to make them stronger and more complex. This is called alloying, and a hallmark can also indicate the percentage of gold in a jewelry chain. Therefore, real gold is non-magnetic and should not be attracted by a magnet.

The Finish

Depending on the style, jewelry chain links can be flattened or textured to change their look. Curb chains, for example, have twisted, flattened links that interlock tightly. They are available in fine formations for delicate charm necklaces or thicker variations, making them the perfect foundation for a statement bracelet.

Brushed finishes also give a more rustic feel and allow the wearer to feel the stroke marks. Regardless of the finish, the chain should be soldered so that gaps cannot form, which can lead to chain breakage.

When examining a chain, a genuine gold or platinum piece should not show any signs of oxidation and should feel incredibly smooth and hefty. If the metal feels silvery and lacks a solid feel, it’s likely fake and not worth any money, even if it has a gold-colored appearance. Gold-plated and gold-filled jewelry can also be soldered, but these are less valuable than solid pieces of precious metal.

The Clasps

The clasp of a jewelry chain can play a vital role in a piece’s overall look and feel. A quality clasp will open and close quickly without causing friction or discomfort to the wearer. Ergonomic designs are also becoming increasingly common, catering to the needs of individuals with limited dexterity.

A lobster claw or spring ring is one of the most common types of clasps for a gold chain. These clasps feature a small ring with an open and closed spring mechanism. These are lightweight and work well with most jewelry designs, including heavier pieces.

Another popular type of clasp for a gold chain is a toggle clasp. These clasps are more decorative and usually found on higher-end jewelry pieces. They work with two fastening points – one is a decorative bar, and the other is a circular hook. The decorative bar is then inserted into the hook to create a small lock to hold the chain.

The Weight

The weight of a jewelry chain is an easy and reliable indicator of quality. Generally speaking, high-quality jewelry will weigh more than knock-offs, especially when made of precious metals like gold and silver.

If a chain feels light or hollow, it’s likely fake. A real gold chain will feel smooth, hefty, and consistent throughout. If you see a darker or even a silvery color showing through on portions that receive heavy wear, it’s most likely gold-plated and not very valuable.

Also, when shopping for a gold chain, choosing a reputable seller with name recognition and reviews for their products is a good idea. New businesses won’t have reviews, but the longer a company has been around, the more their reputation will have built up, and they’ll be less likely to sell fake products. Lastly, it’s helpful to know that some sellers will melt and scrap their chains, so it probably is if the jewelry you buy seems too cheap to be true.

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