A Brief History of Chain Necklaces

Chain necklaces are among the most popular styles of necklaces across the world and in many different cultures. They come in a variety of shapes, thicknesses, metal types and are a classic staple to signify both style and taste. But where does it come from, and why is it so significant? You might be wondering what the history of the chain necklace is, and the truth is that the history of the chain necklace is vast and deep in the human experience. These special pieces of jewelry represent wealth, taste and beauty, but also industry, ingenuity and intelligence. In this article, we’ll go over a brief history of the chain necklace and cover a few significant cultural landing points that have helped to solidify it in modern culture. There is certainly more to this history than we’ll cover here today, but keep reading for a brief history of the chain necklace! 

Chains are Ancient 

Chains are an ancient style of jewelry, and necklaces themselves go even farther back than that. Simple loop chains can be traced back to a number of ancient civilizations, from Babylon to China. Greeks and Romans are known to have worn chains of silver and gold, so these pieces of jewelry have a rich history throughout all cultures. In some cultures, chains and necklaces served not just a decorative purpose, but a spiritual one. Whether for worship or to ward off negative energy, these necklaces offered some connection to the spiritual world in a variety of cultures and iterations. The earliest chain necklaces date as far back as 2500 BC. 


When men’s suits were popular, so were pocket watches! And if you can imagine what a pocket watch looks like, they have chains connecting them to suit buttons. Chains in this case serve a slightly different purpose, but this helped offer different stylistic uses for chains aside from being worn as necklaces. At this time, chain necklaces were still popular but more so among women. The popularity of men’s suits led to a separation of style with men’s fashion being a little more mundane and women’s fashion being more elegant and flamboyant. Today, those dynamics have shifted dramatically and chains have been along for the ride the whole time. 

Tactile and Decorative 

One of the big reasons that chains have remained so popular is that they serve a few different purposes. On one hand, they are a decorative piece of jewelry that symbolizes wealth and stature. And on the other hand, they are a strong feat of engineering and are an incredibly durable and tactile tool. Chain necklaces themselves are durable pieces of jewelry that has its roots as a tool before anything. The technology of linking ovals together for tactile strength dates back to early man, which is why chains are such a magical and deep form of accent and style in the jewelry we wear today. 

Modern Significance 

In modern days, hip hop has helped to popularize the style of thick chains and pendants. This is commonly associated with the group Run DMC, and many other hip hop artists have donned big chains and pendants to this day. Today, thick chains and jewelry are such a staple of the music style that it’s almost a uniform. Chains today are popular amongst a variety of individuals with varying tastes and interests. The chain has carried through a complex and deep history that goes back to ancient times and spans across many cultures as a significant and durable piece of jewelry. 

A Symbol of Both Style and Taste 

In general, chains are thought to be representative of style, taste and wealth. As gold and fine metals became more expensive and harder through ancient times, these items became extremely coveted. The chain today still holds true as a symbol of wealth and status. Chains of high quality aren’t cheap, but they represent a lineage of style and fashion dating back to our earliest roots. 

The chain necklace is a deeply rooted style of jewelry. The earliest chain necklaces can be traced back to at least 2500 BC and can be found in ancient cultures in China, Babylon, Rome, Greece and many more. Through history, the chain necklace has represented style, fashion and even spirituality. The chain itself has also had its roots as a staple in men’s fashion as a suit accessory connecting pocket watches or pocket books and adding a slight contrast to the dark colors in their suits. Hip hop artists have come to popularize thick chains as a symbol of success and wealth, continuing its tradition through history to represent decorative strength. Today, chain necklaces are one of the most popular styles of necklace in their infinite variations. We hope you enjoyed this brief history of the chain necklace, and why note check out some of the amazing online retailers selling high quality pieces today!