Chunky chains: find the right piece for you

Chunky chains are an effortless way to add some verve to an everyday look – here’s our pick to help you think, and link, big

Chunky chain
Chunky chain by Misho
(Image credit: press)

Chunky chains have been an essential item in our jewellery boxes for decades, and while they have always been popular, jewellery designers and brands have noticed an uptick in sales recently, as the desire for effortless and elegant dressing has soared. ‘At Net-a-Porter our fine jewellery customer is looking for timeless investment pieces that give a nod to current trends,’ notes the company’s fine jewellery and watches editor Charlie Boyd.

‘Chains are classic enough to be worn with anything, but their designs can vary wildly according to what is in vogue. Chunky chains are the current darling of fine jewellery connoisseurs – they are statement pieces that can just as easily be paired with athleisure as a contemporary evening dress.’ Whether dotted with rainbow gems or teased into graceful loops, chunky chains are enjoying their moment in the spotlight – find the right piece for you in our edit, below.

The traditionally-crafted chunky chain

gold chain necklace

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London-based jewellery designer Deborah Blyth uses lost-wax casting to create her tactile forms, embracing the organic nature of gold in pieces which appear to drip seductively around the wearer. The Amara link necklace plays with the classic clean silhouette of a link, twisting it into fluid shapes for a chunky chain necklace you won't be able to resist playing with.

Vintage-inspired chunky chains

Gold chunky chains against white background

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Monica Vinader infuse their new collection of chunky chains with a retro edge, nodding to the thickly knitted silhouettes of the past in their collaboration with Doina Ciobanu. The ten pieces in the collection, crafted from recycled gold vermeil and sterling silver, effortlessly interlock bold links for smooth and supple pieces which loop around wrists and collarbones in a fluid and flowing loop.

Chunky chains in rainbow hues

Chunky chain in rainbow gems

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Shay brings a bold maximalism to the classic chunky chain with bold rainbow hues. White, yellow and rose gold links are sprinkled with blue and pink sapphires, rubies and citrines for a precious take on a piece that will inject everyday staples with a vivid shot of colour. ‘Shay is redefining the layering trend that we have seen over the last few years, forgoing delicate strands for satisfyingly chunky chain stacks crafted in yellow, white, or rose gold,’ says Net-a-Porter’s Charlie Boyd.

Gold chain with two differnet types of links

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For a chunky chain with impact, go for a piece that plays with proportion, a classic with a twist. Seoul-based brand Numbering juxtaposes links for a flexible necklace that can be twirled to showcase either the curb or rolo chain, depending if tightly woven links or a more relaxed silhouette appeals. Chunky fastenings aren’t meant to be hidden discreetly at the nape of the neck – twist them to the front to celebrate hardware as an adornment in its own right.

Sculptural chunky chains

Gold oversized links on a chunky chain bracelet

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Creative director Suhani Parekh creates sculptural jewellery that is fun to wear, for her brand Misho. Chain aficionados will delight in the wide selection available – chains woven so tightly they eliminate negative space hug the curves of the neck, or looser links can be worn to dangle over the chest in a more fluid fit. The thickly drawn loops of this piece will look their best when fastened tightly for a snug silhouette that lets the texture do the talking.

Two-tone chunky chains

Silver and gold chain

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Lauren Rubinski’s designs, created in Italy, put craftsmanship at the forefront. By putting the focus on precious materials – chains are drawn in 14ct yellow and white gold – a staple piece is elevated. In this design, Rubinski goes for a colour clash with a perfectly symmetrical composition of gold hues. Designed to sit comfortably on the collarbone, the statement chain is bold enough to wear alone, or pair it with pieces in a mixture of metals for merry maximalism.

The streamlined chunky chain

Gold chain with diamonds on it

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Chunky chains don’t have to mean chunky links, and those who prefer a more streamlined silhouette may want to consider the Cuban link. Tightly woven, its loop of gold is still thick enough to make an impact. Anita Ko knits this chain’s pattern in either rose gold, white gold or yellow gold, nodding to the elegance of a tennis bracelet with a symmetrical sprinkling of diamonds.

The chunky chain ring

Gold chunky chain ring

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Sisters Yarden and Oren Katz draw on their family history of jewellery making with pieces designed, cast and set from their Los Angeles base, drawing on traditional techniques. The ‘Big Link’ ring, created from 14ct yellow gold, lets your fingers get in on the action – drawn in vintage-inspired links, it’s an easy in to the trend. Stack with other pieces for maximum impact.

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.