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A chain is a series of rings, links, beads or discs, usually of metal, connected with or fitted to each other.
Chains have been made from earliest times in a great variety of styles and lengths, and used in jewelry for many purposes (e.g. neck chain, necklace, breast chain, bracelet, fob chain, watch chain, albert chain, muff chain).
Chains have been made of gold or other precious metals and base metals, with the links made in various forms (e.g. circular, oval, cylindrical, irregular, flattened, etc). Links are usually made by bending a piece of wire and soldering the ends together.
Heavy gold chains were popular during the Renaissance and Victorian eras.
Most modern jewelry chains are machine-made, but fine ones have hand-wrought links of intricate patterns created by designers. On one end there is usually a bolt ring for fastening an object. Many different styles of chains have special names but such names are today, in view of the multitude of current and newly created styles of chain, being supplanted by manufacturers and jewelers by the use of design numbers.
From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson