One of my most prized possessions is a chunky gold chain I inherited from my grandmother. Beyond its sentimental value, the necklace elevates every single outfit—from a plain white tank to a tiered vintage dress I wore with it to a black tie event last year. Extra bonus(es): Gold chains wear extremely well, are easy to clean, very fun to layer, and extremely versatile (I’ve even worn one with a swimsuit, with the bad tan line to prove it).
The gold chain market pool is vast: there’s chunky and dainty, collars and longer chains—but also gold chains with toggle or lobster claw clasps, Cuban chains, cable chains, snake chains, ball chains, even ones that you can hook your sunglasses to. Here, 14 options. Among them is one you’ll love.
Much like the one from my grandmother, this is a large gold collar chain, with a secure box closure. It lays flat on your chest but won’t dig into your collar bones because of the rounded links. Buy it new and it’d be far more expensive, but here, we’re under $100. Check out this huge assortment, too.
I love a chunky rope chain necklace. Brinker & Eliza makes some great gold chains like this one (including one that’s even thicker). What’s wonderful about this necklace is that it’s two necklaces in one: I wear it with the chain forward but also with the heart pendant hanging in front. There’s also an option without the heart pendant, if you prefer! It’s also surprisingly lightweight because the chain is hollow.
This 14k-gold filled chain necklace reminds me of one my mom used to wear in the ’90s, when I was a kid. She wore it everyday, sometimes paired with other necklaces. She still has it, so I actually went and purchased this one.
I’ve had this necklace for two years, and while it’s thinner—less showy, maybe—compared to others on this list, I’ve received so many compliments on it, possibly thanks to its cool 3-1-3 link pattern. It’s 18ct gold plated on brass; with a little wipe down, it’s remained like new as long as I’ve owned it.
I first saw this necklace on Instagram because the thick, shiny links stood out. This one here is two-toned, so half silver and half gold—I love the mixed metal, but Machete also offers it in all-gold and all-silver options. What I didn’t realize is the links are actually interchangeable, and you can hook it on to other necklaces or even wear it around a few belt loops.
Designer Havilah has a ton of gold chains on her site Land of Gold, but this Cuban necklace stood out to me. Cuban chains have an interlocking pattern that makes the chain thicker and more noticeable. This one is 24k gold plated and 16 inch (so a bit longer), and clocks in at $50.
This necklace by Omi Woods is a favorite because, like the one by Brinker & Eliza, it can be worn two ways: with the toggle and cowrie charm in the front, or with them positioned in the back, so it’s worn as a more standard chain. This necklace comes in both 18K gold vermeil and sterling silver—knowing that, I want to wear both together.
Another piece that you can wear two ways, this chain by Laura Lombardi has its own trick up its sleeve. You can wear it with the clasp behind your neck or you can also wear it with the clasp in front, and link your sunglasses on to it! So cool.
This necklace is super-polished, in a bright gold hue. I like to wear the toggle in the back, here’s another chance to play with wearing the toggle in front. It’s a bit longer in length, so I like wearing it with a shorter pearl or beaded necklace, or alone over a high-neck top.
Another beloved item from my grandmother is similar to this really simple (and flexible) herringbone chain necklace. This chain necklace is truly everyday much like the Lola Ade rope chain which would be great layered together.
Speaking of layering, this Aster chain by Gather BK—a brand that was started from her love of vintage jewels—is the perfect layering piece. It’s featherweight, 12kt gold-plated brass,
and thin—great to wear daily alone or with other necklaces.
I would consider the ball chain the “fanciest” of them all. It’s modern and clean—I think of it as the gold alternative of a pearl necklace. This one is solid 14K (truly fancy) and the seller offers a range of necklace lengths and ball circumferences.
LIke the ball chain, this 18K gold-filled button chain—I named it that because it looks like little gold shirt buttons—is a great option for dressier occasions. Lola Ade offers a matching bracelet and anklet, if you’d like to make this a family affair.
I somehow was able to slip a sunglass chain in this round up! Frame Chain makes extremely cool sunglass chains, and this specific one can also be used as a long chain necklace or even a gold waist-belt. It’s all the gold accessorizing you need, in one.
Do you have a favorite gold chain necklace or one you’ve been eyeing? Let me know in the comments because, if you can’t tell, I love them.
Photography by Beth Sacca.