One of the considerations to keep in mind when buying jewelry is the material’s quality in terms of its strength, durability, and how it feels. These elements determine not just how long the chain lasts, but also its cost and comfort.
For most people, getting the right balanced feel from jewelry means choosing between the solid and the hollow chains. There can be some confusion about this, though. To avoid ending up with something you don’t like or to spend more unnecessarily, we’ll be sharing insights into what you need to know about the hollow and the solid chains.
The design of the chain, whether solid or hollow, affects the durability of the piece and also the weight, and you need to understand the specifics of either chain before you settle on one.
What is a hollow chain? What does a hollow chain look like?
Hollow chains represent the most common style of chains in the jewelry world because they are affordable. A gold rope chain, for example, is a hollow chain. While the linked parts are often made of solid gold, the parts are woven around each other, leaving a hollow space in the middle/ interior, albeit not in the same way as a tube.
This design of the chain leaves you with a lightweight piece of jewelry that looks stunning. The hollow chains are imperfect, though, given the hollow and delicate structure that makes them near impossible to repair.
Even after the repairs, the chain loses its structural integrity, and there is the risk of the chain unraveling. If soldered, the soldered joint is flattened in that area because of the hollowness. Repairs also never restore the original strength of the chain.
To reiterate, the hollow chain will have a space inside, and even in the rope chain styles, the gold chains would be made of less gold, making the chains lightweight, cheap, but not so durable. Overall, the advantages of hollow jewelry outweigh the disadvantages, which is why bangles, bracelets, and chain necklaces are mostly hollow.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to tell apart the hollow from the solid chains just by looking at the rope chains. Hollow and solid chains look exactly the same, and you can only tell them apart by examining other features like the weight and strength differences.
The solid chain feels denser than the hollow chain. If you are unable to feel the weight of the chains, you should know that the hollow chain is always the cheaper one meant for casual wear. The solid chains are always very expensive.
Note that the hollow and solid gold rope chains both have a spiral staircase and diamond-cut look that allows them to sparkle from whatever direction the sun hits them. In most cases, however, a closer look at the hollow and the solid rope chains will reveal some slight difference.
Often, the hollow rope chain has more of a flat appearance, and the diamond cuts are not as pronounced, meaning there is a reduction in the total surface area that the sun strikes and reflects light off. These chains aren’t as shiny or sparkly and lack that alluring gleam seen in the solid chains. The solid chains are definitely brighter, shinier, and more sparkly.
And given the huge price difference between the hollow and the solid chains and how light the hollow chain is, you may want to look at the weight of the chain before buying it. If it’s suspiciously lightweight, say it weighs less than 10g, then it’s definitely a hollow chain,
Pros and cons of hollow chain
- Lightweight and very comfortable
- You can wear the hollow chain every day comfortably and wouldn’t have to worry about the chain feeling too heavy.
- Ideal fit for casual wear because of the aesthetics
- The hollow chains are as stylish as the solid gold rope chains.
- Repairing the hollow chains is always a nightmare. Once broken, the hollow chain is pretty much a waste of money.
- They are not dense, and you won’t get the same authentic feel you would get from the solid gold.
- It cannot hold a heavy pendant comfortably because it is too light and would be stretched out and eventually break.
- Not as durable as solid chains
What is a solid chain? What does a solid chain look like?
A solid chain is a chain, perhaps a rope chain, that is made of solid metal (gold), just like the hollow chain.
However, unlike the hollow chain, the solid chain is denser, the diamond cuts on the rope chain are more pronounced and make the chain much more sparkly, bright, and shiny with light striking the diamond cuts more prominently, and it doesn’t feel or look that flat like the hollow chain.
It is also more durable and strong, and also expensive. Therefore, the solid chain looks like an expensive chain that you would want to invest in.
And given its strength, it is the ideal chain type to use with pendants, especially the heavier ones. As long as you take good care of the solid chain, it will last a lifetime.
Pros and cons of solid chains
- Solid chains are very durable, are dense, and feel heavy
- Ideal for pendants
- Shine and sparkly, and the light strikes the diamond cuts quite beautifully
- They are stronger than the hollow chains
- Comfortable, and you can wear the chain daily
- Elegant and ideal for classy and dressy wear/ formal events
- Heavy and not everyone finds them comfortable
- The chain is quite expensive for most people trying to pinch coins
What is the difference between a hollow chain and a solid chain?
- Appearance– At first glance, the hollow and the solid chains look similar, but a closer look reveals that the hollow chain is not as shiny or sparkly as the solid chain. Also, the hollow chain has more of a flat appearance, unlike the solid chain that is a little more rounded and sparkly.
- Weight– the hollow chain is light and not dense, unlike the solid chain that is a little more dense and heavy. In most cases, the solid chains can be more than 3x the weight of the hollow chains.
- Durability– Solid chains are made of solid gold and with no space that makes a hollow, which makes the solid chains more durable, strong, long-lasting, and the chain won’t be stretched out by a heavy pendant. The hollow chains aren’t as durable.
- Repairs– The solid chains hardly call for repairs, and even after the chain breaks, you wouldn’t have to worry about damage to the chain’s structural integrity. The hollow chains, on the other hand, are not only hard to repair but also lose function and structural integrity when repaired. In most cases, it is not recommended to get the hollow chain because they are practically irreparable.
- Cost– hollow chains are cheaper than solid chains.
Hollow chain vs. solid chain- Which one should you buy?
If you are in a pinch and buy jewelry for aesthetics, then hollow chains are ideal. However, if you don’t mind splurging a little more and need something that would last long, then the solid chain would be an ideal option.
Are hollow chains durable? How long does it last?
The hollow chains are not durable, but with proper care and depending on the thickness, the chain would last about 2-5years, longer if you wear it occasionally and take good care of it, but it may not last that long if you wear it daily.
Are solid chains durable? How long does it last?
Solid chains are very durable, and with proper care, a solid chain would last a lifetime. Most people note that their solid rope chains have lasted over 20 years.
Hollow chains are affordable, simple, and ideal for casual wear, but they are not as durable. The solid chain, on the other hand, are more expensive, heavier, durable, and versatile for formal wear.
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.