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When it comes to classic pieces of jewelry, the gold chain has to be pretty high up on the list. Both a timeless fashion staple as well as a perfect gift choice, the gold chain is an undeniably iconic piece of jewelry.
In this blog, we’re going to take a quick look at gold chains throughout the ages, and what they symbolized then and now. Let’s dive in!
Where did gold chains originate?
According to historians, the first ever gold chain was the Funerary Gold Chain, which can be found in Egypt and goes back to 4500 BC. It is believed that this chain belonged to a female member of the wealthy classes, and was worn to display her prosperity and riches.
The history of the gold chain
Gold chain jewelry has been around for centuries, dating back to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks. For many, it was believed that wearing a gold chain could bring good luck and offer protection from evil spirits, while also being seen as a symbol of wealth and status, with more intricate pieces being worn by those of higher social rank.
Throughout the Renaissance period, gold chain jewelry was used as a way of expressing love and loyalty, with couples exchanging interlocking gold links or wearing matching pieces. Today, gold chains remain a timeless staple in both fast fashion and designer clothing, with brands like Chanel, Dior, and Givenchy all offering their own unique takes on this classic piece.
What does wearing a gold chain signify?
What’s interesting about the gold chain is that its symbolic relevance hasn’t changed in thousands of years, which is not consistent for all types of jewelry. For example, earrings were once seen as a mark of rebellion in the 13th century, often donned by pirates and criminals to indicate their subversiveness; now, the right pair of earrings denotes wealth and status. The symbolism of the gold chain, however, remains unchanged; today, a gold chain indicates wealth, prosperity, and class, just as it did in Egypt in 4500 BC.
The gold chain today
While still remaining a symbol of wealth and luxury, the gold chain has also taken on a romantic and sentimental dimension in the 21st century, just as it did in Renaissance Italy. For example, gold chains are often used to carry sentimental pendants that are exchanged between couples, such as a locket or a heart-shaped clasp with a photo of each spouse inside.
Similarly, gold chains are also often used to signify friendship; a friendship necklace with two interlocking gold links is a popular gift amongst teenagers and young adults, symbolizing their enduring friendship and eternal bond.
It’s also important to note the religious significance of the gold chain in the 21st century. In Indian culture, the gold chain still remains a key feature of the mangalsutra necklace; the mangalsutra is typically fashioned with a gold chain and black beads, and is worn by the bride as a symbol of her love for her new husband. In Christianity, gold chains are also commonly used to carry symbolic pendants; the pendant of St Christopher is often seen on a gold chain, and worn to protect Christians while traveling.
What's the best gold chain?
A great thing about the gold chain is that it’s both a classic accessory, as well as being something that can be adapted to suit your own personal style. Depending on your preferences, you can choose your chain (whether it be a Figaro chain, a Cuban link chain, or a rope chain) and determine how thick or thin you’d like it. You can also choose your preferred shade of gold (yellow, white, or rose) as well as the gold karat (14k, 18k, and 22k are the most popular).
There’s no “best” gold chain as everybody’s style preferences are different; that being said, what doesn’t differ is quality. If you’re looking to make a statement with a gold chain necklace, 22k gold chains are a good place to start. With an eye-catching yellow hue and enhanced durability, a 22 karat gold chain is an easy way to jazz up a casual outfit.
The bottom line
From Ancient Egypt to the modern era, gold chains have been – and remain – a timeless accessory. Whether you’re looking for a classic piece of jewelry to add to your wardrobe, or searching for something more unique and personalized such as a religious pendant, the gold chain can be adapted to suit any style and need.