Five Main Culprits That Damage Women’s Gold Chain Jewelry
Lester Fangonilo - December 25, 2021
Diamonds are forever. That's true as these gems are nigh on indestructible, but we can't say the same for gold.
Much as it pains many of us, gold is a soft metal and isn't exactly the sturdiest of materials no matter how much in the way of lesser metals are added to a gold alloy for reinforcement. For this reason, it is relatively common for gold necklace chains to break.
In today's feature, we talk about the most common reasons why gold necklace chains tend to snap and also present ways by which to minimize and prevent damage from occurring. For the most part, we've pinpointed five key reasons why:
- Your chain got stretched or stressed;
- Your chain could have some serious structural issues;
- The clasp itself is broken;
- You have a fragile jump ring connection; or
- You allowed dirt and other detritus to accumulate on your chain over time.
#1: You End Up With a Stretched Chain
For starters, the most common issue regarding gold chains is primarily because of regular wear and tear or - in extreme cases - someone gave the piece a nasty tug or yank, causing it to snap. We know that many women, especially those who have been feeling edgy, tense, or anxious, have a tendency to tug their gold chains.
Likewise, another key reason why chains get stretched is the way some women tend to pair thin and delicate chains with substantially bigger pendants. While we do understand that you want to show off the piece - especially if it's bespoke or has a spectacular design - there are three points you should have taken into consideration:
- Gold tends to be much softer - much softer, as a matter of fact - to support the weight of a heavy pendant. Larger pieces need to be held by sturdier chains made with more durable materials like steel;
- Don't opt for a chain that is much lighter than the pendant itself. Always consider the diameter of the chain you have in mind: thicker chains may lie heavier around your neck, but these will support a bigger pendant well; and
- You didn't choose a thick enough wire gauge for your chain. Rule of thumb: the higher the wire gauge number, the thinner the chain. In which case, it is not prudent to use a 24-gauge chain with a heavy pendant; most jewelers recommend that you get a chain with an 18-gauge or lower.
#2: Failing to Make a Connection
The jump ring - the minute closure common to many jewelry chains - is actually one of the weakest points in a chain necklace, mostly because it's the part that's under the most pressure and the one that is most frequently handled in the process of putting on and taking off a piece.
Jewelry owners need to pay attention to any distortion on the jump rings of their chains or take immediate action if they find a wider than usual gap in the chain's closure seam
Also, the weakness of the jump ring may, in and of itself, be a structural issue: some jewelry designers tend not to solder the jump rings on a piece. Over time, this weakens the jump ring and, eventually, it will open a gap wide enough for a thinner-gauged chain to slip through. In which case, ask your jeweler if the jump rings on their pieces are heavy-gauged and tempered for durability.
#3: The Clasp Gives Up
Aside from the jump ring, the clasp closure is another potential weak point in a gold chain. The two most common forms - the spring ring and lobster claw - are used depending on the weight of the chain: the former for lightweight pieces, the latter for those of a more substantial wire gauge and weight.
However, we are of the opinion that you should ask your jeweler if they could use lobster claw-style clasps even on thinner chains. This is because the grip of a lobster claw is harder, doesn't open easily, and is built to last for a long time.
Alternatively, you may consider front-closing toggles or hook-and-eye clasps for more substantially-sized pieces.
#4: Faulty Construction = Popped Links
Sometimes - and this is especially true in the case of lower-quality gold chains - you may find that several links in your necklace have broken or popped - even if the gold link chain has not been pulled or tangled. Again, this is a structural defect that has something to do with the soldering process used to form the chain.
In some cases, the soldering material doesn't flow properly and, as a result, fails to form cohesive bonds between links. Should this happen, it is advisable to let the jeweler or the store you bought it from know about the issue as soon as possible. This is one case where it is better to return the chain and demand a refund.
#5: You Let Your Chain Get Dirty or Expose it to Harsh Conditions
Yes, we know that there are some pieces that we truly love - so much, in fact, that we don't want to remove them at all! But not taking off your jewelry - or taking your necklace off and just chucking it into your jewelry box - is an absolute no-no in light of the fact that accumulated dirt and grime will eventually take its toll on the piece, cause the links in the chain to weaken, and break.
Working in the garden or hanging out at the beach can be especially hard on gold chains as both soil and sand can be highly abrasive to the surface. But while occasional exposure can be mitigated, not cleaning your chains properly will have repercussions in the long run as the embedded grit will wear the gold down over time.
Also, make it a point not to wear your gold chains in the shower. While you may think regular soaping and rinsing will keep the chain clean, soap and other detergents, substances like the emollients in your favorite conditioner or body balm, and even your favorite cosmetics may corrode the lesser elements in the gold alloy, weakening the chain over time. In which case, take your chains off before a shower and only put them on after you've finished doing your makeup.