This jewelry trend is a lock: Time to link-in and join the jewelry chain gang

Marla Aaron’s Gold and Turquoise Heart Locks Added to a Gunmetal Chain

Fall is most definitely in the air and the season for wearing longer and heavier chains and necklaces is here. Both modern and antique chains showed up during the fall 2016 ready-to-wear collections (which are translating on to the necks of women on street as I write). They are linked together with an inventive or tongue-in-cheek twist.  But this trend is not only limited to well-connected stylists looping these looks around top runway model’s necks. Designers, antique dealers, retailers and ‘real women’ are hooking up with chains that offer alternative and versatile takes on how to wear classic links and antique guard chains to gemstones that are twisted, beaded, and braided in ultra-long gold and silver silhouettes.


Yvonne Look from @luckandlockets on Instagram who hooks up some of the most stylish looks

As a one-time stylist for magazine shoots and TV, I used to rig up different looks, like lengthening a chain by adding safety pins in the back, or connecting two bracelets together to create a necklace. These one-time insider styling tricks have been imaginatively picked up by designers and women who opt for creativity in wearing their jewelry.

My rigging up different padlocks and clasps and antique chain with charms for look that translates from fall into winter

Speaking of safety pins, they are sticking as a trend on the runways in necklaces and earrings. So it is also time to snag your grandmother’s old lingerie pins and high karat gold safety pins with motifs such as flowers and good luck charms, accented with gemstones and rose cut diamonds. Yes, they lengthen chains, but in this case, they are meant to be visible and are also are an inspired way of adding charms.


We are also seeing unexpected combinations of two different antique fob chains or three bracelets for asymmetrical mixed-up looks replete with swivel clasps that create long Y-necklaces and lariats. Meanwhile, small brooches serve a dual purpose by lifting part of a long chain and pinning it to the side of a dress or jacket. On the runway, Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang, Celine, Isabel Marant, and Versace were just a few of the collections that accessorized with a diversity of chains, which ranged in inspiration from 80s punk to classics with a twist to flea market chic.

Certain jewelry designers have been designing interchangeable necklaces for years. Alberian & Aulde continues to evolve various components that create different styles and lengths of chains—bracelets, hooks, round links that click into other links, and add-on tassels with diamond and sapphire accents in mixed metals. Marla Aaron has locked down her look: large, medium and small oval locks, as well as crescent moon and heart shaped locks that swivel shut. Karen Karch adds components to her signature nugget ultra-long lariat. Sara Freedenfeld from Amali creates delicate to bold hand-woven and gem-laden chains, which can be worn loosely tied or knotted.

Lenore Dailey’s long antique chain with heart and tassel drops

Antique dealers like Lenore Dailey demonstrate various methods of wearing Georgian and Victorianguard chains, including the colorful and clever way in which she wears her Georgian rings while she is working and showing pieces all day: on a single ultra-long, substantial-looking but lightweight buttery Georgian chain. Sheri Evans and partner Trina Papina from Metier San Francisco explain, “We adore old chains – the weight and richness of the gold or the warm luster of old silver. The shape of the links, the character and craftsmanship of the clasps or hooks speak to us. The more layered, the better. We wear a chain or two or three every day.”


Lenore Dailey’s Georgian Chain hanging with Georgian Rings

There are also the women you spot on the street or on your Instagram feed and think, “I wish I could do that.” Well, now you can. Here are a few more looks from the jewelry gurus on  Instagram  and on e from me to keep you in the loop and get you in on the chain gang.