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Gold necklaces. Hollow?

Area57

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So, I would like to get a gold necklace, a chain that I am having a pendent custom made for. I have not bought one in a long time. What I am finding is there are two prices for what looks like the same necklace chain. The weights are also different,

So why and how is this? Someone mentioned something about hollow but I don't really see how this is possible. How could they make something so thin or in the case of rope or wheat styles, intricate, hollow? Is that what they do? The jeweler weighed two similar looking chains and one was about double the weight. However they had the same diameter.

How much of an impact on durability does this have, and are there any other consequences of going with the lighter option? Is it the kind of thing where no one will ever know, but I will know?

The price doesn't really reflect the value of the gold used either. One chain was 3.3 and the other was 7.3. So four grams of gold difference, but just under double the price difference.

Which do I get? Normally, the answer is whichever you like better, but in this case they look the same, lol.
 

chrono

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The hollow chain will not have the same durability as the solid chain.
 

Michael_E

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My opinion is to NEVER buy a hollow chain. These are obvious when looked at with a loupe. If you don't have the money, always buy a lighter weight chain which is solid. Hollow chain is very similar to something which is used to make compost. The reason is that hollow chains have such a low level of durability that they can be considered costume jewelry. This is particularly troublesome if they will have a nice pendant hanging from them, since you never know when they're going to go. I say this since I spent the very early part of my jewelry making career getting great torch control skills repairing this hollow junk.

Another word of advice with chains, clean them constantly, regardless of how they are made. Body oils, makeup and grit act just like sandpaper on the links of chains and it's far easier to get a cheap ultrasonic cleaner and clean them weekly than to have them repaired all the time as they get older.

You are right about cost. The major cost of precious metal jewelry is not in the metal, but in the labor and profit margin of the maker/seller. With regard to chains, always buy the best quality solid chain you can afford in your price range...the cheap stuff never lasts. Take a loupe with you and you'll be surprised. Rope chains for instance look like they are interlocking loops, but often are half loops tacked to the main interlocking loops...yeah, they're faked even when solid. You can't fake a wheat chain, so they are often the best buy in terms of quality, but look at them with a loupe anyway.

O.K. rant over, (it just used to tick me off when I had a retail shop and people would drop in and show me the great deals they'd be given at the local mall shops).
 

Area57

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Wow, I appreciate that. It helps. Of course other, less knowledgeable people would say it doesn't matter, get the hollow one because it looks bigger and no one will know the difference. But I don't want junk. I would rather get smaller or wait, than to get some hollow thing. Compost :clap:

That's why I thought I would ask. I will have to look at two under my loupe and see, I couldn't tell with the naked eye, but the way a rope chain is made, it almost looks like an optical illusion. Is very strange looking up close.

Ok, I'm still not entirely clear on what is hollow. It's not like it's a single strand that is a circle, like a pipe. Easy to understand how a pipe could be hollow. Or even a ring. Rings are big enough I could see them being hollow. But what on a rope chain is hollow, or other chains? They look like what you said, interlocking circles. You said something about them being incomplete circles?

Otherwise, Which two styles of chain are best, and most in style these days? Two because one style I am curious about that would be to hold a pendent and one that would be just for the chain to be worn as a necklace alone. There are all sorts, the wheat, and rope end and then ones that look more like actual chain, with different or similar links.

Lastly, the bigger chains get more expensive of course. What karat should I be looking at? Is 10 ever acceptable if it is a larger chain, or are those poor quality and I should be looking at 14-18?

I am a beginner, so I have to work on the essentials! To get caught up with lots of you, who have probably been collecting jewelry for years and years! Thanks for the advice, each purchase needs to be made wisely so I get something I am happy with, that fits the budget, and is also of good quality.
 

chrono

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14K is a good balance of warmth and strength. I wear 18K, 22K and 24K gold necklaces but the higher the karatage, the thicker the chain has to be in order to support the pendant.
 

AGBF

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Chrono|1446813326|3946268 said:
14K is a good balance of warmth and strength. I wear 18K, 22K and 24K gold necklaces but the higher the karatage, the thicker the chain has to be in order to support the pendant.

I don't have anything to add. I just saw this thread and I am always happy to see people who know gold discussing it. I so enjoy it! Hi, Chrono! :wavey: Thinking about gold gives me pleasure.

Deb/AGBF
:read:
 

AGBF

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Chrono|1446813326|3946268 said:
14K is a good balance of warmth and strength. I wear 18K, 22K and 24K gold necklaces but the higher the karatage, the thicker the chain has to be in order to support the pendant.

Actually, maybe I do have something to add. Chrono didn't explain why it is that the higher the karatage is, the thicker the chain must be to support the pendant. It is because high karat gold is softer and less strong than lower karat alloys. 24K (pure) gold is extremely soft and, thus, must be very thick to support a pendant. 22K gold has a bit of other metal in it to strengthen it, but not much. 18K has still more other metals, and 14K has the most. (Unless you go down to 10K or 9K gold, which we do not in the US but which other countries do.)

AGBF
 

Michael_E

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Area57|1446789232|3946224 said:
That's why I thought I would ask. I will have to look at two under my loupe and see, I couldn't tell with the naked eye, but the way a rope chain is made, it almost looks like an optical illusion. Is very strange looking up close.

Ok, I'm still not entirely clear on what is hollow. It's not like it's a single strand that is a circle, like a pipe. Easy to understand how a pipe could be hollow. Or even a ring. Rings are big enough I could see them being hollow. But what on a rope chain is hollow, or other chains? They look like what you said, interlocking circles. You said something about them being incomplete circles?

Most rope chains are an optical illusion. They are made by taking a thin cable type chain, (just alternating loops), and adding false links to each side. These are half links that are spaced slightly apart in order to give the appearance of a rope. They're O.K., but not nearly as strong as they look. The wires which make up the hollow chains are actually flat sheets that have been rolled up into a round tube and then formed into curved "wires". This is pretty easy to see if you look at the ends of the wires with a loupe. They are often very light and break or wear out rather easily. Repairs to a hollow chain can be close to impossible as the thin tubes can just melt into a little ball when heated...very good torch practice however.
 

chrono

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I used to wear a pair of hollow tubed hoop earrings because they were the smallest hoops I could find. They were just for fun and really cheap so I wasn't fazed when the hoop became so distorted to the point of being unwearable. Earrings are exposed to so little wear and tear that for a hollow pair to be so damaged tells you than a necklace will be more susceptible.

Deb,
Thank you for explaining the relationship between strength/softness and karatage. It didn't occur to me to explain it at all. :oops:
 

Area57

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Ok, thanks! So all of those tiny wires are actually hollow, like the entire necklace, every wire that makes up every loop is a tiny hollow tube?
 

Michael_E

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ON the least expensive and lightest chains, yes, every wire making it up can be hollow. These are really easy to recognize when holding them as they float to the ground when dropped....well at least they feel like they could.
 

stracci2000

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I agree with what everyone here is saying.
Always look at the weight of the chain, and the quality.
A rope or figaro chain should feel heavy and substantial. If it feels like a feather, stay away.
Like Michael E says, check them with a loupe, and you will see the fake "rope" design.
I too, have melted hollow rope chains trying to make repairs.
It's shocking. They are so thin and cheap, like tin foil.
Also, they will crush under pressure.
 
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