The Figaro chain has an interesting history dating back to the late 1960s. It is a style of chain link that features an alternating pattern of one longer oval-shaped link followed by two or three shorter links. This gives the iconic Figaro chain its distinctive ladder-like appearance.
A Figaro chain is a type of link chain that is widely recognized for its uniform links that create a repeating, alternating pattern. The links are available in various metals like gold, sterling silver, and stainless steel. It has a casual yet sophisticated look that became popular in the 1970s and remains fashionable today.
This article provides an overview of the Figaro chain, including its history and origins, the design features that make it unique, available sizes and lengths, the types of metals used, cost considerations, care and maintenance, reasons for its enduring popularity, and more.
The Figaro chain originated in the 1970s in Italy thanks to renowned jewelry company Maffei Jewelry. Located in the jewelry district of Vicenza, Maffei aimed to create a new style of necklace that would stand out from traditional chains.
The Figaro design was named after the famous opera "The Marriage of Figaro" composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1786. Something about the repeating pattern of links in the Figaro chain evoked the rhythmic, melodic motifs in Mozart's opera.
The iconic design of the Figaro chain is what makes it so recognizable and desirable. The links in a Figaro chain are alternately larger and smaller, which gives the chain a unique zigzag or alternating pattern.
The classic style of a Figaro chain is with round links. The larger round links are known as "Figaros" while the smaller links are called "Cable." This alternating of larger Figaro links and smaller Cable links is what creates the distinctive woven look.
Figaro chains can also be found with oval, square or other shaped links. But the round Figaro design is considered the most traditional and iconic look.
The Figaro chain comes in a variety of widths, with the most common being between 2-6mm wide. The number of links in the chain can also vary, with longer chains needing more links. The width of the chain and number of links will affect the overall size and drape of the necklace.
Wider and heavier Figaro chains usually measure around 5-6mm, giving them a chunkier, more statement look. Meanwhile, narrower 2-3mm chains have a more delicate appearance. The width chosen is often based on personal style and preference.
In terms of length, Figaro chains are available in standard 16-24 inch lengths for necklaces. However, it's also possible to customize the exact chain length. The number of links will need to increase for longer chains that sit lower on the chest. A longer 30 inch Figaro chain may have 15-25 links or more.
The length of a Figaro chain can vary quite a bit. The average Figaro chain is 16-24 inches long. However, it's common to see Figaro chains in lengths both shorter and longer than the average.
For men, Figaro chains tend to range from 20-28 inches in length. The standard 24 inch length sits comfortably below the collarbone for most guys. Some prefer a shorter 18-22 inch length for a more subtle look.
Women tend to wear Figaro chains 16-20 inches long. A 16 or 18 inch Figaro hits most women mid-chest for versatile wear. Some like a longer 20-22 inch length that falls just below the collarbone. For a choker-style, a 14 inch Figaro can work too.
The great thing about the Figaro style is you can customize the length. Go with a standard length or size up or down for your own personal style. The repeating pattern of the Figaro links allows the chain to be easily sized while retaining its unique look.
The figaro chain is traditionally crafted from yellow or rose gold. The warm, luxurious look of gold goes well with the rope-like links of the figaro design. Many jewelers also offer figaro chains in sterling silver or silver plate. The bright white color provides an eye-catching contrast against the woven style of the links. Two-tone versions combine both gold and silver for a sophisticated yet playful look. While originally intended for gold or silver, some contemporary jewelers make figaro chains from alternative metals like stainless steel, titanium, tungsten, or blackened metals. These modern metals allow for additional styling options at lower price points. But for a classic figaro look, yellow or white precious metals are recommended.
The cost of a Figaro chain depends largely on the type and quality of metal used. Gold Figaro chains are the most expensive, given the high value of gold. Expect to pay upwards of $2,000 for a solid 14k or 18k gold Figaro chain. The price goes up dramatically for 22k and 24k gold chains. Solid gold Figaro chains are seen as luxury jewelry items.
Silver Figaro chains are more affordable than gold, but still carry a premium price tag compared to base metal chains. A sterling silver Figaro chain will generally cost $100-500 depending on the length and thickness of the chain. More intricate or ornate silver designs can cost more.
Figaro chains made from stainless steel, brass, copper, and other base metals are the most budget-friendly options. These chains usually cost between $20-100 for a high quality piece. However, base metal chains will not carry the same luster and longevity as precious metals.
Taking care of your Figaro chain is relatively easy. Here are some tips for keeping it looking its best:
The Figaro chain can be cleaned with mild soap and warm water. Use a soft bristle toothbrush to gently scrub the chain to remove dirt, oils and grime. Rinse thoroughly afterwards and pat dry with a soft cloth.
Avoid using harsh chemicals like bleach or ammonia when cleaning a Figaro chain. The chemicals can damage the finish and cause it to wear down faster. Gentle cleaners are best for preserving the chain's shine and luster.
You can also have the chain professionally polished every so often by a jeweler to restore its brilliance, especially if it's a real gold chain. Polishing helps remove small scratches and gives it a brand new look.
When not wearing your Figaro chain, store it in a soft cloth pouch or jewelry box to prevent it from rubbing against other pieces and getting tangled. Proper storage and occasional cleaning will help extend the life of your chain.
Figaro chains have become a classic mens style accessory over the years. Their bold, eye-catching links have made them a go-to choice for anyone looking to add some flair to their outfit. While historically worn by men, Figaro chains have also become popular among women who want to incorporate some "menswear" inspired jewelry into their look.
Beyond being a men's style staple, Figaro chains are also now strongly associated with hip-hop culture. Hip-hop artists have long been fans of bling and chunky gold chains, and Figaros fit that aesthetic perfectly. Their distinctive linked pattern and substantial presence around the neck has made Figaro chains a signature part of hip-hop style.
Given their versatile styling potential, Figaro chains are often worn layered with multiple shorter chains or pendants. The bold Figaro links serve as an eye-catching base while other jewelry layered on top provides more visual interest. This gives the wearer lots of flexibility to create their own unique look.
A figaro chain is a necklace consisting of three or four link chains alternating patterns to create a beautiful and classic design. While the exact history of the figaro chain is unknown, it's believed to have originated in Italy and took its name from the famous opera The Marriage of Figaro. Figaro chains come in a variety of sizes, lengths, and metals to fit any budget or style. The most popular sizes are 2.5mm and 4mm with lengths ranging from 16" to 30". Yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and sterling silver are all commonly used metals for figaro chains. They remain a staple in jewelry today due to their timeless elegance.
Figaro chains can be purchased from most jewelry stores that sell necklaces and chains. Many major retailers like Zales, Kay Jewelers, and JCPenney carry figaro chain options. For more unique figaro chains, check out specialty online retailers or Etsy shops. When cared for properly, a figaro chain can last for many years as a treasured jewelry piece.
With its classic linked pattern and versatility, the figaro chain has remained popular in the jewelry world for decades. Its stylish look works for both men and women, from teenagers to adults. The figaro chain has secured its place as a timeless design.