Women have worn necklaces for thousands of years, sporting amazing gems, diamonds, and amulets to show off their success, royalty, and prestige. It wasn’t until the late 1900s that men’s jewelry really started to take hold.
Hip hop icon DJ Kool Herc is believed to be the mind that popularized the gold chain as a staple of both hip hop and popular culture alike. Today, there are seemingly endless varieties of chains at your disposal.
While there are many chain variations, perhaps the most iconic is the Cuban chain. If you’ve been thinking about getting yourself a Cuban chain, but you’re still a little hesitant, let’s make your choice clear.
What Is a Cuban Chain?
Chains are named after the style of their links. For example, a mariner chain gives the essence of nautical life, resembling the chains attached to ship anchors. Andrope chains look like small pieces of rope that intertwine with one another.
Cuban chains don’t look anything like Cuba. In fact, they never used to be called Cuban links. Before then, they were called Miami link chains, likely because of their rise in popularity in Miami, Florida during the 1970s.
These chains are a variation of a standard link chain featuring oval links that intersect in a cable-like design. The end result is a traditional-looking chain that has a bit of a modern flair. It’s a versatile chain that works for pretty much any occasion.
Who Are Cuban Chains For?
Cuban chains are one of the most popular chain styles for a reason, as they can be worn by anyone for really any occasion. They’re classy enough for a banquet yet bold enough for a night at the club.
With that said, there are a few types of people that might appreciate a Cuban chain more than others.
People Who Are New to Wearing Jewelry
Because the Cuban chain is so nuanced and subdued, it makes it a fantastic starter for anyone who has never worn one before. Not to mention, since it matches and works with pretty much any outfit or style, you don’t need to have a vast education about chains in order to rock one or a massive wardrobe to back one up.
With that said, don’t think that Cuban chains are amateur in any way. The hip hop greats who essentially invented this chain link are not beginners by any means. Just because Cuban chains are easy to wear doesn’t mean they look bad.
People With Tons of Other Jewelry
One of the major advantages of Cuban chains is how well they can be incorporated into any style. And with that in mind, they look amazing when paired with pretty much any other type of accessory.
A white gold Cuban chain paired with a diamond necklace will exude a sense of prestige that is completely unmatched. And a traditional gold-colored chain will look extra vibrant with some matching rings on your fingers.
If you’re one of those people who has to cover your entire body with stunning gems or metals, then a Cuban chain is a must-have addition to your collection.
People Who Wear Solid Colored Shirts
You can usually divide the entire population into two categories: those who wear plain tees and those who wear graphic shirts. While graphic shirts have their time and place, Cuban chains really shine when worn over solid colored clothes.
Since Cuban chains have such a uniform design that feels very subtle, they can get lost among patterned designs or lettering on your shirts. You definitely want your piece to take the spotlight, and plain shirts let them do just that.
Black shirts tend to look extra good when paired with a white gold chain, whereas white shirts look great if you throw on a traditional brassy gold chain.
Things To Consider When Getting a Cuban Chain
If you match any of the criteria above, then you’re probably extra ready to get yourself a Cuban link necklace. But before you buy the first one you see, take a couple of things into consideration.
Length and Width
One of the most important factors to consider is the size of the chain itself, as this will dictate how it looks as a whole. For 2021, the general trends seem to be shifting towards shorter chains that hang no lower than your chest. For most people, this means picking chains that are smaller than 20 inches in length. Though you don’t want to go too small, as these will look like chokers.
However, trends are meant to be broken, and if you really want to feel like one of the hip hop icons who have inspired this type of jewelry, then the lower, the better. You can find chains that hang as low as 30 inches if you wanted, but staying around the 24-inch mark will give you the same look without going too far.
You also need to think about the width, as this will dictate how it feels to be worn. Like something heavier? Go with a 19mm chain that’s thick and bulky. But if you want something more lightweight and subtle, then you can get Cuban chains as small as 3mm.
If you decide to wear a pendant, you’ll want a chain thinner than 5mm.
Metal and Finish
The next step is to decide exactly how you want the Cuban chain to look. Two of the most popular colors are traditional gold and white gold. Traditional gold has that yellow, brassy hue that feels classic. But white gold maintains that shine while giving off a more modern type of feel.
There are other colors too, like rose gold. This incorporates a pinkish hue that feels really unique compared to other colors. Just make sure it still matches with your outfit and other jewelry pieces.
You also need to decide if you want to get your piece gold plated, vermeil, or just go with solid gold. While the price goes up with each, so does the quality.
No one will know that you’re wearing a gold-plated Cuban chain upon first glance, but it may start to fade over time. A solid gold chain will stand the test of time and give you something to brag about the next time you wear it to a party.
Pendants are one of the best ways to give your outfit a personalized touch that is unmatched by most other alternatives. Wearing one with your Cuban chain is a great way to amplify it, but you want to make sure that the chain is small enough to hold it.
Additionally, your pendant should match the color of the Cuban chain. That means trying not to mix and match rose gold with traditional gold and instead keeping things nice and clean.
Cuban chains are one of the most popular chain designs for a reason. They feel both traditional and modern at the same time, making them a staple of any jewelry collection. With so many different colors, sizes, and variations available, there is really no excuse not to get one for yourself.