If you’re looking for a new piece of statement jewelry to add to your summer collection, a Cuban link chain could be just what you need. These simplistic yet striking chains are versatile enough to wear with almost every outfit, whether you’re sporting comfortable athletic wear around the house or dressing up for a night out. These necklaces make accessorizing look effortless and add a bit of streetwear and hip-hop style to an otherwise ordinary look. Thinking about getting one for yourself or a friend? Read on to find out everything you need to know about Cuban chain styles and pricing—as well as the chain’s unique history.
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Cuban Chain Colors
Cuban chains come in many different colors, although they’re most commonly found in silver and gold. If you want something a little more unique, you could go for white gold or rose gold. You can even find tri-colored Cuban link chains studded with diamonds and other gemstones. An iced-out gold or rose gold chain will have a frosted look. These tri-color pieces can alternate colors every other link or be separated into silver, gold, and rose gold sections—it depends on your personal preference. You can also find chains that have a balance between studded links and regular metal links. And, if you love the tri-color aesthetic but don’t want to completely embrace the bold look of the bling, you can find plain tri-color pieces made with gold, rose gold, and silver.
Most chains are composed of a mixture of gold, stainless steel, rhodium, and other metals, so if your skin is sensitive to metals other than gold, you may want to opt for a gold piece.
While most necklaces only suit certain types of outfits or events, Cuban link chains are versatile enough to wear every day if you so choose. Gold chains will be a better complement to outfits in deep, warm shades, while white and silver chains will look elegant with cool-colored outfits.
Cuban Chain Lengths and Links
The chains also come in different lengths and levels of thickness. You could go for a four-millimeter chain for a more subtle look, a twelve-millimeter chain for a necklace that’s as bold as you, or somewhere in the middle at eight millimeters.
Depending on your personal style and the season, you can also choose from a number of different chain lengths. A 20-inch (50-centimeter) chain is a solid standard size. If you prefer the choker look favored by celebrities like Rihanna, you may want to look for a 14-inch (35-centimeter) chain or something even shorter. Finally, if longer is better, you can find chains that measure up to 30 inches (76 centimeters) long. Some jewelry enthusiasts think that longer Cuban link chains look best when worn with fall and winter outfits, but they’re flexible enough to wear with any outfit. These can also look cool when layered with other chains and pendants.
If you’re looking for a more vintage-inspired chain, you might want to find one with thicker links and layer it over a pendant or two. Popular pendants to layer with Cuban chains include initial charms, minimalistic ring pendants, geometric shapes, crosses, and other types of spiritual charms.
Miami-style Cuban link chains are a classic, but Prong Cuban link chains are another style that has become popular over the last few years. Unlike the classic circular links of a Miami chain, Prong link chains have sharper edges and are more diamond-shaped. They look great in silver and would be a stunning complement to an all-black outfit complete with other accessories like bracelets, earrings, and piercings.
Cuban link chains range in price depending on the material. Of course, gold is going to be more expensive than silver, and thicker chains are more expensive than slimmer ones. These chains can range in price from $60 to $140, and diamond-studded chains will be a bit pricier. Cuban chains are all about showing off your sense of style, though, and aficionados say it’s well worth the price. The most expensive Cuban link chain belongs to Jay-Z. It weighs 11 pounds and costs $200,000.
The History of Cuban Link Chains
Cuban chains have been a jewelry staple since the 1970s. The unique style of interlocking chains and large pendants first emerged in Miami as a part of the hip-hop scene. Hip-hop wasn’t always as popular as it is today, but the movement started in the Bronx with block parties hosted by DJ Kool Herc.
Celebrities like Kanye West, Jay-Z, DJ Khaled, and others wore Cuban chains throughout the nineties and early 2000s—and continue to do so today. You can even find modern-day variations on the classic Cuban chain worn by movie stars. For example, this Cuban link chain is inspired by Connell from Hulu’s Normal People (2020) and his iconic silver chain.