I've used informal materials such as leather and ball chain to suit more contemporary designs (these materials are inexpensive and quick, easy solutions for items you are selling.) I've complemented boho looks with deer tan lacing and feminine designs with sari silk.
But my favourite go-to is always chain.
I keep a stock pile of Gardiner Design jump rings on hand in silver, copper and bronze to whip up a quick one-in-one chain that I can customize by gauge and ring diameter to suit my finished pendant.
For instance, the red screwed heart bead by Susan Stortini seemed to require some bigger jump rings but just a simple chain, while the beautiful bead by Virginia Wilson Toccolino seemed to need something special, feminine yet heavy enough to balance the bead, so I added it to a Chinese Knot pattern by Marilyn Gardiner.
If you don't feel like making your own chain, there is so much chain choice out there in the marketplace. Generally, necklace lengths fall into these style names:
Collar/Choker - 14"
Chain/Strand/Locket - 16"
Princess - 18"
Matinee - 20" to 24"
Opera/Lariat/Rope - 24"+
There are lots of guides to be found if you google necklace lengths - what length best fits your face shape, bone structure etc.
So now you know how much chain you need, what next?
Order chain online! Beadfx.com has sterling and base metal chains in a variety of sizes. The heavier the chain the more it costs.
There are lots of vintage chain vendors out there. Here's some vintage chain I've been stockpiling for the right project:
Of course, when I really want to set off a gorgeous bead I will get out my Lazee Daizee Viking knitter and whip up a special chain:
Or I get out my Now That's a Jig! and make my own chain - that's the major design feature of the necklace!
So don't only think about pre-made chain next time you're completing a project. Think about your chain options and how you want to "frame" your hard work then get making the perfect complement to it!
If you have other chain ideas please share them in the comments. Have a great week!