An important aspect of a jewelry piece design is the clasp. The clasp may not be the most noticeable component but it is the most functional when it comes to wearing a piece and securing it into place. In some cases, the clasp can also become a striking part of the design too.
There are so many types of clasps to choose from so here is a guide to help explain what options are available and how to use them.
A spring ring clasp is shaped like a ring and is opened by pulling back a lever on the ring. Inside the ring is a spring that is squeezed together when the lever is pulled. When the lever is let go, the ring can close over a jump ring attached to the other side of the chain, securing the piece in place.
The spring ring clasp is more suitable for necklaces and anklets made of daintier, smaller chain. Since it usually requires two hands to work the clasp, it is not recommended for bracelets or people who have dexterity issues, unless it is a larger sized clasp.
The general design of this clasp resembles a lobster’s claw, hence the name, but the look can vary to suit different types of jewelry pieces. An arm of the clasp is opened and closed by a lever on the side due to a tiny spring mechanism in the clasp. The clasp is easier to open and close than a spring ring and is appropriate for necklaces, bracelets, and anklets.
Magnetic clasps can come in many shapes, sizes, and designs. Magnetic clasps use attracting magnets to lock two ends of a piece of jewelry together. Medium strength magnets are typically used to provide security when the piece is snapped together, but not too much force to make it impossible for the wearer to pull it apart. This is especially useful for bracelet wearers who have access to only one hand while putting a bracelet on or those with dexterity issues.
A toggle clasp usually consists of a t-shaped bar that fits through the middle of a circle or shape that is just smaller than the length of the bar. When the bar is turned, it is secured into place as it cannot fit through the hole at that angle. This design works best on heavier bracelet and necklace pieces as the weight helps keep the bar locked in place. Toggles often are incorporated more into the design of the piece as they can be more decorative than other clasps.
A hook and eye clasp is a very simple design that has a hook on one end of a chain and an opening on the other end that the hook latches onto. This type of clasp, like a toggle, is best for heavier necklaces or bracelets that can keep the hook engaged in place.
These clasps are shaped like the letter S or a double-sided hook. To open and close to wear the jewelry piece you pull one curve open and then squeeze it back together to secure it.
A Fish hook clasp consists of an oval box on one end of a necklace and a hook on another end. To close and secure the clasp, you loop the hook over a small bar on the end of the oval box body and then push the hook inside the oval box. Once inside the box, the hook will expand slightly to lock in place. To undo the clasp, push the sides of the oval box while pulling the hook out. This loosens the hook but it is still in place, secured by the bar, so just unhook it to completely undo the clasp.
Fish hook clasps are ideal for pearl necklaces as they provide an extra safety system to keep them in place and can be very elegant to complete the pearl necklace design.
Bead claps generally work like fish hook clasps but instead of squeezing the sides, there are tabs at one side that squeeze together to release the clasp. They tend to be lightweight, decorative and are perfect for pearl necklaces.
The slide lock clasp is usually a bar or tubes set that slide into each other and lock in place. These types are also multi-strand clasps, great for bracelets or layered necklaces.
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