Jewelry clasps are one of the most important parts of your design. Not only do clasps add functionality, but they can act as their own design element. There are a multitude of clasp styles to choose from that are available on the market. Here is a look at a dozen of the most common types of clasps for jewelry making you can use when designing or purchasing your own necklace and bracelet.
1. Spring Clasp
The spring clasp is one of the most common and popular clasp types available. It is armed with spring loaded action, and activated by pulling back the protruding trigger on top. The spring clasp is identifiable by its metal ring and spring mechanism. Simply slide a jump ring inside the closure before releasing the tab for it to securely lock in place. It is available in a variety of sizes and is a great option for any single to multi strand necklace. However, the spring back clasp is a less popular option for bracelets with small tabs that can be difficult to secure with one hand.
2. Lobster Clasp
The lobster clasp, receiving its name from the lobster claw, is self-closing and easy to secure. Available in a variety of sizes and styles, it is a popular choice among many jewelry makers and its wearers. Swivel varieties of the lobster clasp are available, resulting in a full 360 degree rotation of the clasp. Lobster clasps work best with any lightweight and medium weight design. However, heavier styles are available for larger pieces. They operate with spring loaded action by simply pulling the lever down with the thumb to open the claw. Next, attach your ring inside and release to securely close.
3. Barrel Clasp
The barrel clasp gets its name from the barrel shape that it resembles. It is secured by screwing two pieces together to attach. It is a versatile choice for necklaces and ankle bracelets. Since it takes two hands to secure, the barrel clasp is an unpopular choice for bracelets. This is especially true for anyone that struggles with dexterity.
4. Toggle Clasp
The toggle clasp is easily recognized from its loop and ‘t shape’ bar. The bar is turned sideways and pulled through the decorative loop. It is than made to hang over the loop, resulting in a secure bond. The toggle is one of the most decorative and versatile options available on the market. Offered in a variety of shapes and sizes, from circles to hearts, the toggle clasp is perfect for lariat style necklaces that feature the closure in the front. Heavier designs are well suited for toggle clasps, since the ‘t’ bar will not buckle under the weight of the necklace.
5. Magnetic Clasp
The magnetic clasp is made with two magnets that attract to one another, snapping securely in place. A perfect option for bracelet wearers, magnetic clasps can be found in a variety of styles and sizes. They are easy to fasten and are a great option for older women with limited dexterity, while giving a seamless look to the overall design.
6. Hook Clasp
The hook clasp comes in a variety of styles. From the oldest ‘hook and eye’ style clasp to the immensely popular ‘s hook’ clasp, it is one of the most recommended and versatile ways to secure your piece of jewelry. The ‘s hook’ is easily identifiable from the ‘s’ shape design that is slid through the ring to securely close. Due to its historical use and simple operation and design, it is a great way to adorn any piece of jewelry.
7. Fishhook Clasp
The fishhook clasp is commonly seen in vintage style jewelry where an interior hook is inserted into an oval box and attached by securely locking in place. To open, release the crossbar in the box by pinching the tab together. This is a great clasp type for any lightweight design or classic knotted style piece. It can be difficult to put on with just one hand, therefore, it is a better option for necklace designs.
8. Slide Lock Clasp
The slide lock clasp appears as a tube with one end sliding itself into the other to secure in place. It is commonly found as a part of multi-strand clasp collections and can hold a number of strands and beading wire. Because of this, it works well in heavier designs and adds an extra design element to your piece while providing an overall seamless closure.
9. Screw Clasp
Screw clasps are similar to the barrel clasp but can come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, other than a barrel. Use most often in weaved pieces and designs with threading, the screw clasp can sometimes come in a shape of a bead, helping to camouflage it within your design.
10. Box Clasp
The box clasp is easy to put on and is great option for safety chains. It is attached by simply inserting the tab into a box by pressing down the lever. Many varieties of the box clasp can be found, ranging from decorative frames made with enamel to inlay work. The most common style of box clasp is filigree, which is mostly found in lightweight bracelets and necklaces. With multiple rings available at the edge of the tab, a box clasp can also be used in triple strand pieces and other multi strand designs.
11. Crimping Clasp
Crimping clasps are great for cord or ribbon necklaces where it needs to be attached to your piece by crimping down with flat nose pliers. The closing mechanisms can come in a variety of styles from hook and eye clasps to lobster claw closures.
12. Multi-Strand Clasp
The multi-strand clasp is easily identified as any clasp that is created with multiple attachment mechanisms for your design. They can be found with lobster closures, but are commonly seen in a slide lock style.
More than a dozen types of clasps for jewelry making are available on the market today. Ranging from design and style from your basic closure type, there are a multitude of ways to create your own one of a kind piece. When you purchase jewelry, typical attention is given to the color and style of the piece. The clasp type is normally overlooked. As a jewelry maker, you give more consideration to your clasp choice since it presents you with a new way to adorn your piece with yet another design element.