Clasps and closures are necessary components in jewelry making when working with necklaces, bracelets and anklets. Choosing the right one is vital and there are many choices out there. Here is a glossary of the different styles and how each one functions.
Spring Rings: Created in the early 1900’s, spring rings have been a staple in necklaces and bracelets for years. These findings use a steel spring-loaded mechanism which works when pressure is applied to the latch. Spring rings are economically priced and best used with lightweight jewelry pieces.They are also popular with charms as they can be used to snap on and off a removable charm with ease. Large, heavy spring rings are often called Bolt Rings.
Safety Clasps: The earliest known form of a clasp was created in the late 1700’s and resembled the modern day safety clasp. It consists of two pieces, one that features a spring lock mechanism that slides into a slotted groove located on the second piece. Safety clasps typically hook around a stopper bar or have a pinch activated pull tab so the clasp cannot be accidentally opened. These closures are very secure and since they are so decorative they are ideal as a focal piece.
Tube Clasps: These clasps are used for jewelry pieces that have multiple strands. They consist of two hollow tubes with rings soldered on each of the tubes. To secure them you simply slide one into the other. They function well on both necklace and bracelets.
Chain Link Clasps/Shorteners: Also referred to as enhancers, these closures can be used for multiple purposes. As a chain link shortener, gather together large links at the end of the necklace and secure them in the clasp thus shortening it. They can also be used as an enhancer to add removable charms to a piece. These tend to be heavy duty and lock in place with a hinged clasp.
Magnetic Clasps: I love magnetic clasps! They are easy to use but they definitely require a good amount of strength to pull apart. They tend to be on the heavy side, so it’s important to make sure that they aren’t the heaviest item on a finished piece.
Toggles: Found in higher end jewelry pieces, toggles are fancy and easy to use. These consist of two pieces that fit into one another. One is always a bar but the other piece can be any type of roundish shape but usually is a ring. These are usually on the heavier side of closures. They are perfect hidden or as a focal point.
Extender Toggles: These are toggles which consist of multiple links. They are used to extend necklaces.
Hook & Eye Sets: Ranging from lightweight to heavy and plain to fancy, hook and eye sets are a favorite closure to use in jewelry designs. It’s a hook that latches through a ring which makes it easy to use. These clasps are best for moderate to heavy neckpieces that will keep tension on the clasp since it is not securely latched closed.
Lobster Claws: Much like the spring rings shown above, these closures feature a steel spring- loaded mechanism that is activated when pressure is applied to the latch. You can find lobster claws in trigger, oval and fancy shapes and just like their namesake they are a strong, secure clasp.
Swivel Lobster Claws: These have all of the features of a standard lobster claw except they have the added benefit of swiveling, too. Your piece is secure while the base swivels at a complete 360 degrees so your necklace does not twist or kink.
Halstead, is one of North America’s leading distributors of jewelry supplies. Halstead specializes in wholesale findings, chain, tools and metals for jewelry artists.