Check out this guide about different types of jewelry clasps and tips for how to use them.
When creating a piece of beaded jewelry, the first thing you think about is the beads you’re going to use. What color, size, shape… Maybe, the second thing is the type of thread or cord.
One component that’s often overlooked is the clasp. And really, the clasp is so important.
It’s more than just a functional finding that allows you to put on your jewelry, it also plays a part in the security of the piece and even the design.
There are many types of jewelry clasps to choose from and some are better for certain projects than others. So, here’s a guide about the various options and tips about how to use each.
A Guide About The Types of Jewelry Clasps
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The lobster clasp, so named because of its similarity to a lobster claw, is a fastener held closed by a spring. You open or close it by pulling a small lever on one side of the clasp.
These clasps come in a variety of sizes and styles, including some that are attached to swivels. The swivel allows jewelry like bracelets and anklets, that roll around, to move without hindrance.
Many people find it difficult to put on bracelets with lobster clasps on their own so you may want to keep that in mind.
Lobster clasps close pretty securely so they work well with everyday heavier pieces and children’s jewelry.
They’re also good options when you need to adjust the length of a bracelet or necklace. If you’re making jewelry for someone but you’re not sure of their size, use a lobster clasp on one end and attach a short piece of chain to the other. The person wearing the necklace can find their perfect fit and the jewelry will still look great.
Spring Ring Clasps
A spring ring clasp is a small metal ring with a spring inside of it. When you press a lever on one side of the ring, the spring compresses, leaving a gap in the ring.
These are some of the most popular types of jewelry clasps on the market and because they’re secure closures, you can use them on any type of jewelry.
Some people do find it hard to operate the lever on very tiny versions of these so they would not be good for anyone who has problems with dexterity.
A toggle clasp consists of a piece of metal with a hole in the center and a bar that is T-shaped. To close this type of jewelry clasp, you need to turn the bar on its side, push it through the ring and then it locks into place because the bar is wider than the ring itself.
When purchasing toggle clasps, make sure the bar is not too short or it will slip through the ring. Also, when using them for beading, making sure the beads closest to the bar can fit through the ring. Otherwise, you’ll find you have difficulty closing the clasp.
You can use these closures on any type of jewelry. They come in lots of shapes and sizes and can be very decorative.
Magnetic clasps are two-part clasps held together by magnets. While the magnets can be quite strong, these aren’t the most secure kind of closures so don’t use them for heavy or very special pieces of jewelry. Also, keep in mind that the magnets can weaken over time.
These are great for bracelets as they are very easy to close.
Please note that these clasps may not be the best option for people with pacemakers as the magnet may disrupt its function. Speak to your physician to be certain.
A push clasp is a two-part clasp where the ends simply push together, engaging a spring mechanism that holds the clasp closed until you press the lever.
These can be very ornate and can be used as a focal point in the jewelry or simply as an accent.
Button clasps are exactly what they sound like. They’re shaped like buttons.
You simply attach the clasp to one end of your jewelry and create a seed bead loop for the button to fit into on the other end. A word of caution: Make sure the loop is just big enough for the button to slip through so it stays put and is secure.
Jewelry with these types of clasps are easy to put on when you’re alone.
They come in lots of colors and finishes including non-metallic ones, making them a good option for people who have metal allergies.
Glue-in clasps are hollow so you can fit your jewelry inside and secure it with glue. I suggest using E6000 which is very strong and dries clear.
There are flat options of these kinds of closures which would be great for Flat Peyote Stitch jewelry. Use the rounded styles to finish Tubular Herringbone Stitch or Kumihimo jewelry, for example.
If you want to create a piece of jewelry with multiple strands of beads, then you’ll need a multi-strand clasp. These have two or more holes where you can attach your cord or thread and create a lovely layered look.
There are different kinds of multi-strand clasps including push clasps and slide lock clasps. Each side of a slide lock clasp is a tube with multiple rings for attaching strands. One side of the clasp slides into the other and locks into place.
When using a slide lock clasp, attach it to one end of your jewelry while it’s closed. This prevents you from attaching the two sides the wrong way around.
These are similar to what you might find on a wrist watch. They operate on a hinge, fold over the hook on the opposite end of the jewelry and snap shut.
Fold-over clasps are very easy to open and close with one hand.
Barrel Screw Clasps
Barrel clasps are barrel-shaped and have two metal ends. One end has threads, much like a screw that twists into the other end, holding the closure shut. These are great for light to medium-weight pieces.
These types of clasps definitely require two hands to fasten and therefore are not good choices for bracelets.
One half of a fish hook clasp is a hook and the other half is a hollow oval with a bar at one end. When the hook is inserted into the oval, it catches on the bar and stays in place. The oval is said to resemble a fish.
These types of jewelry clasps are very simple but elegant. They are best used for lightweight necklaces as they are not as secure as other closure styles. You can use them for bracelets but as this type of jewelry has to endure a lot of movement, I wouldn’t recommend it.
An S-hook clasp is shaped like the letter “S”. (I bet you didn’t see that one coming!) The simple design makes it very easy to put on jewelry with this type of clasp.
Attach one end of the hook to the jewelry and slip the other end into a ring. The weight of the piece should be sufficient to hold the clasp in place but this is not the most secure type of closure. You can squeeze one end of the hook to reduce the chances of it coming undone.
So there you have it — a complete guide about different types of jewelry clasps. You can choose the most appropriate option for any beading project.
To learn more about jewelry findings, here’s a post all about earring findings.