Jewelry clasps are more than just functional components used to securely connect two ends of a necklace or other piece of jewelry. Some clasps are there for function only, with a subdued appearance that keeps them from overpowering the jewelry. Other clasps are bold and are an important part of the jewelry's overall design.
Some types of clasps are more secure than others, and some are more difficult to open and close without help from another person.
What Are Spring Ring Clasps?
A spring ring clasp opens when you push back on a little lever that slides along a circular ring. Once the clasp is open, you simply insert the chain or loop that's attached to the piece you're connecting into the open circle, then release the lever to return it to the closed position. There's a tiny spring inside the clasp that puts pressure on the mechanism to keep the spring ring shut until you decide to open it again.
Spring ring clasps are commonly used to secure necklaces, bracelets, and anklets, but some people have a difficult time operating very tiny spring ring clasps by themselves. Clasps that attach to a good sized loop that you can handle easily--or to a rigid piece--are easier to handle.
What Are Lobster Claw Clasps?
Its name explains the general look of lobster claw clasps, but you can see in the photo that the look varies and can be fashioned to suit the jewelry the clasps are used to secure.
A lobster claw clasp has a tiny spring in its mechanism that keeps the arm closed until you push on the lever. Lobster claws are secure clasps that are popular for bracelets, necklaces, and anklets. They're somewhat easier to open and close by yourself than spring ring clasps are.
What Are Box Jewelry Clasps?
Box clasps are two-piece clasps that open when you push down on the exterior lever of a wedge-shaped piece of metal, compressing it so that it slides out of the opening. Push it back in, and it clicks into place.
Box clasps are easy to use, but often do not have as much strength as lobster claw clasps. Box clasps can be plain or decorative, and you'll find them in a variety of shapes and sizes.
What Are Box Clasps With Safety Guards?
A safety guard flips into place to add extra security to a box clasp.
What Are Toggle Clasps?
Toggle clasps are two-piece clasps that are attached to opposite ends of a piece of jewelry. One section of the clasp is formed into a circle or other shape with an open center. The other half is a thick bar that attaches to the components at the other end. When you insert the "T" into the circle extends past the circle's edges to hold the jewelry in place.
Toggle clasps are widely used to secure bracelets and anklets, but jewelry artisans also incorporate them into their necklace designs. They are available in numerous sizes and designs. Toggle clasps are not as secure as clasps that have a lock-type closure.
What Are Hidden Jewelry Clasps?
Hidden clasps blend in and seem to disappear when latched, allowing gems and other jewelry components flow uninterrupted around the piece. A safety latch provides additional security.
What Are Decorative Clasps?
Some clasps play a major role in jewelry design, like the heart clasp used in the bracelet shown on this page.
You'll see other clasp styles when you shop for jewelry. There are magnetic clasps that snap together quickly and easily when the two ends near each other; two-piece clasps that screw together; clasps that have a curved hook on one end that fits into a circular opening on the other.
Put on a few necklaces and bracelets to see how easily you can open and close different types of clasps by yourself. Determine how secure the clasps are, especially when buying fine jewelry.
When you begin to pay attention to clasps you'll appreciate their contribution to jewelry design and functionality.