Usually, when we discuss jewelry, we talk about the intricate and beautiful designs of the most-seen portions. But today, we're talking about the unseen heroes of necklaces and bracelets - the jewelry clasp. The jewelry clasp is the little mechanism that keeps your jewelry in place while you're wearing it and allows you to take the jewelry off or put it on without damaging it.
You may not have noticed this before, but many types of clasps exist. While you aren't meant to notice all of them, others are a part of the overall design. Here is a glossary to help you understand the different bracelet clasp types.
The Different Bracelet Clasp Types
Classic Clasp Types
Here are the classic clasp types:
The hook clasp is a tight S shape clasp that makes hooking your jewelry on and off easier but can still hold it securely.
The box clasp is a tiny decorative box on one end and a tab on the other that slides inside it on the other. There is also a safety feature to hold the tab inside the box while you wear the jewelry and then allows you to unclip it. You'll find this type of clasp on tennis styles and hinged bracelets.
The ball clasp (also called the bead clasp) is a round fastener. These provide a decorative closure, and you may see them with texturing or gemstones.
The fishhook clasp consists of an oval case on one side of the opening and a hook on the other. The hook is inserted into the oval case, creating a secure and beautiful closure for lightweight bracelets and necklaces.
The barrel clasp is a tiny barrel-shaped closure that forms two halves of the barrel when not closed. When you screw the two halves together, they form a secure hold, or a box or hook-insert.
Spring Ring Clasp
The spring ring clasp is one you'll see the most often. This clasp was invented in the early 1900s and features a circular fastener with a spring that opens the clasp and also holds it closed.
The lobster clasp is appropriately named - it looks like a lobster claw. It is pinched open to hook into the ring on the other side and to release it.
Push Button Clasp
The push button clasp clicks into place and can be released by pushing on a button or lever.
Special Fine Jewelry
For special fine jewelry, here are the clasps most often used:
A concealed clasp is used in jewelry where it can be hidden in the piece's design. It allows for an undisturbed appearance.
The ladder clasp is an old-style clasp used on watches where one side is a foldover and the other side hooks into one of its slots.
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The buckle clasp is usually seen on leather jewelry and is similar to a regular belt buckle. One end is put through a loop on the other side and is held in place when the hinged prong is inserted into a hole. The prong rests against the frame of the loop and is secured.
The slide clasp features two bars that slide into a locked position.
The swivel clasp is a kind of lobster clasp that can swivel around the base.
A toggle clasp is a beautiful addition to any jewelry piece. On one side, it features a t-shaped bar that is threaded through a large loop or circle on the other side. The decorative bar lays straight across and holds the jewelry onto you in style - sometimes, it's a major design feature.
A magnetic clasp is excellent for people who struggle with 'fiddlier' closures, as the magnetic hold only requires the wearer to get the two sides close to one another.
Not all jewelry requires a clasp to be secured. Here are a few styles that don't need clasps.
These bangles and cuff bracelets are made wide enough to be slipped onto your wrist but not so large that the bracelets slip back off easily.
A necklace that doesn't need any clasp is called endless. This style may be made of beads or pearls and is so large it doesn't need to be opened; it can just slip over the wearer's head. Sometimes these necklaces are made so long that they can be wrapped around the wearer's neck more than once.
Stretch bracelets are usually made with beads or pearls strung on an elastic cord or coil. These bracelets don't need clasps because they can stretch over your hands and onto your wrists. Once on your wrists, the elastic or coil springs back in size and keeps the bracelets securely on your wrist.
Jewelry Safety Clasps
In addition to the regular bracelet clasp types, many jewelry pieces have safety clasps. Often found on watches, necklaces, bracelets, and pins, safety clasps further ensure that your jewelry can't slip off if the initial clasp comes undone.
When the safety is used on a pin, it's usually to protect the pin's point. Here are some types of safety clasps:
Single Latch Safety
A single latch safety features a hinged clasp, providing additional safety for the regular closure of a bracelet or necklace.
A safety chain is usually attached to both ends of the opening of the bracelet or necklace. It gives you that extra protection if the initial closure fails to hold. The chain will hold the ends together, so the jewelry doesn't fall off completely.
This mechanism takes a C-shaped piece or hook to hold a pin or clasp.
When wearing a brooch, you may want to have a revolver safety. It will protect you from the point of the pin, holding in place with this revolving lever.
Figure 8 Safety
The figure 8 safety is hinged with a cinched middle that holds over a button. You will usually see this kind of safety on a hinged bangle bracelet.
The push-pull is a tube that slides over the pointy end of an estate pin to hold it safely.
A double latch secures the clasp of your necklace or bracelet by using two safety latches.
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