Below is a simple guide to jewelry clasps, helpful for construction or purchases.
Spring Ring Clasp
Spring Ring Clasps are common in jewelry. It is a metal ring with a spring mechanism. Just pull back on the small lever and the spring will compress, leaving an opening so you can slide a jump ring or tab inside. Releasing the lever causes the clasp to close automatically, firmly locking the chain in place.
This type of clasp is versatile and very secure. The spring ring clasp is a great choice for most everyday jewelry if you want something understated and functional.
It can be difficult to fasten this type of clasp on a bracelet one-handed, and it can be hard to manipulate if the ring is particularly small.
Lobster clasps are named for its resemblance to a lobster’s claw. It is a spring-loaded, self-closing clasp style. To open a lobster clasp, simply push down on the lever with your thumb and the bottom section of the “claw” will swing inward. Releasing the lever will close the clasp.
Lobster clasps are available in a variety of sizes and styles, including a swivel style that allows the clasp portion to rotate 360 degrees without disturbing the piece of jewelry at all. This swivel-style is ideal for bracelets and anklets since they tend to move around a lot during wear. The lobster clasp is a very popular choice, great for everyday jewelry that’s light to medium weight. Heavier pieces are better suited for a sturdier type of clasp.
Barrel clasps are made of two metal pieces that screw together to close and look like a barrel. Each part is attached to one end of the piece of jewelry. These clasps are very versatile and come in many different sizes and finishes. Sometimes they’re even decorative, but more often they’re simply gold or silver and designed to blend in with the finished piece.
The main drawback of a barrel clasp is that it requires two hands to fasten, so it’s not a good choice for bracelets unless you plan on having someone else put your jewelry on for you every day. It’s also not ideal for individuals who struggle with dexterity.
Toggle Clasps are composed of two very different pieces; one end is a long bar or “T” shape while the other is an open shape, most often a circle. The bar slips through the center of the shape and locks in place. Toggle clasps are available in many sizes and with various amounts of embellishment.
Toggle clasps can be used on any type of jewelry, but work best with heavier pieces because the weight of the piece can help ensure that the bar won’t slip back out during wear.
Be sure when choosing a toggle that the bar is small enough to fit through the corresponding shape, but large and thick enough to lock securely in place because the biggest concern with this type of clasp is the fact that it can sometimes come undone.
Magnetic clasps are composed of two pieces that contain magnets. These magnets attract one another and snap together, locking the piece of jewelry in place. There are a huge variety of magnetic clasps available in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Some are small, round, and delicate, while others are large and rectangular. Still others are texturized or accessorized with rhinestones and more.
These clasps are very easy to fasten and work well for all types of jewelry. They are also a particularly good choice for older women or those with limited dexterity.
S Hook Clasp
S Hook Clasps are one of the oldest types of jewelry clasps in existence. Known for their simple “S” shape, they are designed to attach to one end of a piece of jewelry and slide onto a ring at the other end. S hooks can be very basic or quite ornate, and are a pretty, decorative choice.
There are two things to be cautious of with this type of clasp. First, be sure that the hook is tight enough to lock securely onto the ring without slipping back off. Second, be sure that the hook is formed so that it won’t catch on clothing or other objects.
Fishhook Clasps are designed with one end as a metal hook, while the other is an oval shaped box. The hook fastens into a hidden spot inside the box and sometimes even locks due to a spring mechanism.
This type of clasp can be difficult to do with one hand, so it’s ideal for a necklace vs. bracelet.
Side Lock Clasp
The Side lock Clasp is designed particularly for multi-strand necklaces and bracelets. Each side has a long tube with rings for attaching strands of chain, wire, thread, or cord. This clasp locks together with one side sliding into the other.
Box Clasps have a tab which is inserted into a box. It can be used in lightweight necklaces. It comes in a variety of styles, the best of which include a safety chain to prevent the tab from pulling out and jewelry from falling off completely.
Crimping Clasps are clasps that are crimped on ends of beading wires or cords. (Hook-and-eye clasps, lobster claw clasps and magnetic clasps can be considered crimping clasps.)
Snap and Button Clasp
Snap and Button clasps have a hinge clasp that folds and locks with a snap. The benefit of this low-profile clasp is that it won’t tangle on your hair or clothes.
Hidden clasps disappear into the design when latched, allowing gems and other jewelry components flow uninterrupted. A safety latch on these clasps provides additional security.