One of the often overlooked elements of a good piece of jewelry is the clasp.
Beginning designers sometimes have so much fun designing and working with the beads of a piece that the clasp is left out of the designing process. However, it’s tremendously important that you choose the right clasp for a piece of jewelry.
The clasp can mean the difference between a design that looks finished and one that just doesn’t work at all. For example, I once made the mistake of using a magnetic clasp on a bracelet that also had metallic elements and the magnets would get unstuck from each other and stick to other parts of the bracelet!
When choosing a clasp you also have to take into account how well it will hold, how it will affect your design and how easy it is to open or close.
Sometimes you can’t foresee how a clasp will affect your piece until you’ve had lots of experience with different clasps and designs. We’ve put together this little cheat sheet to help you figure out that different types of clasps available for jewelry making and also what each type is best suited for. Enjoy!
Lobster Claw Clasp
One of the most popular clasp styles, especially for bracelets, necklaces and anklets, the lobster claw clasp is fairly easy to open and close by yourself and is very secure. Use this type of clasp for delicate designs or ones where you’d like the clasp to remain understated. A similar type of clasp is the spring ring clasp.
Bar and Toggle Clasps
Bar and toggle clasps are very different from the previous two types of clasps. They do not have a locking closure, rather, they use the resistance of the bar against the toggle to hold jewelry in place. Because of this, they are easy to put on but also not as secure as the previous two clasps. You will often see this type of clasp on bracelets and sometimes necklaces as well. Because of the many design options and styles available, they are a favorite of designers.
Some other examples of bar and toggle clasps below:
Another type of clasp is the box clasp. This clasp consists of two pieces in which one slides into the other. You press down on a lever to release the clasp. These clasps can be small and simple or large and ornate. Because of their versatility, box clasps feature as a part of many bracelet and necklace designs, sometimes as the featured piece! These clasps often don’t have the same strength and resistance as the locking clasps (lobster claw and spring ring) but are more secure than the bar and toggle clasps. At Eureka we carry both base metal box clasps as well as beautiful sterling sliver designer box clasps that will add a beautiful finish to your designs.
Tube Bar Clasps
A variation of the box clasp mechanism is the tube bar clasp. This type of clasp is also a sliding and locking type of clasp, only the clasp slides apart on the vertical axis instead of the horizontal one like the box clasp. These tend to have a better hold than box clasps but can be a bit challenging to put on and take off on your own.
Magnetic clasps are very convenient and easy to put on and take off. Their popularity has skyrocketed recently due to this convenience. One of the downsides of magnetic clasps is that you need a really good quality magnet that will hold very well. Be aware that they are not the best clasps to use in environments with lots of metal or magnets (like some retail) or in designs that have metallic elements.
Hook and Eye Clasps
Hook and eye clasps are usually used for necklaces where the weight of both sides of the piece will provide the counterweight that will keep the clasp from releasing. It is easy to put on and take off by yourself. This clasp is fairly secure for heavier pieces but I would not recommend for smaller, daintier jewelry.
Ball and Socket Clasps
Really good for small bracelets, the ball and socket clasp works like snaps on clothing. It is a small unobtrusive clasp that is easy to put on and take off yourself and very secure. These cute clasps will be available on our website soon!