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Types of Jewelry Clasps – A Guide & Glossary
Which clasp works best for what? That's a question we get a lot! This basic guide to popular types of jewelry clasps and fasteners will help you discover the best findings to use for your DIY designs and projects:
Jewelry clasps for bracelets – Many types of clasps look beautiful on bracelets, but perennial favorites for fastening bracelets include toggle clasps and magnetic clasps. Both of these clasp types are easy to use with only one hand! This also makes them great jewelry fasteners for elderly people, people with arthritis, and people with limited hand mobility.
Jewelry clasps for leather cord – Trendy lashed wrap bracelets are typically finished with buttons as the fastener that fits through a handmade loop of leather cord. Hook-and-eye clasps are a popular choice for finishing other types of leather cord bracelets and necklaces. Before adding the hook clasp, cap your leather cord with cord ends that fit the diameter of your cord. Almost any type of clasp can be used with leather cord when you pair your clasp with cord end findings!
Jewelry fasteners for leather strips – there are several creative and fun ways to finish leather strips in the wake of recent leather trends! The traditional favorite is to add snaps. Other options include tri-buckle clasps and wide hook clasps made especially for use with leather straps. To use additional types of clasps with leather strips, finish your leather with end bars, strap tips, or D rings then attach the clasp of your choice.
Definitions for Popular Types of Jewelry Clasps
- Lobster clasps are hugely popular self-closing fasteners. They’re a standard jewelry finding for lightweight to medium-weight necklaces, clip-on charms, and more. Named for their general shape, lobster clasps loosely resemble the outline of a lobster’s claw (which is why some people call them lobster claw clasps). Also called trigger clasps, these jewelry findings have a spring-loaded lever (or trigger) that you pull back with your thumb to insert the open clasp into a jump ring or other ring. Release your thumb and the “claw” snaps shut for a secure closure. Because of their popularity, you’ll find lobster clasps in a large range of sizes, metals, and finishes. Choose small sizes for delicate designs and large sizes for chunky statement jewelry. Shop for lobster clasps here.
- Magnetic clasps are exactly what they sound like – two-piece clasps made with magnets that are strong enough to securely fasten the ends of necklaces, bracelets, and more! Magnetic clasps work especially great for bracelets since you don't need both hands to close them. They're also popular on necklaces, and are good for people with arthritis and/or limited hand mobility. Because of the strength of these magnets, we recommend opening magnetic clasps by sliding the magnets apart from the side instead of pulling them apart. We also recommend using split rings instead of jump rings to attach magnetic clasps to your designs for added strength and security. For bracelets, a safety chain is a classy addition that will ensure your bracelet doesn’t become too friendly with large metal objects (desks, cars, shopping carts, etc.). Safety note: it is recommended that pregnant women and people with pacemakers not wear magnets. Shop for magnetic clasps here.
- Spring ring clasps are a traditional choice that is especially popular on lightweight necklaces and delicate chain. They tend to come in smaller sizes, but some larger sizes are also available. Similarly to lobster clasps, the spring ring clasp has a trigger that you pull back with your thumb. After inserting the opened clasp into a jump ring or other ring, release the spring-loaded trigger and the clasp snaps shut automatically. Shop for spring ring clasps here.
- Toggle clasps are hugely popular because they are easy to use and very versatile. They are also known as T-bar clasps, bar-and-ring clasps, and bar-and-loop clasps. As these alternate names reveal, toggles are comprised of a large ring and a T-shaped bar that is wider across than the ring. To clasp the separate pieces together, pull the bar through the ring then turn the bar sideways so that it rests securely against the ring. Toggle clasps are popular for making bracelets because they are easy to maneuver, even with one hand! This feature also makes them great for elderly people, people with arthritis, and people with limited hand mobility. Another reason people love toggle clasps is because toggles sometimes feature beautiful decorative elements that add to the playfulness and beauty of designs! For this reason, they’re a great choice for lariat necklaces that feature a clasp at the front of the necklace. One final note on toggle clasps: the longer the bar is in relation to the loop, the more secure the style is. However, there is a tradeoff. The longer the bar is, the harder it is to get the bar through the ring. We recommend always using small beads at the end of a strand next to a toggle clasp. This makes it easier to thread the bar through the ring. Shop for toggle clasps here.
Additional types of clasps each have their own special place in the world of jewelry design and artisan craftsmanship. What are the best ways to use barrel clasps, box clasps, pearl clasps, etc.? Click into our categories of clasps (pictured above) to find out more!
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