Types of Jewelry Clasps: List of Findings and Where to Buy Them
I'm not sure exactly what got me thinking about jewelry clasps one day. I started browsing Google hits for the subject and was surprised how limited the resources were. Most sites only cover 4-5 clasps (with almost no pictures or resources), which is a shame, because is such a wide variety out there. I was determined to do better than that for this hub.
I've included pictures of jewelry using all of the clasps that I describe in this article. I hope that these visuals help you to gain a better understanding of how the clasps work. If you want to see close ups of the clasps, click on the pictures to see the larger versions or visit the resource links.
Almost all of the clasps in this article are available in bulk on eBay. I only provided links for a few of them here, but I personally tested most of them. If you are planning to use large quantities of a few clasps, it's well worth purchasing them in bulk.
This simple, familiar clasp is perfect for a wide variety of jewelry pieces. It is not ideal for those with arthritis or for tighter bracelets that people will be fastening on themselves. I use them for a number of my charm bracelets and other button bracelets. They work well for necklaces, too. Typically I order my lobster clasps in mass quantities through eBay. Art Beads offers a neat, easier to operate double push lobster clasp. I've linked it below.
How to add clasp and jump ring to your jewelry
Typically toggle clasps are a little fancier than lobster clasps and are also easier to fasten. They come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes (i.e. hearts, triangles, etc.). It can be a lot of fun to pick out a toggle with a perfect shape to match your piece. You can't go wrong with the classic round toggle, too.
Beaded Jewelry Projects : Using Toggle Clasps for Beaded Jewelry
If you've been reading my hubs for a while now, you've probably noticed that I really love buttons. Buttons make wonderful clasps. You can use buttons with holes or shanks and that are made of different materials (plastic, ceramic, etc.). Typically I use buttons that are 1/2" or wider for clasps.
If you're like me and always on the look out for bulk buttons, check fabric/craft stores for bulk button bins and estate/second hand sales for old button jars.
Magnetic clasps are a wonderful option for those who want a very easy to operate closure. Be careful when constructing delicate pieces. Sometimes magnets are strong enough to pull them apart when you fasten or unfasten the bracelets. Many magnetic clasps are very simple, but there are some fancier options out there. I have a beautiful gold one on a strand of cream pearls.
Slide lock / tube bar clasp (pin clasp)
This clasp is ideal for multistrand pieces, such as the gorgeous crocheted piece on the right. It's very easy to operate.
A ribbon can make a wonderful finish for a bracelet or necklace. It isn't the most practical closure, but it can be very elegant. Ribbons come in a wide range of sizes and colors. Have fun browsing what's out there before you settle on one for your piece.
Check out Organza Bags, Ribbons, and Ric Rac by BeautifulAdditions on Etsy.
Many beadweavers choose to use beaded beads as clasps for their bracelets and cuffs. Delicas work wonderfully for beaded beads. If you're not a beadweaver but are interested in using a beaded bead for one of your pieces, there are many available on Etsy as stand alone products. Search beadwoven beaded beads.
Part 2 Even Count Peyote Tubular Beaded Beads
Lanyard (spring) hook clasp
Hook clasps are used frequently for lanyards. Some hook clasps include a swivel. If you specialize in lanyards, consider investing in bulk clasps.
Push gate snap hook
This is another option for a lanyard clasp, especially for some of the non-beaded varieties as well as heavier weight pieces.
Spring ring clasp
If you wear necklaces, I'm sure that you've seen spring rings clasps. They are light and delicate, perfect for small chain necklaces. If you make jewelry that is in any way similar to the piece pictured on the right, this is a good clasp choice. Spring rings are not ideal for people who have arthritis or who have difficulty operating smaller clasps.
Multi strand end pieces
If you aren't interested in a slide lock, this is another good option for multi stranded pieces. There are different clasps available for pieces with a variety of strand numbers.
Barrel clasps are another popular necklace clasp. They are light and delicate. To work them, you simply screw the two sides of the barrel together, making them easier to operate than lobsters or spring rings.
S hook / S clasp (hook and eye)
Many jewelry makers who enjoy wire wrapping will make their own S hooks/clasps. This isn't my own preference for jewelry work, but I'm glad that there are people out there who enjoy it, because this is a very elegant clasp.
The box clasp has a simple locking system that comes apart when you squeeze and pull on the designated lever. Box clasps come in a variety of sizes and designs. Some are designed for multi stranded pieces.
Metals to consider include:
There are a number of different metals to consider for claps. Most likely you will not be able to find all clasps in all metals, but many are available in multiple metals. Consider what will work best for your pieces. Currently silver and white gold are trendy, but they may not be the best fit for your particular items.
If you're looking to branch out from metal, consider the following materials: plastic (especially buttons), ceramic, stone, wood, and glass. Art Beads carries a number of glass buttons and toggles, including a wide variety of Swarovski buttons. There are lots of handmade ceramic buttons on Etsy. Two of my favorite ceramic shops on Etsy are LisaPetersArt and artisanclay.