Choosing the Right Bracelet Clasp

Choosing the Right Bracelet Clasp

Beading Daily reader Nicole asked a great question about bracelet clasps. Her "best clasp" question is one of those questions that seems on the surface to be quick and easy. While there are some basic facts that you need to consider–like whether the recipient of your jewelry wears a pacemaker–there is also a lot of room for personal preference and experience. I'd love to know what you think about bracelet clasps–please share your own ideas in the comments section. Thanks!–Michelle Mach, Beading Daily editor.

Q: I have a question about bracelet clasps. I see lots of bracelets with the toggle bar clasps, but when I gave one to my friend she lost it for awhile. (Luckily, she did find it.) The next bracelets I gave away had a magnetic clasp and a box clasp respectively. One girl lost the magnetic one never to be found again and the box clasp broke. What is the best clasp that we can attach to our bracelets?

A: What a great question! I'm not sure there is a perfect clasp–much depends upon how often the piece will be worn, the weight of the bracelet, and the activeness of the recipient. Here are my thoughts on six types of clasps:

 

Toggle Clasp

Toggle clasps require tension to keep them closed. This makes them a great choice for necklaces, since you have the collected weight of all the beads at the front of the necklace keeping the clasp shut. If your bracelet uses small, lightweight beads like freshwater pearls, then you might not have enough tension to keep the toggle closed.

I use magnetic clasps for much of my personal jewelry because they are so easy to open. But Nicole's right–they still can get lost. One beader I know went to a conference where she sat in a metal folding chair. The magnetic clasp attached itself to the chair and slipped off her wrist without her noticing. Jean Campbell, author of Getting Started Stringing Beads, advises that magnetic clasps should only be used for "light- to middle-weight pieces." You also should not use magnetic clasps on pieces to be worn by people with pacemakers.

 

Lobster Clasp

A lobster clasp or spring ring clasp requires you to push a lever down to open clasp. An inexpensive option, these clasps can be difficult to open. Sometimes the bottom ring of the clasp can be weak and subject to breaking, particularly on spring ring clasps.

Box clasps often have inlaid gemstones or other designs that make them a beautiful finishing touch to a beaded bracelet. One half of a box clasp is hollowed out, while the other has a strip of metal that has been folded over. This metal tab slides into the hollow box with a snap. On high-end jewelry, I've seen  safety catches added for extra security. 

Pearl clasps combine both a fishhook clasp and a locking box mechanism, which means that there's a backup if the box mechanism fails.

 

 

Fold-Over Clasp 

Author of Findings and Finishings, Sharon Bateman writes about the fold-over clasp: "Even the most active person will have trouble snagging this clasp on clothing or objects." The top half of this type of clasp is pushed down until it snaps over the bottom half. I've never used these, but I did a little research and found them in use, particularly for watches. Many had additional safety catches.

Or why not skip the clasp altogether?

 

For that "special" person who keeps losing your bracelets no matter what kind of clasp you use, consider creating a bangle or cuff bracelet that does not require a clasp. Here are some some ideas to get you started:

 

 

For more information about clasps (including how to make your own), check out the book Findings and Finishings by Sharon Bateman.

 

-Michelle


 


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