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Common Types of Jewelry Clasps for Necklaces and Bracelets

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Three different chains with clasps

 

What Are Necklace and Bracelet Jewelry Clasps?

A “clasp” is the name for the mechanical (or moveable) portion of a piece of jewelry, most notably used in necklaces and bracelets. Even though the sole function of necklace and bracelet clasps is to keep the jewelry securely on your neck or wrist, clasps are often one of the most overlooked considerations when selecting a piece of jewelry. But clasps can be one of the most critical things to consider, as the style of clasp can determine not only how secure the piece of jewelry is, but how easily it can be put on and taken off. 

 

Different Types of Clasps for Jewelry 

 

The Lobster Claw Clasp

The lobster claw clasp is named for its physical resemblance to this crustacean’s pinchers. The clasp is spring-loaded and ideally suited for both necklaces and bracelets. It’s especially well-suited for pieces that are particularly heavy. As the clasp is self-closing, it’s also a good option for pieces of jewelry intended for daily wear.

It is important to note that if you have arthritis or mobility issues with your hands, you might have trouble using a lobster claw clasp and may want to select jewelry with a style of clasp that’s easier to use.

 

The Spring Clasp

The spring clasp is another type of jewelry clasp commonly used for necklaces and bracelets and functions in the same manner as the lobster claw clasp with a spring-loaded lever. The main difference between a spring clasp and a lobster claw clasp is the thickness of the clasp. Spring clasps tend to be smaller and daintier, making them better suited for finer, more delicate pieces of jewelry. It’s important to note that a spring clasp can be challenging to open and close, since the lever on this type of clasp is smaller than that of a lobster claw clasp. If you have larger fingers or arthritis issues, you may want to opt for a different design due to ease-of-use considerations.

 

The Barrel Clasp, or Screw Clasp

A barrel clasp also takes its name from the shape of the object it resembles. Unlike the lobster or spring clasp, the barrel clasp employs a screw-like mechanism to close the piece of jewelry around your neck or wrist, which is why it’s sometimes called a screw clasp.

To use a barrel clasp, insert one end of the clasp inside the other end and twist to firmly secure the piece. These clasps, sometimes also referred to as torpedo clasps, usually have symmetrical ends so they provide a nice, clean and finished look to jewelry.

 

The Hook & Eye Clasp

The hook and eye clasp is also named after the object it resembles. One end of the clasp resembles a fishhook, and the other end resembles an eye. It’s one of several types of jewelry clasps that doesn’t employ a spring or screw mechanism in its design. It can be found in other everyday objects, such as corset hooks.

If you have an active lifestyle, consider whether your daily activities could cause an accidental undoing of the clasp. This is especially important to consider if the piece carries significant weight. 

 

Magnetic Clasp

The magnetic clasp, as the name implies, uses active magnets to secure a piece of jewelry. This type of jewelry clasp, while often the easiest to use, relies on the strength of the magnets used to keep your jewelry securely on your body. As it’s designed to come apart when pulled in opposite directions, you might want to consider restricting physical activity while wearing it to not accidentally undo the clasp. 

 

Bolo Clasps or Slider Clasps

Bolo clasps, or slider clasps, take their name from Western-wear bolo ties, which were designed to resemble lariats. Bolo clasps are adjustable and designed to move, a major factor to consider when purchasing jewelry with one of these clasps. It’s unlikely that a necklace with a bolo clasp could accidentally come off your neck without you noticing. But if the clasp is even a little loose or ill-maintained on a bracelet, the clasp could come undone, and the bracelet could slide right off your wrist.

 

Toggle Clasps 

Toggle clasps are comprised of a small bar on one end and a round hoop on the other end of the necklace or bracelet. The bar is fed through the hoop and then turned lengthwise to keep the jewelry in place. Toggle clasps are easy to use with one hand. But since this type of clasp needs tension to stay closed, it’s not particularly secure, especially if you’ll be moving around a lot. 

 

Box Clasps 

Box clasps are some of the most ornate styles of clasp: one side of the clasp is a decorative box, and the other side is a tab that slides into the box. Box clasps are easy to put on and take off, as all you must do is insert the tab into the box to close and press a lever to release, making them easy to use if you’ve got arthritis or mobility issues. 

Box clasps are also one of the more durable styles of clasps and are used for pieces that are particularly heavy and on pieces of jewelry with multiple strands as well. A lot of people like to wear box clasps as they click into to place. Hearing that little “ping” of the tab sliding into the lock can provide an extra layer of security.

 

Buckle Clasps

Buckle clasps work much like a belt buckle does and are most commonly used on watches instead of necklaces and bracelets. If you’ve got a certain antique brand name watch in your possession worth a lot of money, it’s also probably got a buckle clasp. Other varieties of buckle clasps include click-in-place styles that have a threaded part that inserts into the main housing unit and contain a push-button release to remove them. Buckle clasps are fairly secure since they have mechanisms that require undoing before getting them off, but they are rarely found on necklaces as mentioned before.

 

Figure 8 Safety Clasps 

If learning about the various vulnerabilities of different types of clasps has gotten you concerned about keeping your jewelry safe, you can always add what’s called a Figure 8 Safety Clasp on top of your existing clasp. Think of it as a seatbelt for your jewelry: it fits over your existing clasp and locks into place, giving your jewelry an added layer of protection. 

 

Evaluating Which Jewelry Clasps are Right for You 

There are several factors to consider when selecting a style of jewelry clasp. While it’s never a good idea to wear your fine jewelry while participating in labor-intensive activities such as working out, gardening or cleaning, consider these main differentiators when selecting a clasp. 

Ease of use: Can you easily open and close the clasp yourself or will you need assistance? Whether or not you will need help putting on and taking off the piece of jewelry may influence your decision as to what to purchase.

Lifestyle: If you’re always on the go, playing sports and working with your hands, you should look at selecting a more secure style of clasp to ensure your necklace or bracelet doesn’t accidentally come undone. How actively you protect and care for your jewelry might also influence your purchasing decision.

Weight: If your piece of jewelry carries significant weight, you might want to select a necklace or bracelet clasp better suited to support heavier pieces of jewelry such as the lobster claw clasp. Pairing a dainty clasp with a heavy piece of jewelry is a recipe for disaster! 

Be sure to evaluate the clasp of the necklace or bracelet before you buy your new jewelry piece and make sure it can not only bear the weight of the piece but withstand your day-to-day activities. 

With all this to think about, the one thing that should be a no-brainer is getting your fine jewelry insured to protect yourself against the unexpected! Consider a personal jewelry policy from Jewelers Mutual for your jewelry pieces. Unlike homeowners insurance, a personal jewelry policy covers you against loss and disappearance which most homeowners insurance policies don’t. Check your rate online in just a few minutes today!

 

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About Jewelers Mutual Group

Jewelers Mutual was founded in 1913 by a group of Wisconsin jewelers to meet their unique insurance needs. Later, consumers began putting their trust in Jewelers Mutual to protect their jewelry and the special memories each piece holds. Today, Jewelers Mutual continues to support and move the industry forward by listening to jewelers and consumers and offering products and services to meet their evolving needs. Beyond insurance, Jewelers Mutual’s powerful suite of innovative solutions and digital technology offerings help jewelers strengthen and grow their businesses, mitigate risk, and bring them closer to their customers. The Group insurers’ strong financial position is reflected in their 37 consecutive “A+ Superior” ratings from AM Best Company, as of November 2023. Policyholders of the Group insurers are members of Jewelers Mutual Holding Company. Jewelers Mutual is headquartered in Neenah, Wisconsin, with other Group offices in Dallas, Texas and Miami, Florida. To learn more, visit JewelersMutual.com.