All About Clasps

by Barbara van Look, Content Development Group, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®

See a variety of clasp styles, with usage suggestions and other information.

Add-a-Bead Clasps are designed for use with chain (although they can be used with cord). The low profile of the clasp allows large hole beads or large loop bails to slide right over the clasp onto the necklace.

Adjustable Clasps are hook-and-eye clasps with an attached length of chain. This allows a designer to vary necklace length for versatile jewelry.

Ball-and-Joint Clasps use pressure on the ball to keep the clasps closed. Due to their easy-open and easy-close design, these styles are best for lightweight to medium-weight necklace designs.

Bar-and-Ring Toggle Clasps are two-piece clasps. One piece is formed into a loop (usually a circle, but sometimes other shapes such as stars, hearts or leaves); the other piece is a ''T'' shaped bar. The clasp is closed by pulling the ''T'' shaped bar through the open loop. Immensely popular and easy to use, the bar-and-ring or toggle clasp is available in almost infinite material options and in a variety of styles, weights and designs. They are commonly used for necklaces (especially lariat style), bracelets and anklets.

Barrel (aka Torpedo) Clasps are low-profile clasps with threading, which are twisted to open and to close. See also screw clasps.

Bead Clasps look like a bead, with a magnet, tab or bayonet closure. They blend in when closed, allowing the design to visually flow uninterrupted around the piece. Can include box clasp and magnetic clasp styles.

Box [aka Tab Insert] Clasps have a tab which is inserted into a decorative frame or box. Some styles come with safety latches or safety chains, which prevent the wedge-shaped tab from pulling out and the jewelry from dropping off. Some styles are accented with gemstones, enamel or inlay work. See also bead clasps and filigree clasps. They are commonly used for lightweight necklaces, bracelets and anklets.

Button Toggle Clasps are a set of matched buttons, one with a loop of cord. The leather is looped around the other button to close the clasp.

Crimping Clasps are crimped onto the end of beading wire or cord with crimping or flat-nose pliers. Can include hook-and-eye clasp, lobster claw clasp and magnetic clasp styles.

Filigree Clasps have an open, filigreed surface, like a metallic lace. Can include box clasp and fishhook clasp styles.

Fishhook Clasps are small clasps with a fishhook-shaped interior hook which is inserted into an oval box. The interior hook prevents jewelry from immediately falling off if the clasps are accidentally opened by hooking on the crossbar within the clasp box. Ideal for lightweight necklaces and bracelets.

Hook-and-Eye [aka Hook-Style] Clasps are possibly the oldest style of clasp in the world. This immensely popular clasp comes in a wide selection of patterns, designs and styles. This easy-open clasp is recommended mostly for necklaces and chain belts. Can include adjustable clasp, crimping clasp, magnetic clasp and multi-strand clasp styles.

Lobster Claw Clasps are self-closing. The name gives a general idea of the clasp design; however, these spring-loaded clasps are available in a range of shapes, sizes and styles. They are suited for lightweight to medium weight designs, however some larger styles can accommodate larger and heavier pieces. Can include crimping clasp, multi-strand clasp and swivel clasp styles.

Magnetic Clasps are two-piece clasps containing magnets. The magnets hold the two pieces of the clasp together, keeping the jewelry secure. Can include bead clasp, crimping clasp, hook-and-eye clasp and snap lock clasp styles.

Multi-Strand Clasps secure jewelry with two, three, four or more strands. Some styles are accented with gemstones, enamel or inlay work. Can include adjustable clasp, bar-and-ring clasp, box clasp, filigree clasp, fishhook clasp, hook-and-eye clasp, lobster claw clasp, S-hook clasp, slide lock clasp and springring clasp styles.

S-Hook Clasps are double-ended clasps, shaped like an ''S.'' Available in a spectrum of sizes and styles; some clasps are sold with two rings. Pinching the arm of the ''S'' secures the clasp. Pulling the ''S'' open again releases the ring and opens the clasp.

Screw Clasps have a threaded screw closure, similar to a barrel clasp, but are camouflaged to look like a bead, similar to a bead clasp.

Slide Lock Clasps consist of a set of tubes, one of which slides inside the other and locks into place. The bar style of these multi-strand clasps holds an almost unlimited number of strands of chain, cord, beading wire or thread.

Snap Lock [aka Fold-Over] Clasps are low-profile clasps and are less likely to tangle or snag on clothes or hair than other styles. This hinged clasp folds shut, closing securely and locking with a quiet ''snap.'' With this secure closure, snap lock clasps are ideal for bracelets or anklets.

Springring Clasps are used with a jumpring or chain tab to make a complete clasp. Pull the trigger to open. Release--and the clasp automatically springs closed. This popular spring-loaded clasp comes in a multitude of sizes, for single-strand to multi-strand designs.

Swivel Clasps are a form of the lobster claw clasp. The swivel allows the design to twist 360 degrees while the clasp stays in place, so they are ideal for bracelets and anklets.

Tab Lock Clasps close by inserting the decorative tab into the slot of the other half of the clasp. This easy-open, easy-close style is held closed by the weight of the finished jewelry itself. Due to their ease of opening, they are recommended for necklace designs.

Twister Clasps are hinged clasps which are hooked through each end of a continuous necklace, or opera-length pearl strand, changing it into a twisted choker necklace.

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