December 09, 2014 / Educational

Types of Jewelry Clasps & Closures

Explore our guide to common types of jewelry clasps and closures used in necklaces and bracelets. Learn terminology & the best applications for each style. ...

Read our guide on types of jewelry clasps and closures popular in today's modern day necklace and bracelet designs. Choose the best clasp for each design with this helpful glossary of terms.

Jewelry clasps and closures are necessary components for most necklaces, bracelets, and anklets. Choosing the right type of clasp is important for customer satisfaction. Here is a glossary of the different jewelry clasp styles and how each one functions.

Bulk spring rings

Spring rings

Created in the early 1900s, spring rings have been a staple in necklaces and bracelets for years. These findings use a steel spring-loaded mechanism that works when pressure is applied to the latch. Spring rings are economically priced and best used with lightweight jewelry chains. They are also popular with charms as they can be used to snap a removable charm on and off with ease. Large, heavy spring rings are often called Bolt Rings.

Safety Clasps

Jewelry safety clasps

The earliest known form of a jewelry clasp was created in the late 1700s and resembled the modern-day safety clasp. It consists of two pieces, one that features a spring lock mechanism that slides into a slotted groove located on the second piece. There are a number of variations on this style such as box clasps, pearl clasps, and filigree clasps. They typically hook around a stopper bar or have a pinch activated pull tab so the clasp cannot be accidentally opened. These latches are often more expensive and decorative. So, they are often used on higher-end jewelry items.

Tube Clasps

Multi-strand tube clasps

Tube clasps are used for jewelry pieces that have multiple strands. They consist of two hollow tubes with rings soldered on each of the tubes. To secure them you simply slide one into the other. They function well on both necklaces and bracelets.

Enhancers /Shorteners

Chain link clasps and shorteners

Also referred to as enhancers, hinged closures can be used for multiple purposes. As a chain-link shortener, gather together large links at the end of the necklace and secure them in the clasp thus shortening it. They can also be used as an enhancer to add removable charms to a piece. These tend to be heavy-duty and lock in place with a hinged clasp.

Magnetic Clasps

Magnetic jewelry clasps

I love magnetic clasps! They are easy to use but they definitely require a small tag to pull apart. Customers are demanding that jewelers use magnet clasps more and more often due to frustration with small latches and mechanisms on other clasp types. Magnetic clasps tend to be on the heavy side, so it's important to make sure that they aren't the heaviest item on a finished piece or they will always wiggle their way to the front, bottom point on the necklace. Balance the weight of your design and you will be pleased with results.

Toggle Clasps

Jewelry making toggles

Found in higher-end jewelry pieces, toggles are fancy and easy to use. These types of clasps consist of two pieces that fit into one another. One is always a bar but the other piece can be any type of roundish shape but usually is a ring. These are usually on the heavier side of closures. They are perfect hidden or as a focal point. Toggles are a popular choice for charm bracelets because they are easy to operate with one hand.

Extender toggles

Extender toggles

These are toggles that consist of multiple links. They are used to extend necklaces to different lengths to give the wearer more options.

Hook & Eye Clasps

Hook and Eye clasp sets

Ranging from lightweight to heavy and plain to fancy, hook and eye sets are a favorite closure to use in jewelry designs. It's a hook that latches through a ring which makes it easy to use. These clasps are best for moderate to heavy neckpieces that will keep tension on the clasp since it is not securely latched closed.

Lobster Clasps

Lobster clasps

Much like the spring rings shown above, these closures feature a steel spring-loaded mechanism that is activated when pressure is applied to the latch. You can find lobster claws in trigger, oval and fancy shapes and just like their namesake they are a strong, secure clasp. Lobster claws are most popular on chain necklaces or bead work.

Swivel Lobster Clasps

Silver swivel lobster clasps

These have all of the features of a standard lobster claw except they have the added benefit of swiveling, too. Your piece is secure while the base swivels at a complete 360 degrees so your necklace does not twist or kink.

About Halstead

Halstead is one of North America's leading distributors of quality jewelry supplies. Halstead specializes in wholesale findings such as jewelry clasps, chain, and metal for jewelry artists.

You may be interested in our other jewelry vocabulary glossaries:

Types of Jewelry Chain Link Styles

Guide to Different Types of Earring Findings

5 Fresh Jewelry Chain Styles

Infograph: Types of Clasps & Closures

Written By: Hilary Halstead Scott
Hilary Halstead Scott is the President of Halstead, a wholesale jewelry supply company in Northern Arizona. She is the second generation of Halsteads to own and operate the business. Hilary has an MBA in Marketing and a Masters of International Business.

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