The Complete Guide to Jewelry Clasps and Toggles

Jewelry-making involves a lot of fun and creative thinking, from the color to the style to the size of the piece you are creating. One aspect of jewelry-making that usually falls to the wayside is the type of closure or clasps you will use to finish your piece. Although they are often overlooked, the findings you decide to use will ultimately impact the longevity and wearability of your piece.

Jewelry findings are the components, except beads, used in beaded jewelry-making to finish a piece of jewelry. It is good to become familiar with the various types of clasps and toggles and their uses whether you are new to jewelry-making or simply looking to expand your jewelry-making expertise.

Interlocking or C Clasps

Interlocking clasps, also called C clasps, are fastening mechanisms that interlock with one another without utilizing a closing mechanism.

The interlocking clasp consists of a c-shaped piece and a corresponding identical piece or jump rings. The clasp is circular with a small opening on the side, much like the shape of the letter C. The c-shaped piece then hooks or locks into the corresponding piece.

Interlocking clasps make a good closure for heavy necklaces because the weight of the necklace helps to keep the fastening in place.

Button Snap Clasps

Button snap clasps have only recently become more popular in jewelry-making. As the name suggests, a button snap clasp is a fastening that utilizes a button cap with a stud that snaps into a button socket.

Button snaps are another clasp that affords extreme ease of use. They can be effortlessly fastened with one or two hands and are appropriate closures for any jewelry type. Button clasps can also be quite decorative and add a fun and unexpected element to an otherwise simple piece of jewelry.

However, it is best to keep in mind that the button clasp mechanism can pull apart under a certain amount of force. Button clasps should not be used for expensive pieces that contain precious stones.

Barrel Clasps

Barrel clasps are another popular closure for both fine jewelry pieces and everyday wear because they are simple to use and offer a reliable hold.

These clasps get their name from their shape rather than their function. They consist of two metal pieces, one of which has a protruding screw end that screws into the corresponding piece, which has a threaded socket.

The biggest drawback of these pieces is that they require two hands to use. Because of this, it is a poor choice for bracelets. They are made to blend with the chain and not distract from the beads or jewels themselves.

Toggle Clasps

gold bracelet

Toggle clasps are beautiful, elegant, and easy to use closure pieces that are extremely versatile. They vary considerably in style, size and finish, but they are usually designed to stand out on a piece and add to its overall look.

Toggle clasps are composed of an open piece that is most often a circle but may also consist of a centerless triangle, square or other shape and a corresponding bar piece. The clasp is fastened by manipulating the t-shaped bar piece through the center of the corresponding shape. The bar is then turned to lock in place.

Toggle clasps can be used for various jewelry types and are easier to manipulate with one hand than other clasp variations. However, as with other hook-based clasps, they work best when used as a fastener for heavier jewelry. This is because heavier pieces pull on the clasp, which makes for a more secure fastening.

Toggle clasps are usually the most decorative clasps available online, and they let you run away with your creativity. Some are even designed to be worn as a visible part of a necklace or bracelet.

Magnetic Clasps

small metal parts

A magnetic clasp relies on a magnetic bond as a fastener. The two corresponding ends both contain magnets. When placed near one another, the ends snap together with little to no effort on the part of the wearer.

Because of their ease of use, magnetic clasps are an excellent choice for designers who are developing pieces for older individuals who can no longer manipulate small or fine fastenings. They are also a good choice for children’s jewelry, as most children do not have the motor skills necessary to work more complex fixtures.

However, it is important to keep in mind that a magnetic clasp is only as strong as the magnetic pull of its magnets and they may not be the best choice for fine jewelry pieces.

Like toggle clasps, magnetic clasps vary in size, shape, finish and style and it is easy to find magnetic clasps online to match almost any piece.

Whatever your jewelry-making style or preference, there is a wide variety of choices of jewelry findings available online so you can create one-of-a-kind pieces. 

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