Clasps are probably the most under-appreciated, but most important, part of every jewelry piece.
Clasps can be completely functional or decorative, tiny or huge, but they serve the most important task on any jewelry piece - keeping your jewelry secure! Without a reliable clasp, your favorite jewelry might not last as long as you'd like... or rather... you won't be wearing it as long as you'd like.
The clasps that I choose to use in my jewelry, I do so because I want your jewelry to stay put, until YOU want to take it off. I also want them to be an asset to the design itself. Occasionally I make my own.
So, 1st choice: Durable, reliable & functional, 2nd choice: Stylish.
Almost 95% of the jewelry I design & create is gold filled or sterling silver. Since I want the clasp to be the same material, sometimes it's hard to find ones that are pretty AND reliable. So I will always go with reliable, then if I can find them with a pretty design, and they're affordable, win-win!
Lobster clasps are made up of 3 parts – the spring, the trigger, and the body. Unlike spring rings, where the spring is fitted into a tube, lobster clasps have a slightly different shaped spring, with only one coil instead of many. When you pull the trigger, it pushes the spring against the body of the clasp. When you release the trigger, it springs back into a neutral position.
Even though the clasp itself might be sterling or gold filled, the internal spring is made out of steel. Steel springs are used because a precious metal spring would quickly lose its tensile strength with repeated use and would stop functioning. Steel springs maintain this important tensile strength “springy” property for lifetime use. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates jewelry industry practices. They allow certain key jewelry components to contain steel mechanisms because of the necessity for tensile strength. Clasp springs & leverback earring findings are also included on that list.
There are a lot of different reasons I use lobster clasps in my designs. Size, weight, ease of use, longevity, and price are the main reasons I choose lobster clasps for 85% of my designs.
- Variety - because they are so popular there are many different shapes & styles to choose from.
- Strength - Lobster clasps have great strength and durability because there is no tube like a spring ring clasp. Lobster clasps are less likely to dent or deform, clog, and become mis-aligned.
- Ease of use - Lobster clasps are easier to use. The solid construction of a lobster clasp paired with the shape make them much easier to hold and open.
Spring Ring Clasps
Spring rings are one of the most common types of clasps used in jewelry making. I use these I about 15% of my designs depending on the size of the chain & cost.
Spring rings include three components – the tube, the spring, and the trigger. The spring and trigger are loaded into a hollow tube and when you pull the trigger, it compresses the spring - opening the clasp. When the clasp closes, the trigger slides into the tube, closing the clasp. The springs used in these clasps are also steel for the same reasons as lobster clasps.
Some of the benefits of using spring rings include price and weight.
- Price - Spring ring clasps are often less expensive. They're still made from sterling or gold filled, but because they're hollow, there is less precious metal used making them lighter in weight and cost effective.
- Weight - I use spring ring clasps with designs and chains where the chain or gemstones are lighter in weight. I do this because I have noticed over years of designing jewelry, that when I'm using a lighter weight chain, the heavier clasps tend to fall to the front of the neckline much more often. If the weight of the chain is lighter, spring ring clasps work better and tend to stay in place in the back of the neckline longer.