Additional considerations when buying a necklace or pendant are: the type of chain, the clasp style, and the clasp assembly. Clasps are integral pieces to any necklace or bracelet and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Bringing both ends of the necklace or bracelet together to a secure close, clasps don't always have to be purely functional. Many clasps are integral parts of the overall design of the necklace or bracelet.
Chains are a series of connected metal links or loops with an attached-clasp assembly. There are several variations of chains, and the most popular are omega, rope, and box chain styles. When purchasing a diamond pendant, the chain is included. Typically, a fine jeweller will include the chain in the same metal type as the pendant.
The clasp is the mechanism used to attach both ends of the chain. The style of clasp used by the jeweller usually depends on the item. There are many different styles of clasps including the barrel, lobster claw, and spring ring.
The entire clasp assembly refers to the mechanism used to secure a chain. It typically consists of both a chain end and clasp. Parts of the assembly are evaluated for sturdiness in regards to any clasps, ends, rings and tags. A quality assembly should not feel like it could be easily broken.
"Cable" is an Old Norman French word stemming from the Latin words capulum (lasso, rope) and capere (to take). One of the most popular and classic of chain styles, cables are created from interlocking oval links unvarying in size. They are fairly easy to make and work splendidly with delicate pendants.
The word "curb" comes from Middle English, originally meaning "a curved piece of wood." Curb chains are comprised of special curved links which interlock even while laid flat. The links can all be the same size or be graduated towards the center. Chunky curb chains are used to make trendy urban designs.
A rolo chain is comprised of interlocking circle-links. This style of chain is similar to the cable chain, but is slightly more complex as the links can alternate in size.
A Figaro chain is a modified version of the curb chain, where the interlocking flat links vary in size. It usually forms a pattern with trios of smaller links alternating with a longer link. The name "Figaro" comes from its Italian origin. Italian chain makers were inspired by famous operas and plays, which featured a barber named Figaro as the main character.
Named because of its likeness to nautical chains, a anchor chain is comprised of oval links, each with a horizontal bar across the center. Anchor links can interlock, like cable chains, or rest flat, like curb links.
A popcorn style is a lightweight, tubular chain with a beaded texture created by convex links. These chains have a puffed look to them which resembles a garland of popcorn.
A rope chain's links are twisted or looped together in a pattern that creates a look similar to that of a rope. This is likely the most popular textural chain style.
Sometimes called "birdcage" or "Etruscan," the Byzantine style is an obvious nod to the ancient Byzantine Empire. This chain is a decorative design which creates a woven texture. The pattern used is intricate and complex, arranging round links from different angles.
A wheat chain is formed by oval and twisted oval links woven together in the same direction. The result is a textural look with a semi-rigid structure. As the name suggests, the appearance of this chain is similar to tips of wheat stalks.
A bead chain is made from ball-shaped links connected with small breaks in between. This creates the look of a very thin beaded necklace. In addition to ornamental jewellery, bead chains are also used for dog tags and key chains.
An "Omega," from Greek meaning "great," is a notably shiny chain formed by flat plates crimped together over a mesh interior. The semi-rigid structure gives it a unique look, perfect to wear as is or pair with a slide pendant.
A box chain is comprised of square links arranged to create a smooth, four-sided shape.
A chain comprised of tightly linked wavy plates, resulting in a smooth, round look with a subtle zigzag pattern.
A herringbone is a flat and fluid chain created from pressed v-shaped links arranged in alternating directions. The "herringbone" pattern is also popular in textiles and home decor, named after the unique skeletal structure of a herring fish.
A Singapore is a twisted chain linking pattern that blends the look of a curb chain with that of a rope chain. The flat and curvaceous links of a Singapore are often described as having the look and feel of liquid, even when unraveled.
Box clasps are two-piece clasps that open when the exterior side lever is pushed, compressing the mechanism so that it slides out of the opening. To close, simply push it back in and it will easily click into place. While not as strong as other clasps, such as the lobster claw, box clasps are ideally suited for both necklaces and bracelets and can be highly decorated.
The hook and eye clasp is a simple hook on one end of the bracelet or necklace and an "eye" piece on the other end which is usually shaped like a figure eight. Hook and eye clasps work well for both necklaces and bracelets but is typically not as secure as other clasps such as the spring clasp.
Probably the most popular clasp, lobster claw clasp is a secure clasp ideally suited for both necklaces and bracelets. This clasp has a small spring mechanism that keeps the arm or claw closed. Lobster claws are easy to open and can be styled to fit the design of the bracelet or necklace. 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.
A magnet clasp is a simple clasp that uses magnets at both ends of the necklace or bracelet. When the ends are brought together, the magnets quickly snap shut. Magnetic clasps are secure, easy to close and work well for both necklaces and bracelets.
Also called a bead clasp, a ball clasp is a round, spherical jewellery fastener. 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. Sometimes adorned with gemstones or texturing, ball clasps provide a decorative closure which flows with the design of a necklace or bracelet.
The s hook clasp consists of a dramatic s-shaped piece of metal on one end of a necklace or bracelet. On the other end is an opening like a hole or square. The s-shaped piece simply hooks into the other end of the necklace or bracelet. This type of clasp can be used for both necklaces and bracelets and can be a highly decorated piece. While it is relatively easy to use, it is not as secure as other clasps.
Spring clasps are probably the most widely used clasps when it comes to necklaces and bracelets. This clasp opens when a small lever is pushed backwards along a circular ring. On the other end is a small ring or hoop. Simply push the lever back and latch the open section through the hoop and close to secure. Spring clasps are ideally suited for necklaces and bracelets, they can be difficult to close, but are very secure.
The toggle clasp works well with both necklaces and bracelets and can he highly decorated to match the style of the jewellery. On one end of the bracelet or necklace is a metal piece with a thick "bar", while the other end has an opening such as a hole or square. Simply insert the bar into the other end to secure. These types of clasps are not as secure as other clasps but are easy to use.
A barrel clasp is a small barrel or torpedo-shaped closure which fastens two ends together through a screw, box or hook-insert mechanism.
Fishhook Clasps are small clasps with a fishhook-shaped interior hook which is inserted into an oval box. The interior hook prevents jewellery 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.
A push button clasp "clicks" into place. The mechanism relies on a lever or button which needs to be pushed In order to release the closure.
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.
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 (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.
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 jewellery 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.
Caring for your clasps is no different than your regular jewellery care. To keep your jewellery shining bright, clean your necklaces and bracelets with a professional jewellery cleaner or wash in warm soapy water. Remember to keep your jewellery in a safe, clean location and make sure your clasps are functioning properly and securing correctly.
Jewellery safety clasps are in the category of jewellery findings. You'll find safety clasps in bracelets and necklaces. They are used to provide extra security to the closure and they are used often to supplement a main clasp. Necklace and bracelet safety clasps come in several different styles to accommodate certain needs and designs:
Jewellery safety chains are attached to both sides of the opening for a necklace or bracelet. It provides an extra measure of security in case the main clasp fails.
A single latch is a hinged supplemental clasp which gives extra security to the closure of a necklace or bracelet.
A double latch is a safety mechanism that secures the clasp of a bracelet or necklace using two safety latches.
A figure 8 safety is a hinged safety lock with a cinched middle that clips over a button. A figure 8 safety is used to either supplement a clasp or to keep a hinged bangle bracelet closed.