5 Popular Jewelry Clasp Types and How to Repair Them
Annabelle / March 28, 2019
Necklaces and bracelets have to be fastened on somehow- and the mechanism that does all of the work is the clasp! But clasps come in many different designs, just like the pieces of jewelry. Some are more convenient and easy to work with, while others are elaborate and complicated. Keep reading to learn more about different jewelry clasp types and what best suits your needs.
Jewelry Clasp Types
1. Spring Ring Clasp
The most common and classic one out of all the jewelry clasp types, a spring ring clasp consists of a little wire tucked inside a hollow hoop. When you pull the tiny lever backwards, it moves the wire into the hoop, leaving behind an empty gap so you can hook the other end of the chain into the clasp. Releasing the lever allows the wire to spring back, securing the piece of jewelry. The design is discreet, making it an excellent choice for thin and delicate necklaces.
When a spring ring clasp is broken, the jeweler can either repair it or replace it. The most common repair is bending the little wire back into the hoop, when a bad tug pulls it out. If the entire hoop has been crushed, the jeweler replaces it, as there is no way to fix the damage.
2. Lobster Clasp
Lobster clasps resemble the claw of a lobster, hence the name. Compared to a spring ring clasp, they’re a little stronger and sturdier, since the mechanism is made out of a thicker piece of metal. Pressing down on the lever causes the bottom part to move inside, leaving behind a space for the other end of the chain. Lobster clasps are not as dainty as spring rings, but they are suitable for heavier chains, bigger necklaces, or necklaces with pendants since they can support the weight.
While not as common as the spring ring repair, the little bottom part is also prone to being pried out from wear. With a pair of pliers, the jeweler can bend it back into shape. On occasion, the lever may get stuck, and the repair for that kind of damage is variable- sometimes the jeweler will not be able to fix it, requiring a replacement.
3. Toggle Clasp
The toggle clasp is markedly different from the lobster and the spring ring clasps in design. A thick hoop and a long bar are attached to opposite ends of the chain, and the long bar is vertically tucked through the hoop. Once it’s through, the horizontal orientation of the bar prevents it from slipping out of the hoop, locking the chain.
This clasp is very stylish and is commonly used for bracelets, where it is more visible. The only downside is that it’s prone to unlocking itself, since the only thing that keeps a toggle clasp shut is the bar, which must stay horizontally-aligned against the hoop.
It’s rare to see a toggle clasp damaged, since the components are usually solid and quite tough. However, the design of the toggle clasp may affect this; if there are stones in the toggle clasp, they may need resetting or replacement over time.
4. Box Clasp
Box clasps are commonly used for elegant pieces, such as diamond tennis bracelets. The clasp is made out of two parts; a small, flat piece, and a hollow box. The piece fits into the box part, and an additional little latch on the outside is clipped over the opening in order to make sure the jewelry is secure. While they look nice and decorative, they cannot support a substantial amount of weight and should not be used for very heavy necklaces.
In terms of repairs, the box clasp has a lot of issues. Its design means that it gets stuck easily, and forcefully tugging it open damages the clasp. The little safety latch on the outside is very thin and bends or snaps off easily. The jeweler can fix these problems either by loosening the flat component, bending the safety latch back into shape, or replacing the entire clasp.
5. Bolo Clasp
The fifth type of clasp is most commonly seen on bracelets. Unlike the other clasps, the bolo is designed to be adjustable; its sliding mechanism allows for the wearer to change the size of their jewelry. The two ends of a chain are drawn through the bolo, and moving the bolo up and down shortens and lengthens the piece.
While the clasp itself is very sturdy, items that have thinner chains are prone to breaking from pulling the bolo. It also has the undesirable effect of leaving pieces of chain dangling from the bolo itself when adjusted to a smaller size.
Since the bolo itself is simply the bead that holds the two chains together, most issues with the bolo clasp have to do with broken chains. The jeweler repairs this by soldering the chain and making it one piece again before threading it back through the bolo.
With this brief breakdown of jewelry clasp types, you should now have a better sense of what would work best for your jewelry! If you’re looking to fix one of the above, or swap to a new clasp, get started with our featured services below.