Updated: Oct 2, 2019
Sure, it's not the most earth-shattering problem in the world. But when you make jewelry—or wear it—you spend a lot of time dealing with it. I prefer the clasp, that pesky little fastener, to be part of my designs. But often, people just want something simple and secure. The problem is, I have yet to find it.
Recently, I started using magnetic ball clasps.
I thought I'd hit on a sure-fire solution. Finally, something easy to fasten, and secure . . . I thought. But even if they fit properly, they undo easily if you brush your wrist up against something—even lightly.
Are toggle clasps better? I like them, especially if I can find something handmade, or in a style that complements my design.
Often, though, especially on a bracelet, they are hard to fasten. But once it’s fastened, it usually stays that way. Recently, a customer told me that her bracelet kept falling off, so I’m substituting a toggle clasp for the original ball magnet. I think security trumps ease every time.
A couple of other clasp styles mimic the toggle. There’s the ball-and-loop, for example. I sometimes use a glass bead instead of a ball, especially if I have a lampwork or hand-blown bead I like.
These can come loose, however, if the loop isn’t precisely the right length. And if you wear something often enough, the loop loosens up. But a bead can look so pretty, sometimes I just can’t resist.
The button clasp works in a similar way, with a loop.
Like the bead/loop clasp, the button clasp can present similar problems. I also find that some people prefer not to have the added design element, and want to go with something a little more understated.
For a while, I absolutely swore by these slide clasps, below. Also pictured is a box clasp, which works in a similar way.
Slide clasps, like the one on the bracelet above, often have an added, magnetic feature. Two problems that made me fall out of love with these: The bracelet has to fit perfectly. No adjustability here. Also, as you see above, if the clasp is shorter than the width of the bracelet, it’s incredibly hard to fasten. And unfasten. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find wide versions in this style.
I love this magnetic clasp (below), but it makes a bracelet pretty un-adjustable. If your wrist is too big or too small, it’s not an easy fix.
It’s called a “magnetic slot clasp.” You can see the two little slots on the lefthand piece of the silver clasp. The other piece has two matching ridges that fit into the slots, which reinforce the magnet in the middle. This baby is super-strong. Unfortunately, this is as wide as it gets (less than an inch). Plus, it’s pre-tty pricey.
Finally, there is the simple S clasp, or lobster clasp. Add a bunch of loops at the other end, and you have an adjustable piece.
These, especially the lobster clasp, can be pretty hard to fasten. Plus, sometimes they seem sort of uninspired. They work, though.
I didn’t show the barrel clasp—a dainty little thing with two pieces that you screw together. They only work for one-strand necklaces, so I don’t really use them.
As you can see, everything has its strengths and weaknesses. So, I don’t think there’s any real answer here. Opinions?