Vintage Jewelry Clasps Types

Vintage jewelry clasps are seen to be an important part of vintage and antique jewelry. These clasps were used to close and secure necklaces, bracelets and more. There are a variety of different vintage jewelry clasps that have been made over the years. From the hook and eye, screw-barrel, C-clasp, S-clasp, lobster claw, spring ring and many more.

The first form of clasp ever used was the hook and eye variation from as early as 2 A.D. This primitive fastener was a two piece snap that fit into decorative base metals or gold for added security. This clasp is still popularly used to this day due its simple design, safety, reliability of securing multiple strands securely like seed bead necklaces and secure single strands such as those found on an opera length pearl necklace.

The oldest variant found traditionally for heavy duty needs was the C-clasp which appeared in Europe in the 17th century for heavier pieces such as breast pieces or brooches needing increased security with heavy pin stems used to latch portions together along with pushing a locking “C” shape passage over the end of pin stem for further support.

This type of clasp has become a desirable addition when looking for more traditional styles that contain longevity as there were some extremely ornate varieties available throughout time featuring intricate designs cut into precious stones in Victorian holidays, examples being carved stone carnelian clasps encrusted with pearls with details separately detailed with engraving metalwork (Silversmiths) adding further refinement and appeal to one off personalized pieces to last generations becoming known as collectors items today.

Furthermore, another popular choice is the S-clasp also known by its long adorned name “box tongue clasp” which carries its namesake from its “S” shape setup using two interlocking latch components fitting perfectly together akin the term box tongue when combined became slightly firmer than most variants during closure due to curved profiles conserving form finishing slant either way latched providing adept use time in time again led these becoming commonplace across Europe at this era prior 1940s/1950s cameo style brooches wonderfully holding dual freshwater pearl sections acting s unity chain bridge keeping both pieces interlocked lasting ages without fear of losing completing its traditional look we find so attractive today readily achieving by using this method instead standard derivatives being half its size functionally breaking up easier less times tested alternatives less admires equally adoring always will remain same elegant scenery it exuberates outdoors.

Types of Vintage Jewelry Clasps

  • Toggle Clasp: A toggle clasp consists of a loop in the form of a T, C or anchor that is inserted through an opening at the end of the jewelry piece. This type of fastening has been used for centuries and is still popular today.
  • Lobster-claw Clasp: As its name suggests, this clasp resembles a lobster claw and stands out on any jewelry piece. It’s known for its strength and secure closure, along with its attractive appearance.
  • Box Clasp: The box clasp is probably one of the more recognizable vintage jewelry clasps due to its popularity in vintage pieces. The closure has two holes which are aligned when opened, so that it fits over an opposing metal bar creating a secure closure.

Aside from these three popular vintage jewelry clasps types, there are other various styles as well. For instance, hook and eye clasps are often found on brooches or pins from certain historical periods. Typically crafted in silver or gold, these clasps can range from very ornate to quite plain.

Another common style is called a screw barrel closure; this operates using a rotating screw-action mechanism for securing it. These clasps work excellent for necklaces since they limit wear over time from repeated opening and closing.

Finally, S-hook clasps also exist; they can be either decorative or plain and secure many necklace designs by hooking into two openings at each end of the jewelry piece to stay connected. This type of thick wire is soldered on at each end but does not contain any moving parts so it cannot be easily dislodged. However, some may choose to combine this closure with another type mentioned prior like a box clasp for added security.

Generally speaking, most types of vintage jewelry clasps will appear similar regardless of origin such as maker or time period due to their interconnectivity throughout history; however small details like intricate engravings in the metal are often based on trends during specific eras giving us slight evidence towards identification when trying to pinpoint those origins.

Barrel Clasps

Barrel clasps are the most common type of vintage jewelry fastenings. A barrel clasp defines a metal cylinder, often with an opening on one side, that is used to fasten pieces of jewelry together such as necklaces and bracelets. Barrel clasps provide secure closure for jewelry accessories without compromising the aesthetic of the piece.

The majority of barrel clasps are composed of metal, including sterling silver and gold, however they do come in other materials such as plastic or ceramic. The metal barrel is primarily used in rings and necklaces while the plastic versions can also be used for lighter articles such as earrings and anklets.

Designs vary for barrel clasps but all have features which allow easy clasping and unclasping; more elaborate designs such as those with dual level hinges are decorated with flowers or geometric patterns. Some Barrel Clasps may also include a locking mechanism for an additional secure feeling when worn.

Common Types of Vintage Jewelry Claps

  • Lobster Claw
  • Toggle Clasp
  • S Hook Clasp
  • Box Clasp
  • Magnetic Clasp

S-Hook and Toggle Clasps

S-hook and toggle clasps are two of the more common types of vintage jewelry clasps. They both serve a similar purpose, yet have different characteristics that distinguish them from each other.

Function: How S-Hook and Toggle Clasps Work

The function of these different types of closures is similar in that they both join two ends together to securely close the piece. The S-hook clasp works by looping around the post of the other clasp to create a strong hold, while the toggle clasp has a bar which slides through a closed ring. Both clasps are adjustable and can be manipulated depending on how tightly you want them fastened.

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Materials Used in Vintage Jewelry Clasps

S-hook and toggle claps were traditionally made out of metals such as gold, silver, brass, or bronze, but modern day versions may also be made from plastic or synthetic materials. The vintage styles often feature intricate engraved designs and/or gemstones like diamonds set into them that make them look elegant and sophisticated.

Designs in Vintage Jewelry Clasps

Vintage jewelry clasps come in a variety of designs that range from the classic look to ornate ones featuring filigree work or scroll patterns. Examples include:

  • Filigree S-hook clasp.
  • Toggle with floral pattern.
  • Decorative oval shaped toggle.
  • Engraved S-hook.
  • Cubic Zirconia embedded S-hook.

Box Clasps

The box clasp is one of the most popular types of vintage jewelry clasps. It consists of two pieces and operates when the tongue on the male piece passes into the slot on the female part. Box clasps are versatile and integrate into a wide range of bracelets, necklaces, and other wearable pieces.

Typically, box clasps are composed of metal elements like gold, silver, or steel. Depending upon the age of the item, these materials may be solid or plated (with a layer of metal coating over a cheaper metal base). Older pieces may also incorporate brass or bronze elements to create additional decorative accents.

The design of box clasps varies depending upon era and origin but often feature intricate elements that evoke antique styles with intricate engravings or additional ornamentation like gems and rhinestones. Many contemporary designs tend to utilize plainer forms in order to maintain a minimalist appearance without fussiness.

Explorer Clasps: Function, Materials, and Design

Explorer clasps are unique due to their simple yet secure mechanism that keeps items secure until opened manually via a lever-action system. The explorer clasp features two components – an internal sliding piece and an outer frame surrounding it – that lock together when pushed into position.

With this type of closure for your vintage jewelry you don’t have to worry about it coming undone unintentionally during wear; requiring an intentional effort from yourself (or someone else) to open it which provides extra security for your beloved heirlooms.

Traditionally explorer clasps were created from precious metals such as gold or silver however they can be found today in more affordable finishes like stainless steel for those looking for something more cost-effective without sacrificing on quality.

Unlike other clasp styles there tends to be only slight variations in terms of design; usually focusintg on slightly different shapes within the actual frame and very little else as all sparkles tend to be added by settings on any linked components such as charms or chains etcetera.

Lobster Claw Clasps: Function, Materials, and Design

The lobster claw clasp is one type of vintage jewelry clasp that has been steadily increasing in popularity over recent years thanks to its subtle yet attractive style combined with great functionality. This clasp resembles a lobster’s claw – hence its name – featuring two overlapping pieces with teeth molded onto one side so they securely fit together yet come apart just as easily when needed by gentle pulling force on either side.

This ensures items stay secure around your wrist while there’s no hassle or fumbling involved when undoing it at the end of your day.

Like many vintage jewelry fastenings lobster claws can differ greatly in materials depending on era from gold to antiqued brass plus everything in between. However production techniques have advanced over time meaning that polymer materials can now also be used creating interesting color effects (‘sprayed’ with colour) which add another dimension beyond traditional metal shades found elsewhere across history. If you’re after something truly unique then this could definitely be worth considering.

Hook and Eye Clasps

Hook and eye jewelry clasps are a popular type of closure for bracelets and necklaces. They consist of two parts: the hook, which is pressed to open and close the clasp, and the eye, which is secured in one end. While there are a variety of different types of hook and eye clasps available, they all serve the same basic purpose – to keep your jewelry securely fastened.


Hook and eye clasps may be made from numerous materials including metal (gold-plated, silver-plated or alloyed steel), plastic, wood, glass or even gemstones. Gold-plated versions tend to be more expensive than their pale counterparts due to their precious metal content. Silver-plated hooks can also vary in price depending on whether they are nickel plated or sterling silver plating.

Alloyed steel offers strong security but often lacks aesthetic appeal. The choice should depend on personal preference as well as what complements the design of the piece.


One of the most attractive features of antique hook & eye style clasps is their variety when it comes to design diversity. They can have embellishments such as enamel detailing or precious stones; that increases their attractiveness greatly and adds unique character to each piece.

Hooks and eyes may be used alone, but many times they will be combined with other closure types for extra security such as lobster claws or magnetic clasps for enhanced usability and extra protection against accidental release.

Spring Ring Clasps

A spring ring clasp is one of the most popular clasps for vintage jewelry. Functionally, it has a simple looped hook constructed from a small piece of wire and ends with a small ring which is held securely closed by a tensioned spring.

This makes it easy to open and close while keeping items safe. Spring rings are particularly favored for lightweight necklaces, chokers, anklets, chains, and bracelets made from soft materials like silk or beaded strands where heavy-duty fasteners may not be needed.

As far as materials go, traditional spring-ring clasps are usually constructed of base metal components such as brass or other compounds. However, some can be plated in precious metals like gold or silver for added appeal. Depending on the particular design, these materials may very well provide more than just aesthetics to the clasp’s performance; sometimes they enhance durability and strength as well.

Spring ring claps come in a range of different designs ranging from classic styles to more intricate decorative elements depending upon their intended use. For instance, they could feature simple round or oval shapes adorned with gemstones or pearls as an additional aesthetic touch; clasps with elaborate patterns that draw attention; or those with additional security features like swivel locks for multiple strands of beads or pearls strung together into one necklace.

vintage jewelry northern virginia

Other types can also be found depending on the maker’s tastes; but whatever design is chosen, so long as each component is properly attached and secured it should remain reliable over time.

Finishing Touches

When it comes to jewelry, what really makes a piece stand out is the finer details. A vintage look can be easily achieved with the right clasp for your design. Garnering attention, these small elegantly designed clasps bring any necklace or bracelet to the next level of sophisticated style. Whether searching for a complicated interlocking closure or an easy magnetic fastening method, there are many vintage clasp options available.

First is the lobster claw fastener, ideal for necklaces due to its large opening and easy closure. This traditionally smooth and rounded clasp keeps pieces securely in place yet allows for discrete blending into the overall jewellery design. Popular with statement pieces such as chokers and layered necklaces, this classic choice adds to the chic vintage look you’re striving for.

The toggle clasp is another excellent option due to its versatility in size and decorative potential. It consists of a single bar-like object which is designed to fit through an oval loop on the other side; linking both ends together tightly and staying put once secured. Asymmetrics sterling silver pieces evoke a strong Bohemian vibe when incorporating this kind of clasp.

Finally, let’s not forget about S-hooks as they prove incredibly useful when crafting delicate anklets and dainty chain bracelets. Known colloquially as “fish hook clasps” they work by simply twisting one end slightly so that it slips sideways onto the stopper at the other end thus achieving a secure installation which won’t budge.

Look for vintage inspired filigreed designs in gleaming silver or gender inequalities gold filled ones to impart an opulent feel – great embellishments for stacking bracelet designs.

Whether creating something fancy or just opting for simplicity, there are plenty of vintage clasp choices available on today’s market focusing on aesthetic appeal as well as performance quality. Don’t forget: sometimes all it takes is little touches additional like an unusual antique buckle hardware to take any item up several style notches – making it perfect finish to your desired jewellery creation.

Creative Desig

Vintage jewelry clasps are an easy and creative way of unleashing your artistic flair to showcase unique jewelry. Unlike modern fastening systems which are usually sleek and streamlined, vintage jewelry clasps tend to be less uniform in shape and style. They offer a range of finishes from plain metals to elaborate filigree designs making them the perfect base for creativity. Here are some tips for unleashing your creativity with vintage jewelry clasps:

  • Choose the right clasp for the design – Not all clasps will work with every piece of jewelry you make; selecting the right clasp is essential for creating a visually pleasing piece. Consider how the size and shape of the clasp complements or contrasts with other elements in the design.
  • Mix metals among other vintage components – Vintage metals can combine well when used together creatively, mixing gold with silver tones to create eye-catching contrast. Consider incorporating other vintage components like beads or findings into oxidized metal designs.
  • Create unique patterns with symmetrical wires – Designing complex yet symmetrical wire-wrapped patterns on vintage clasps is a great way to customize them. Wire wrapping involves cutting lengths of wire, then manipulating each one individually until it reaches its desired form.
  • Utilize different chain sizes – If you’re simply using a chain to complete your look, there’s no need to be limited by standard lengths-play around with several different sizes and see what works best.
  • Personalizing with engraving – Personalize your design further through engraving techniques such as monograms or initials on either side of the clasp. This beautiful touch adds an extra level of detail that instantly raises design’s value.


Vintage jewelry clasps types come in a variety of shapes and sizes, to ensure that there is something for everyone. Different styles enhance different occasions, whether it be a formal occasion such as a wedding or an everyday casual outfit. Vintage styled clasps are not only functional but also offer an elegant way to accessorize any outfit.

The most popular type of vintage clasp is known as the T-bar clasp. The T-bar clasp looks similar to a capital ‘T’ shape, with the bar resting at the base of the necklace and the ends of the bar connected to each other at the top via a single closure or hook.

This style of clasp has been popular since Victorian era necklaces and continues to have great success today as its classic lines match almost any antique style piece. The length of these clasps vary depending on one’s need but generally range from 2” – 5” long.

Another type of vintage clasp that remains widely popular is the box clasp. A box clasp is rectangular in shape with either a spring opening mechanism or screw into place design which allows the wearer to rest assured their piece remains secure at all times.

Typically used predominantly on bracelet styles, this classic silver or gold pressed metal works beautifully with many different metals and stones too making them extremely versatile pieces. For those who prefer finer details other more complex designs are also available like filigree settings, beads and pearls threaded into patterns for that extra bit of sparkle.

No matter what kind of outfit you’re trying to accessorize with jewellery, vintage styled clasps make sure you look stylishly put together while also being highly practical accessories. Their timeless designs offer up something for every personality while ensuring all your items stay securely fastened in place at all times. Whether you’re looking for exuberant bridal jewelry or simple night out wear accessories, vintage jewelry clasps can help you take your look from ordinary to extraordinary instantly.

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