Easy to use jewellery clasps
Mission impossible? No those are the "normal" clasps.
For many people a traditional clasp, like the one shown (also known as a lobster clasp), makes putting on jewellery either very difficult or downright impossible. This causes them to shy away from wearing and buying jewellery. Being a crafter who loves making jewellery for myself and others, I know that there is no reason for this; that anyone can wear jewellery so long as their abilities are taken into account.
I, myself, find the traditional clasps difficult to manage. Fastening a necklace when you can't see the clasp becomes a game of guesswork, and trying to attach a bracelet on your right wrist (or left if you're left-handed) is practically impossible. I must admit now I don't make any jewellery with the traditional clasps, as they get stuck far more easily than the alternatives and require fairly good nails and hand coordination, whereas those listed below don't. Perhaps it's time you tried a new form of clasp?
The toggle clasp - The first alternative jewellery clasp
The toggle clasp is shaped like a T, which gets put into a hoop. It's named after the toggles that you get on coats, if you can remember back to when you were little or whenever you might've had a duffel coat.
Toggle clasps are quite often found in shops and jewellery stores so keep a look out. These jewellery clasps are still pretty fiddly, but can be found in many different shapes and sizes to suit most dexterity levels and tastes. For example, for a Valentine's gift, you could try a heart clasp; for a vintage look, you could try a scroll look T bar.
And for the crafters among you, take a look at the selection below to customise your own jewellery.
The S clasp
I found the idea for this clasp on the internet when I was trying to find an easier way to fasten the charity bracelets that I make. It is called the S clasp because of its shape and is longer than a normal or a toggle clasp. It can also need slightly more maintenance since, if the wire isn't hard or thick enough, the S can be bent wider or smaller with use. It can just be bent back into shape again so don't worry.
However, in my opinion, the S clasp is one of the easiest to use and connect. The end has a loop to stop the other side of the clasp (the ring part) from coming loose on its own. All you do is slide the ring over this end loop and voila, the necklace or bracelet is fastened.
I must admit, I now make some of my jewellery with the S clasp, especially if I know it is for someone with dexterity difficulties. I've found practically everyone can use them (my sister has coordination problems and, with a larger ring, can fasten the S clasp herself) and they make a pretty addition to the piece of jewellery.
When I was first starting with these clasps, I made my own version, which is more squiggly than the normal S clasp, which should just be an S shape. It is attached at one end to the necklace, as opposed to the traditional S which isn't. It is this different version that I still use today. A traditional S clasp can be seen on the Amazon page Antique Silver Plated Alloy S-Hook Clasps.
The magnetic clasp - Easiest but not for everyone
The magnetic clasp is exactly as it sounds. Think of the magnetic closures on handbags or wallets and you'll be right. These clasps stick together using the power of magnets and, if the magnets are powerful enough, guide you to the right place. I say this because a strong magnetic clasp will pull together even when the two ends are quite far apart. This makes them very easy to close.
However, a word of warning - strong magnets can interfere with some medical equipment if you have any, so be sure to check that you can wear them safely before going for this option.
The hook clasp
Like the lobster but with no fiddly catch
As I learn more and more about jewellery making, I'm slowly realising just how many different ways of fastening something there are. My newest favourite is what I would call a hook clasp. It probably has a proper name, but it looks like a hook (the Captain Hook sort). Made from wire, the hook can be made larger or smaller depending on the piece it is for, and just slots into the ring on the other side of the clasp. Really, it's almost exactly like a traditional lobster clasp, but it doesn't have the fiddly bit you have to push with your nail and so is much easier to use left or right handed. The picture shows the hook clasp on my spiral necklaces and bracelets.
This is currently my favourite clasp, and you may find it labelled as an S clasp in some cases. I think this is a bit misleading as an S clasp is normally put through loops at both ends of the necklace (in an S shape). The hook clasp is more of a half of the S clasp, as it only gets put through a loop at one end.
No clasps required!
Memory Wire and Magnetic jewellery
It may look slightly strange having a no clasp option on a list of easy-to-use jewellery clasps, but it is another alternative to those "traditional" clasps.
Memory wire jewellery normally doesn't need a clasp, as it is made to wrap around your wrist or neck slightly more than once. There are often slight weights on the ends of the wire in order to balance the jewellery, so that it is hard for it to get knocked off, however this isn't necessary. Many children's necklaces and bracelets are made of memory wire, since they can be wrapped round and don't require a fiddly clasp. This means that the children can put their jewellery on themselves.
Magnetic jewellery is along the same principles as memory wire jewellery. It uses magnetic stones, normally hematite, to hold the layers of the necklace or bracelet together. They are often created long, so as to fulfil both the role of the necklace and bracelet as required. I've sometimes gotten into a pickle with magnetic jewellery as it can stick together when you don't want it to, i.e. when you're trying to put it on, and then you have to unravel it to sort it out.
Again no clasp required
The option of using elastic to tie together your beaded jewellery is more often used for bracelets than any other piece. More often than not, a gemstone bracelet from a gift shop will be elasticated, as they will then appeal to a wider audience. An elasticated bracelet is made so that it will stretch to fit over a hand, whilst not being loose enough to fall off easily.
If they are made incorrectly, the elastic can be very hard to stretch. But, if made right, an elasticated bracelet can be used by most people, which is why it is used for most children's jewellery, especially those to be used for dressing up.
Do you have a favourite jewellery clasp either for wearing, or for when you're crafting?