Many different types of sterling silver chain fasteners are available to assist jewellery makers in crafting pieces that require clasps, such as necklaces and bracelets. Sterling silver chain fasteners can be simple or elaborate. Most jewellery makers opt to utilise different styles for different types of projects. Sterling silver chain fasteners can be found at jewellery and bead stores, arts and crafts shops and through online jewellery supply sites.
Toggle clasps are one of the most decorative forms of sterling silver chain fasteners, as styles range from plain and simple to ornately decorated. A toggle clasp type of sterling silver chain fastener is made from a "t-bar" piece attached to one end of chain and a "toggle," or straight silver piece, attached to the other. The t-bar slides lengthwise through the toggle and turns sideways to securely fasten.
Named because of their resemblance to real lobster claws, lobster clasps are the most common type of sterling silver chain fasteners. These clasps use tension from a spring-loaded mechanism to keep the clasp closed. The claw, attached to one end of the chain, has a tiny lever that is pushed open and hooked onto a jump ring or link fastened to the opposite end of chain. A "spring ring" type of sterling silver chain fastener is similar to a lobster clasp, though the mechanism is round.
Hook & Eye Clasps
Hook & eye clasps are one of the most simple types of sterling silver chain fasteners. This clasp style is created with a simple "hook" shape of silver attached to one end of chain and an "eye," or a closed silver ring, on the other. This type of sterling silver chain fastener is ideal for use with heavy or multi-strand jewellery pieces because the weight aids in keeping the hook & eye connected.
Box clasp sterling silver chain fasteners allow jewellery makers to connect two ends of a chain in a simple fashion. One end of the clasp has a "box" housing with a notch on its top; the other end has a "tongue" folded over to create a springlike lever. The chain is fastened together by sliding the lever section into the box section and pressing the ends of the lever together.
Magnetic clasps function exactly as the name suggests. Rather than using "hooking" mechanisms to fasten chains, each end of this type of sterling silver chain fastener contains a magnet that holds the two ends of the chain together. This is a popular type of sterling silver chain fastener because it is easy to operate, especially for older or arthritic individuals who struggle with tiny clasps. Magnetic sterling silver chain fasteners should be used with relatively lightweight jewellery pieces, as they can sometimes become unsecured if holding a heavy load.