There’s a Big Audience for Jewelry with Easy Open Clasps

by Mary Anne Enriquez.
(Urban Woodswalker)

A Big Audience for Jewelry with Easy Open Clasps - Mary Anne Enriquez  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

Lobster clasps are too difficult to open for many people.

May I say something to all the fantastical jewelry designers out there?

There are millions of us baby boomers and we LOVE to buy hand made jewelry.

A lot of us are experiencing carpal tunnel and arthritis in our hands.

The types of closures make a HUGE difference in whether someone might buy or not.

A Big Audience for Jewelry with Easy Open Clasps - Mary Anne Enriquez  - featured on Jewelry Making Journal

Toggle clasps are one type of closure that can be much more user-friendly for many jewelry wearers.

I can no longer open lobster claps, and have had to pass on purchasing some lovely pieces in the past 3 years.

Yet, designers are still putting these clasps on, which need thumbs to contort into painful positions.

Thanks Rena for all the years of fabulous blogs!

Mary Anne Enriquez

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  1. Mary Anne Enriquez says:

    The best bracelet and necklace closures are toggle clasps. Unless one wears a bracelet 24 hours a day, or has someone to assist you….no other closures works as easily, quickly, or painlessly. Hooks are great for necklaces too, but toggles secure best.

    Also, another pet peeve: stretch bracelets, no matter how beautifully made they are. First, the cord always eventually stretches out. Then, gemstones bead holes cut and fray the cord quickly. I have some gorgeous wide crocheted tigers eye stone stretch bracelets I bought which now are a complete mess. I will never buy (or make) stretch bracelets again, no matter how beautiful..even for gifts.

  2. While I can agree in principle with what Mary Anne has written, not all of my jewelry lends itself to magnetic clasps, as the clasps themselves will not handle heavier weight jewelry items. and hooks similar to the picture above might leave some people concerned about security of the clasp – making sure the necklace or bracelet doesn’t come apart. It would depend on who your audience is and where you are selling your pieces. I too have trouble with the really fine clasps out there but as I said, it depends on your potential customer base. Maybe something to poll your customer base to see if the majority would prefer a simpler clasp.

  3. Great point about toggle clasps, Mary Anne! And I’d add that medium to large toggle clasps may be best and easiest to open and close; small toggles may be too hard for arthritic fingers to grasp.

    And Anita, thank you for mentioning that magnetic clasps may not stay closed on heavier jewelry pieces!

  4. I use antique buttons with a seed bead loop closure. They are easy to clasp and add a special beauty to the piece.

  5. Catherine says:

    I don’t like lobster clasps myself, they are a pain to open . I use toggle clasps and s hooks on some necklaces. I agree about the stretch bracelets.

  6. I like toggle clasps but have had some customers who have asked me to take them off bracelets. For someone with a larger wrist there is sometimes not enough space to out the T through the loop. I make Regaliz leather bracelets that have excellent magnetic clasps that don’t come apart, however, it takes nimble fingers and some practice to open them. I agree with the comments about elastic, however, for my mother who is 95, lives alone and has severe arthritis the elastic bracket I made her is her favourite because she can put it on herself!

  7. Okay I am going to buck the trend here. My colleagues and I no longer use toggle clasps period. We find young and old alike hate them and the pieces with them wouldn’t sell. So we use big lobster clasps and rings, magnetic clasps and large easy hook and eye type closures. Many want the really long chains for their pendants now so they just go over the head. We have them on hand for custom requests for them, but that hasn’t happened yet.

  8. Allison says:

    I used to use toggle clasps more often, and still will if requested. But I only choose them for necklaces when they are in front as part of the design, and I don’t use them for bracelets anymore after one too many ended up on the floor or accidentally flung across the room with an energetic hand gesture. I have settled on hook and eye or ‘S’ clasps for almost everything.

  9. Catherine says:

    I guess it really depends on each individual. My Sister LOVES the toggle clasp. I’ve made her a couple of bracelets with magnetic clasps, and she prefers toggle. My Mom also likes stretch bracelets, but also likes the toggle clasp.

  10. Catherine says:

    I’m sorry, but this is bugging me. When Kenna says young and old hate the toggle clasp, and that pieces with them won’t sell…I may be new at all of this, but I’m old enough AND young enough to know that many people do like the toggle clasp. I have sold some bracelets that have toggle clasps. However, I agree that the larger ones are easier for some. I’m sorry, but to say anything with toggle clasps won’t sell is not true. I can’t believe I’m getting upset about toggle clasps,, and I can’t believe I’ve said the word toggle clasp this many times in one paragraph! 😂

  11. Yes to all of the above (or below) comments. There is no one-solution-for-all. I have found that the best solution for myself is to make pieces in such a way that clasps can be easily changed for other styles—perhaps by including an extra jump ring in the design, etc. And I make it clear–with signage or on my web listings– that I am happy to change up the clasp free of charge. When I am at a market or show, I bring my tools with me, and also an extra half dozen of other clasps in various styles and finishes. I let my customers know that I can change the clasp for them “while they wait” (ie: in 5-10 minutes). Unless it is a handmade clasp, then everything works out OK. (BTW I do this with earrings, too, so that all earrings can be converted into clip-ons for those without pierced ears. Again, a while they wait situation.)

  12. Mary Ann says:

    I like working with toggle clasps because of the variety available, but there was always a fit problem – either too big or too small for the customer’s wrist. I now try to use a decorative lobster claw and a one-inch+ length of chain (with an appropriate dangle at the end). This fits a wide variety of wrist sizes. I also make the clasps on split rings so I can easily change the clasp if requested by the customer.

  13. I like snap closures. They look nice and are easy to use.

  14. Well, I couldn’t agree more.
    Last Rosh Hashana I gave my mother and my grandmother necklaces I’ve made, using some sterling silver pieces and Swarovski crystals. My grandmother likes to walk around in her retirement home and show off at the pieces that her grandson gave her 🙂

    But this time they both gave me a weird look when they opened the box. Both of them loved the thought and the pieces, but they confessed that getting a lobster clasp in the ends is hard for them. Even my mother, which is only 59 y/o and in a great shape told me it’s a lot of hassle.

    That evening really opened up my eyes to the toggle world. Toggles are easy to find, easier to use, and the selection our these is infinite. subtle ones, big ones, with or without ornaments – you can fit them to pretty much any design.

  15. Toggles are ok for some people, but u need to be sure to use smaller beads near the bar end so it is easier to slide the toggle thru.
    I still like stretch bracelets, but I use good quality elastic and be sure to stretch it before u string. It is IMPORTANT to instruct your customers to roll the bracelet onto the wrist, not stretch it out to put it on. All stretch bracelets will eventually give up, but with proper care, they will last a long time.
    I have been making a lot of no closure necklaces even the shorter ones to go over the head.

  16. Natasha Burger says:

    no closure.. that’s brilliant! I’m going to rework some of mine to be just that!

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