Lobster claw clasps make up a second category of many different jewelry closures for fine jewelry, mass-market costume jewelry and handmade artisan jewelry. Lobster claw clasps are the single largest category of jewelry closures.
Jewellery designers can clearly communicate their desires for jewelry components to local bead stores, customers and jewelry supply vendor by learning the terminology and function of jewelry components.
What is a lobster claw clasp?
Many people use the term “lobster claw” generically for a family of clasps with triggers that open and close the clasp. Lobster claw clasps lock around a jump ring or a link of chain to hold the two ends of a jewelry piece together. Other jewelry uses include attaching charms or doubling as a clasp and a visual centerpiece in the case of a fancier claw clasp.
A jewelry purist will claim only oneshape of claw clasp is a true “lobster claw”; these clasps have long, straight oval shapes. Oval trigger and rounded trigger clasps are quite symmetrical except for the trigger while the specialty Pelican clasps are curved clasps with the trigger on the outer convex surface. Balloon clasps are similar to oval trigger clasps, but with a longer oval shape and thinner construction; balloon clasps will weigh less than a similarly sized lobster claw or trigger clasp. Other specialty clasp shapes include heart trigger clasps, elephant trigger clasps and cat trigger clasps. lobster claw finding.
One style of trigger clasps called swivel clasps has a base containing the anchor ring rotates separately from the rest of the claw. This clasp style may offer the wearer more comfort by giving another “degree of freedom” to the bracelet, necklace or anklet.
Lobster claw materials
Lobster claw metal materials will generally match a dominant metal in the jewelry piece. Lobster claw materials include Platinum, Palladium, karat Gold, Gold-Filled, Sterling Silver, Titanium, Surgical Steel, plated Surgical Steel and plated Brass. DIY jewelry will most often use gold-filled, sterling, plated surgical steel or plated brass clasps. Plated surgical steel and plated brass clasps may have finishes of gold plate, antiqued gold plate, silver plate, antiqued silver plate, antiqued brass, bright copper, antiqued copper, gunmetal/black nickel and imitation rhodium.
Toggles versus Lobster Claw clasps
Some people prefer jewelry toggles over lobster claw clasps, considering toggles as more stylish than lobster claw clasps. However, lobster claw clasps usually offer more secure fastening than do toggles because toggle bars may slip out of their loops, even if the pieces are appropriately sized to the wearers.
Lobster claw flaws
The most common flaws of lobster claws, more common with inexpensive costume jewelry clasps, are lobster claw bases with little strength which fatigue and break with ungentle wire wrapping or wearing,lobster claw triggers that stick and lobster claw triggers with springs that “pop.”
Judging the size, weight, cost, appearance and ease-of-use of lobster claws is part personal preference and aesthetics and part experience working with different jewelry components.There is no one perfect clasp design for all jewelry applications. Fortunately, there are many different designs of lobster claws to accommodate the unique styles of amateur and expert jewellery makers.
Paul Brandon knows lobster claws and writes for OhioBeads.com, which sells bulk jewelry chain and jewelry findings (in sterling silver, gold-filled, antique brass, antique copper, gunmetal, imitation rhodium, silver-plate, gold-plate) to the U.S. market.
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