Clasps as Focals: Why Stop There?

Clasps as Focals: Why Stop There?

 

I loved Erin Strother’s recent post “The Clasp Conundrum,” but she omitted one important fact: clasps are the gateway drug. I’ve seen it happen again and again to fine, upstanding jewelry citizens as yourselves. You’ve always toed the straight and narrow, using your clasps properly at the back of your necklaces. Then you listen to Erin’s mighty persuasive spiel in that dark alley behind your local bead shop and you think, Fine. No big deal. I’ll use one clasp for a focal one time and that will be that. I can stop at any time.

Sweet pearl earrings made with pendant bails and bead caps.

Sweet pearl earrings made with pendant bails and bead caps.

I beg to differ. Once you start looking at your findings—all your findings—with a critical eye, you won’t be able to stop. I should know. I wrote a whole book about using findings in unusual ways. The book Unexpected Findings has fifty projects, but the ten contributing designers and I made many more projects than appear in the pages. We just created, created, created like people obsessed. We forgot all about showering and subsisted on a diet mainly of coffee and chocolate so we could stay up all night thinking of how to use eye pins in a new and different way. (Or maybe that was just me?) Seriously, we could have written a sequel to this book before it was even out.

Not convinced? Here are two exclusive (not in the book!) projects to inspire you:

A bead frame can make a great toggle ring for a clasp. Would you have guessed the location of these bead caps?

A bead frame can make a great toggle ring for a clasp. Would you have guessed the location of these bead caps?

Bails
Some shops go as far to call these “pendant bails” or “necklace bails” so there will be absolutely no confusion on how to use them. They come in a wide variety of types. The one shown here is called a tube bail. The tube slips over your beading wire and you hang your pendant from the loop. Unless you’re me and you use them in your earrings.

Bead Caps
Bead caps are hands down (I mean it—hands down, step away from my bead caps!) the findings I love the best. If I find a new bead shop, whether in person or online, I’m almost sure to buy a few bead caps. You’re supposed to use these strung on either side of a bead, but that can get a little dull. Many bead caps are so pretty just on their own. I love using them at the bottom of a dangle like I’ve done with these earrings.


Bead Frames

A toggle ring can be made from anything round. I especially like using bead frames because they have holes in them.  This gives you other options besides a jump ring to attach the toggle ring to your jewelry. Normally, you’d use bead frames when stringing beads, so that at least one bead is framed in the center of the metal.

Unexpected Findings by Michelle Mach

Unexpected Findings by Michelle Mach

I’ve also hidden some bead caps in the beaded strand of this bracelet. Those larger pewter beads look like your typical rondelles, but they’re actually two bead caps strung together.

 

Win an Autographed Copy of Unexpected Findings
I’ll be giving away an autographed copy of my new Unexpected Findings book to one lucky winner in the Clasps & Closures Design Challenge. There will be a random drawing from all the entries. Of course, if you can’t wait that long, you can order your own copy. Good luck with the challenge! (And don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

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