By Erin Strother

verdigris triangle
When I began thinking about a subject for this post, my original topic was going to be a series of money saving tips. And since I’m admittedly one of the cheapest people you’ll ever have the pleasure to meet, I have volumes of knowledge in this area and could blab on and on about it endlessly until you suddenly remember your mother is calling and you have to go home immediately. Which happens to me surprisingly often. One of the things I planned to talk about was clasps—specifically, how you don’t have to spend a fortune on a big fancy one and also how you can make your own pretty easily. But then, the very same day I was planning to start writing, one of those big, corporate jewelry blogs landed in my inbox, and guess what it was about? Go ahead—GUESS.


Except that their whole blog was pretty much the exact opposite of my idea. According to this blog chick, who clearly has some sort of uncontrollable deviant clasp fetish, the clasp you choose is VERY IMPORTANT and must be SUPER COOL, because if you don’t choose exactly the right one, you will ruin the whole necklace and then everyone will know you’re just a hack and lose all respect for you and you won’t have any friends and will be forced live out your lonely, lonely existence with only 47 cats for friends.

So perhaps I am totally wrong about clasps. I have friends (yes, REALLY!) who are very well respected jewelry designers who never scrimp on clasps. And yeah, their pieces are beautiful, and yeah, they spent, like, $20 on the clasp alone. And then you put on this beautiful necklace and where is that beautiful, expensive clasp? At the back of your neck under your hair where nobody will ever see it. Unless you have super short hair and a habit of turning your back to people when you talk to them. So I have never bought into the whole beautiful expensive clasp thing, EXCEPT in the following instances.

1. Bracelets You can see EVERYTHING happening on a bracelet, all the time, unlike a necklace where there’s usually an obvious front and a back. Many of my “claspalicious” friends (I just now invented that word, which I’m positive will catch on and become a huge thing) incorporate hand-made art beads or buttons into the clasp somehow, or use clasps with unique shapes that blend in seamlessly with the rest of the piece. I admit—those rock, although I am too cheap to make them myself.

braided blues

2. Using the clasp as a focal. Some necklaces are purposely designed with the clasp in front. And by all means, if you have an awesome, expensive clasp, show that baby off! It should be a law, actually. Those kind of clasps should come with a dis
claimer, similar to carrying a concealed weapon: “WARNING: under penalty of death or dismemberment or undetermined but notably se
vere and/or unpleasant punishment, this clasp is to be worn in a conspicuous manner at all times!!! (Note the use of many exclamation points, proving that this is very important.) !!!

Personally, I’m a fan of simple, hand-made clasps. I usually either make an easy “S” or hook clasp using 18 or 16 gauge hammered wire, or I make a toggle clasp using a washer and a hand-made toggle bar (again, using 18 or 16 gauge wire.) Typically, I use brass wire over copper, because brass is harder and stronger than copper, so it holds it shape a bit better. But I’m also a fan of LAZINESS, and I have plenty of necklaces that just have a simple, utilitarian lobster clasp. And honestly, I think there is nothing wrong with that.

What do YOU think? Do you LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, cool, expensive clasps, or do you think they are a big fat waste of money? (all viewpoints are welcome here. Except of course, those that differ from mine. Because those are obviously wrong. But feel free to express them anyway 🙂 )

Find out more about me and my work in the author bio box below!  

Visit the Clasp and Closure Challenge going on!

Erin Strother

Erin Strother

Owner Designer at Studio E Gallery
Erin Strother is a full-time graphic designer with an obsession for jewelry design living in southern California with her long-suffering husband George and their disobedient dog Swiffer. She has won 6 Pulitzer prizes, an Academy Award for “Best Virtual Sound Editing,” $4 in the California State Lottery, and other prizes too numerous to mention. She is currently working on her second novel, “Sarcasm for Fun and Profit.” See more of her work at and
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