This or That: Types of Jewelry Clips

There is a wide variety of different types of clips and clasps that are used in jewelry. It’s always a good idea to know what these are, as some people are very particular about the kinds they use. Clasps like the insert or the hook aren’t always the most reliable, but some people also can’t operate the barrel or the springring if they have arthritic hands.

Here’s a quick guide to the types of clasps you might run across if you’re dealing in any sort of jewelry – vintage or modern. We’ve included pictures to help!


This is a nice and solid clasp that’s quite easy to operate and wear. You usually have a square portion on one end, with a bar across it (much like a belt). The other end has a hinged clasp that slides around this bar and closes over the top of it.


These are usually fairly secure, but they can slip out on occasion. A toggle clasp usually entails a bar that goes through a loop vertically, then is turned horizontally so that it can’t pull back through.


This is a mainstay in modern clasps that is probably the mostly widely used today. It’s a simple ring, with a lever on one side that you can use to open and close the loop. You slip part of the chain in, close it back up, and you’re done!

Lobster Claw

The lobster claw clasp is pretty similar to the springring, in that it operates the same way. The only difference is that it’s a little more elongated and looks a bit like – you guessed it! – a lobster’s claw.

Box Tab Insert

This is one of the types that don’t always hold up if they accidentally get tugged on. But they’re very easy to wear and are quite common to see in vintage jewelry. A “tab” on one end simply slides into a hole on the other. The clasp can be released by pressing down on the tab and sliding it back out again.


This type of clasp is another one that might not always hold up if your necklace gets snagged on something. It’s simply a hook that is thrown over the end of a necklace (which usually has beads or pearls) to keep it in place.


This is a very secure type of clasp, but often hard to operate if you have limited dexterity in your hands. It consists of a barrel-shaped contraption that unscrews to allow you to slip the necklace around your neck.

There are a few other types as well. The fishhook is like a combination between the box tab and the hook clasps. The hook-and-eye is like a hook clasp, except it goes through a ring instead of around the actual necklace. And the s-hook clasp functions like a hook, except the hook part is in the shape of an ‘s’.

Springrings and lobster claws have always given me some trouble, particularly if the loop on the other end is small. I prefer the fold-over or the barrel because they’re easy for me to operate and quite secure. There’s little chance your necklace will slip off unnoticed (which has happened to me with a springing before!).

Did you know the names of all of these? Learn anything new? Which one do you prefer?


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