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?


This or That: Types of Tie Accessories

There are three main types of accessories that you can adorn your tie with. These three are the tie tack, the tie bar, and the tie clip. Two of them look particularly similar, so I’m going to break each one down for you and show you some pictures so you understand their differences.

Tie Tack

The tie tack is the smallest of the three. This is also the one that is the most different from the other two. The tack has two parts. The first part is the pin, which is what you attach to your tie. This works much like an earring post.

The second part is the bar, which is connected to the pin via a short chain. You simply push the bar through the button hole in your shirt, and the whole apparatus will keep your tie in place.

Tie Bar

A tie bar is also known as a tie slide, and for a good reason. This simply slides onto your tie and connects it to your dress shirt.

Tie Clip

Lastly, we have the tie clip. This looks awfully similar to the tie bar, but the main difference can be found on the back. Instead of sliding onto the tie, this part actually attaches to it via the alligator clip.

Out of all three choices, the tie clip is probably the best option. It won’t damage your tie like the tack will, and it’ll be more secure than the slide. If you want some other choices, and additional information, visit this great site.

Do you have a preferred tie accessory?

This or That: Gauge versus Scale

This particular series is going to be a hybrid of the Word of the Week and Spotlight series, but we’re going to take TWO words and explain what they mean. These are going to be two words that are similar and easy to mix up, but are actually quite different in their definitions.

In this post, we’re going to discuss “gauge” and “scale,” both of which are related to model trains.

Gauge refers to the width of the track. Certain tracks can only hold certain sized trains. You can measure this by either choosing the distance between the rails on the track, or the distance between the wheels on the train car.

Scale refers to the size of the model train. This is often portrayed as a fraction or a ratio, and it’s the relationship between the model and the real-life prototype.

Now, here’s the important (and confusing) part. The scale is simply the fractional equivalent of the gauge. Before you start shaking your head and walking away – think about it. It makes sense. The gauge is determined by the width of the wheels. That obviously determines what size the train can be. The size of the model train in relation to the size of the actual train determines the scale. See how they’re connected?

The most popular gauges are (from biggest to smallest): G, O, S, HO, N, and Z.

Here’s a chart, with the width being the distance between the rails:

Gauge Width Scale
G 45mm 1:22.5
O 32mm 1:48
S 22.5mm 1:64
HO 16.5mm 1:87.1
N 9mm 1:160
Z 6mm 1:220

(Here’s where I got the above information. This is literally the only page that could explain these words to me in plain English. It has some of the lesser known gauges in there as well, so it’s worth checking out on top of this post.)

As you can see, the width is generally measured in millimeters so it’s as specific as possible. I usually don’t pay much attention to the numbers for the scale because they aren’t necessarily important to me as a seller. I DO try to determine the gauge, however, because that’s what most people will search for when they’re looking for pieces to match a set they already have.

Did that help you to understand the difference between gauges and scales? Do you have any questions? Are there any other words that you often mix up?