Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Talkin' Shop Tuesday - Hookin' Up (Glossary Pt.5)

A little over a month ago, I began sharing some entries in my new Glossary of Jewelry Terms and Gemology Guide. Today I'll be adding to the list with some more jewelry terms that have to do with the more common clasp types found in jewelry, as well as some new gemological information. This week's list is a little longer than usual because I want to catch as many of the clasp configurations as I can! Time permitting, I'm hoping to be able to build on my glossary and gem guide during the week in addition to the terms I post in these articles, so be sure to check back frequently for new entries... and of course, if you're looking for the meaning of a specific term, or some background information on a type of stone, just use the "contact me" option in the menu bar and drop me a note to let me know!

Here's this week's entries...

Bar and Toggle Clasp: A bar and toggle clasp (also known as a "toggle") is a two-piece clasp that is attached to opposite ends of a piece of jewelry. One section of the clasp has an open center (round, square, oval, or some other shaped-opening). The other half is a T-bar that attaches to the components at the other end. You insert the "T" into the hole which holds the worn jewelry in place.  Toggle clasps are one of the most popular jewelry closures/jewelry clasps around - both for their functionality and for their contribution to the overall design of the piece of jewelry. They are very easy to put on and take off - which is always helpful when you don't want to or can't fiddle with clasps that have little spring mechanisms. Toggles that have square or oval openings/holes are easier to get on and off, and are also more secure, than round ones. They can be also very sturdy and very attractive. Widely used to secure bracelets, anklet, and necklaces, these kinds of clasps are  also incorporated by jewelry artisans into their actual necklace designs, often positioned to rest to the side or at the bottom of pendants, rather than at the back, as in traditional necklace designs.

Button Toggle Clasps: These clasps are composed of a set of matched buttons, one having a loop of cord, elastic or beaded thread. The loop is then slipped around the other button to close the clasp.

Hook and Eye Clasp: The hook and eye clasp is constructed of two pieces - a simple hook on one end of the bracelet or necklace and an "eye" piece on the other end which is usually shaped like a figure eight or a large closed jumpring. Not quite as secure as some of the other clasps, the hook and eye is more suitable for necklaces than bracelets.

S-Hook Clasp: The S- hook clasp consists of an often highly decorative s-shaped piece of metal on one end of a necklace or bracelet which simply hooks into an open ring component at the other end.  Used for both necklaces and bracelets, this type of clasp can be used as a component of the design, although while relatively easy to use, it is not quite as secure as other clasps.

Barrel Clasp: A barrel clasp derives its name from its shape which has the same basic form as a barrel. These clasps are made of two cylindrical screw ends that look like barrels, each with an eyehook or connector loop to attach them to the necklace or bracelet. These screw end pieces have male and female ends; one end screws inside the threads of the other, much like a bolt screwing into a nut or a bottle cap screwing onto a bottle. 

Torpedo Clasp: (See Barrel Clasp) Identical in mechanical configuration to a barrel clasp with a smoother, smaller profile.

Box Clasp: A box clasp consists of two parts which are attached to opposite ends of a necklace, bracelet, or anklet.  One end is a fitted boxed housing with a slot in it.  The other end  is a lever formed from a flat piece of metal folded over, which fits into the notch like a tongue and groove when compressed. Once the tab is inserted into the notch and released, the pressure secures it inside the box. To release this type of clasp, simply press the two ends of the protruding lever together and pull out of the box.

Lobster Claw Clasp: Similar to a spring ring clasp in its mechanism, a lobster clasp opens by pressing a hinge, which opens the clasp into a claw shape. The claw catches a loop or ring attached to the other end of the chain, securing the two ends together. Lobster claw clasps (also known as parrot clasps for their resemblance to a parrot's head with its mouth open when unclasped), are somewhat more heavy duty than spring rings and due to their carabiner type locking mechanism in many designs, they are often easier to use than spring ring clasps.

Spring Ring Clasp: A spring ring clasp uses a spring-loaded mechanism that opens and closes around a loop or jumpring. The spring ring is opened when the arm of the clasp is pulled backwards, and automatically springs shut when released. It is recommended that you use a split ring jumpring for additional security when using a spring ring clasp. While the traditional shape for a spring ring clasp remains a circle, they are becoming more readily available in a variety of shapes.

Bullet Clasp: Somewhat similar to box clasps, traditional bullet clasps have two parts - the larger being a housing, often ornate, into which the second piece - the bullet - is inserted and held in place by some type of tension against a small indentation in the bullet. Modern day bullet clasps often use a magnet to secure the bullet in its housing.

Slide Lock Clasp: (See Tube Bar Clasp)

Tube Bar Clasp: A Tube Bar Clasp consists of a set of tubes, one of which slides inside the other and locks into place. The bar style of these multi-strand clasps holds an almost unlimited number of strands of chain, cord, beading wire or thread. (Also known as a Slide Lock Clasp)

Magnetic Clasp: A magnetic clasp is an easy-to-use clasp that makes use of strong magnets at both ends of the necklace or bracelet. When the ends are brought together, the magnets quickly snap shut, creating a secure connection. Caution: Pregnant women and those with pacemakers should not wear magnetic clasps. Due to the strong magnets used, you should also keep magnetic objects away from VDUs, any monitors and other devices that can be influenced by the magnetic field.

Tab Clasp: (See Box Clasp)

Parrot Clasp: (See Lobster Claw Clasp)

Snap Lock (Also Known as a Fold-Over Clasp] Snap lock clasps are low-profile clasps making them less likely to tangle or snag on hair or clothes than other styles. This hinged clasp folds shut, closing securely and locking with a quiet ''snap.'' Ideal for bracelets or anklets, these clasps are also a great way to close a custom fitted collar or choker style necklace.

Fold-Over Clasp: (See Snap Lock Clasp)

Chalcedony: A variety of Quartz, often combined with Mogánite, another silica mineral. When chalcedony appears with concentric bands in either circular or freeform patterns, it is classified as the sub-variety Agate. When it appears in flat layers or band, it is classified as the subvariety Onyx.
Occasionally, the term agate is applied to non-banded forms of chalcedony such as Moss Agate or agatized wood (petrified wood) which has the appearance of concentric bands, but in this case the banding is caused by crystalline deposits in the tree rings, not free crystalline formation. In both of these cases, a more appropriate label would be chalcedony. Other gemstone belonging to this variety of quartz are aventurine, carnelian, chrysoprase (prase), heliotrope, and mtorolite. Having a mohs rating of 7, this moderately hard stone appears in a wide variety of colors with white, grey, grey-blue, green, brown, or black being most common.

That's it for today! 


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