Monday, January 9, 2012

Which Clasp Do You Like Best?

My favorite the clam shell type is not represented

Many jewelry designers make unique clasps for their pieces. For some, it’s their trademark, how they are identified in the vast ocean of retail. When a designer makes their clasp different they face several challenges. Some of the questions include, will it be unique enough to qualify it as a trademark and can it be easily manipulated? Making something like clasps on a bracelet qualify for a trademark is pretty hard. It must be of such significant difference that it identifies the product. I guess when I say trademark I’m thinking more along the lines that a piece of jewelry is designed with a unique feature that can be considered a signature of the designer. But when you invent a new type of clasp it really falls more into the realm of patents.

Having a patent for your one of a kind or new method of securing jewelry is really an invention, intellectual property that a designer may have exclusive rights to, but since I’m not a lawyer don’t repeat this to your friends. Patents, trademarks and copyrights aside, when a designer thinks up a new way to do something it can be associated with their designs, but it doesn’t mean it will remain their creation alone. Take the lobster clasp; this type of chain attachment has been around forever. Either someone didn’t bother to protect it as their sole property or it’s been around for so long its now public domain or free game. Since I don’t remember a time when companies were bickering about who owns this, I’m going with no patent. I have many pieces with this type of clasp and it is quite popular with many of my customers. It is most commonly found on necklaces but it can be occasionally found on bracelets.

 Open clam shell clasp with end in slot

While I think a lobster clasp for a necklace is a good idea because it is easy enough to manipulate in this form, putting it on a bracelet seems like a bad idea. How do you hold the lever back while wrapping the chain around your wrist, do you have to use a “dangle and catch” method? There are people who have worn these types of clasps for a long time so they are proficient in getting it on their wrists, not me. I prefer a clam shell or a fold over clasp, it is much easier for me to put this on in bracelet form. The clam shell is easiest and I am experiencing it first hand when I got a charm bracelet for Christmas. I simply lay the open clam shell part over my wrist so it is facing up on the inside of my wrist. I then hold the bracelet against my body and take the other end and slip it into the slot, push it closed until it clicks. It’s really easy.

The fold over clasp is also easy for bracelets because you can kind of catch the other side or loop with the top of the fold over, it acts like a hook. I’ve had some success in getting this type of clasp together when it is used on a bracelet. While a clasp is a very personal preference, there are some clasps that are simply easier to put on right away. For me, a steep learning curve is not really what I’m looking for since I’m relatively busy. Spending additional time trying to figure out how to put on a piece of jewelry isn’t a task I want to devote additional time in pursuing. So what is your favorite types of clasps, which ones are easy for you and can make or break a jewelry purchase? After all, variety makes a horserace so one size can’t fit all in the great clasp debate.

 The easiest clasp I've found yet

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