If you are looking for clasps that are ideal for multiple strand necklaces and bracelets with options in any size or metal then Bar Clasps are for you.
A bit of background: What is a Bar Clasp? What kind of Tube Clasps are there?
Bar Clasps are clasps with two parts that either slide or clip together in the center and they come in geometric shapes, usually cylinders or rectangles. There are a few different basic styles of bar clasps and tube clasps that use different mechanisms for opening and closing. They can have multiple rings for use in multi-strand jewelry and be round like tubes, or flat like rectangles. Like most clasps, it is common to find them made with metals such as Sterling Silver, Gold Filled and 14K or 18K Gold either plain or with designs that include stones like diamonds or cubic zirconia set into the body.
Unlike Bar Clasps, “Tube Clasps” are not their own class of clasps, they merely describe the clasp shape and have a variety of different mechanisms. Some tube clasps, especially single stranded Barrel are technically bead clasps despite being shaped similarly to bar clasps.
How to connect them to your jewelry pieces:
Bar Clasps are typically used for multi-strand stringing designs where the beads are strung directly onto a jump ring or hole that is on the body of the clasp. When making a multi-strand piece, the two basic things you need to know is the number of strands your strand will be and the size of your beads. The spacing between jump rings must be similar to the width of your beads. The importance of the bead sizing becomes more and more important as you increase the number of strands in your design. In general, more strands means greater complexity and less room for error all around. One easy solution that can help your necklace or bracelet to lay right is to include dividers in your design because they maintain even spacing between strands. The dividers will help you properly align each strand when you are finishing the stringing job, and prevent the bead strands from moving around awkwardly on their own when it comes time to actually wear it.
Drawbacks and Other Concerns:
Most bar clasps are heavy which directly affects the price you will pay for any precious metal findings. If you want to make multi-strand pieces on a tighter budget, there are work arounds using special connectors but they are usually not suited for high end designs.
Some single strand tube clasps are actually bead clasps and have built in safety mechanisms. Though bar clasps do not come with a safety mechanism, most varieties are safe and do not need them. A notable exception is the button-type clasps which may release if they encounter an unexpected impact.
Bar Clasps and Bead Clasps are not particularly difficult to put on or take off when used on a necklace, but they may require a second person to put on as a bracelet. If you need an easier way to wear your multi-row bracelets, it might be a better option to string your piece using elastic.
To sum things up…
Bar Clasps are safe, sturdy, and can fit many different types of multi-row designs but all this comes at a price—they are expensive! Using Bar Clasps requires some planning because you need to match the size of your beads closely to the size of the clasp and the and spacing of the jump rings. There are other options for multi-strand pieces but bar clasps are a great place to start.
-Cyrus Nemani, Gempacked
To browse more types of Sterling Silver, Gold Filled, and 14K Gold Clasps, visit www.gempacked.com