Stitch Pro: In Search of the Perfect Clasp

Feb 28, 2013

I often feel like the Jason of beadweaving in search of the perfect (golden fleece) clasp. Does it exist? Oh, there are lots of pretty toggle, box, and slide clasps, but I just haven't found one that brings the ends of a beaded piece of jewelry together in a tight, neat way. Just think about many times have you had to resort to 2-part snaps or dress hooks, designing your piece so the ends overlap? Or you've done some kind of crazy maneuver to attach to a whole line of hidden magnetic clasps? Tubular slide clasps are great, and just about perfect, but there's that bit between the beadwork and the loops that just bugs's a real visual interruption.

Yes, a it's a nerdy frustration, but one that keeps me on the lookout for the perfect clasp. For example, when I was in Tucson a few weeks ago, I met up with the folks at TierraCast, who showed off their fabulous new leather findings. My metalsmith brain went wild for the rivets and other findings, but the beadweaver in me was especially attracted to this Z-shaped piece:

It got me thinking, "I wonder how this might work as a beadwork clasp?"

When I got home, I spent some time in my bead studio and stitched up a design with rullas (another new find in Tucson--2-hole barrel-shaped beads!). I made the design so it included a straight end to which I could attach a clasp. I square-stitched a 7-bead-wide, 6-row-long strip off this straight end, passed it through the closed half of the Z-shaped finding (I used an antiqued piece here...very pretty with my dark indigo/AB rullas), and square-stitched Row 1 to Row 6:

Now for the other side. I worked up all kinds of ways to get around that bend and mostly ended up tearing out each attempt. What made the most sense was to actually get out the pliers and slightly straighten the bend in the finding. (The high-quality pewter used in TierraCast products will allow for this, but you don't want to go overboard...bending metal too much can make it brittle.)

Next, I square-stitched a 7-bead-wide, 7-row-long loop at the other end of the bracelet. Once you slide the loop onto the finding's bent piece, you've got a nice connection! And it's a clasp that you can easily put on and take off yourself.

It's not quite the golden fleece of clasps, but I'm pleased to find this new option because it's pretty dang close. I think it's got a lot of potential for embellishment, too; I'm going to experiment with decorating that diagonal bar in the center to personalize the clasp even more.

Which kind of clasps do you like for beadweaving? Have you found the perfect clasp? Please share what you know with all of us!

Happy beading-

Jean Campbell

Senior editor, Beadwork

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SandFibers wrote
on Feb 28, 2013 12:31 PM

That is gorgeous, Jean!

I found a similar clasp at Rio Grande a few years ago.  They have them in this rounded rectangle as well as in a heart-shape.

mbarris wrote
on Feb 28, 2013 12:40 PM

I am like you, I am always on the lookout for that perfect clasp. I can make a lot of what I want but I'm not a silversmith so what I end up making are beaded or wirewrapped. I love this z clasp! I'll have to buy a few and see what I can come up with. Thanks for sharing!

on Feb 28, 2013 3:23 PM

Hi Jean,

That clasp above is fantastic.It would make things easy on so many fronts. Easier for how long to make bracelets and necklaces, easier to put on. If it comes in different finishes, it would be fantastic.

Thanks for showing it and making up a bracelet to emphasise the ease of using them.

PatriciaW@45 wrote
on Feb 28, 2013 4:45 PM

Thanks Jean!  This looks like a good one.  Patricia Williams

on Mar 1, 2013 9:55 AM

Great idea, Jean! I love it! And the rulla beads look great.


SueLondon wrote
on Mar 2, 2013 4:58 AM

This looks great, thanks for sharing, now off to find some!

Eliz K wrote
on Mar 2, 2013 7:43 AM

Nice Idea..saw these and wondered about using it also..Thanks for working out a usable design.. :)

MEM@6 wrote
on Mar 2, 2013 12:03 PM

Love this!!!  I would sure love a tutorial for this bracelet!  Have you seen Kate McKinnon's Ram's Horn Clasp in her book Jewelry Architect?  It can even be transferred to different bracelets.  I have been wanting to try it.  It has a very seamless, beautiful look.         P.S. SandFibers, I love your clasp with the tubular herringbone necklace!

peppamlowe wrote
on Mar 2, 2013 6:06 PM

I know exactly what you're saying. I love what you did with that clasp. Great idea.  Thank you for sharing. ...