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Vintage jewelry hardware refers to the various types of clasps, pins, earring backs, rings, and other elements used to create jewelry. NOTE: This is the final article in my four-part series on how to identify and date vintage jewelry. As time went on, the pins became shorter. Although mostly seen on older brooches, some inexpensive brooches are made with C-clasps even today.
The trombone clasp, patented in Europe inwas named after the musical instrument as it had a tube with a round top. You would pull the top out to release the pin.
These were used in the latter half of the 19th century into the s, mostly by European jewelers. Improvements and modifications made throughout the 20th century. It eventually evolved into the modern locking clasps in use today. Safety pin clasps were also popular and were used from the late s until the early s, and are still used on some hand made pieces today. They are commonly found on hand made brooches from the midth century era, such as painted wooden brooches from Russia or micro mosaic brooches from Italy. The clasps used on bracelets depend on the type of bracelet.
Wide bangles typically used secure hinges with tongue and groove type clasps also known as box claspswhile more delicate link bracelets used ring clasps. Wider link bracelets set with stones would often have fancy decorated box clasps. The lobster claw clasp in use today is a fairly new de from the late s, as is the toggle clasp. The spring ring clasp, introduced in the early 20th century, is the most common vintage bracelet clasp.
It has a spring inside the ring that allows it to open and snap closed. A variation of this is the sport ring clap, which works the same way, but instead of a nub, it has a ridged end used to open the ring. Foldover clasps were used on both bracelets and necklaces.
These could be either narrow or wide, depending on the width of the pieces. Pieces with stones would sometimes have foldover clasps that were decorated with matching stones. The sister hook clasp was popular in the s and s. It had two scissor-like hooks that opened in the middle, then overlapped each other when closed.
Early des were rectangular in shape. Monet had a patented, rounded sister clasp used in its jewelry in the s and s. In addition, there were some specialty clasps used, such as snap clasps, unique pin clasps found on wide link and bangle bracelets, and unique hook clasps. As with bracelets, commonly used vintage necklace clasps include ring clasps, foldover clasps, and box clasps. Often oval shaped, the long hook was inserted and locked into place.
Usually, the necklace had a chain that allowed the hook to use any of the chain links, making the necklace length adjustable.
The S-hook clasp is a variation on the hook, with a rounded, S shape. Older pieces will show some darkening of the metal, looking more like brass.
In the kidney wire was introduced. This was a more sturdy and secure fastener, as the wire was secured with a hook at the bottom of the earring. Both fish hooks and kidney wire earring backs are still in use today. Post earrings also known as stud earrings were also common at this time and normally the studs were threaded so that the backs of the earrings could be secured with screws.
Up until the s all earrings were made for pierced ears. In the screw-back earring was invented, allowing women without pierced ears to wear earrings. The earring clip was patented in and by the s became the preferred earring style for women without pierced ears. The clip mechanism has been improved over time and clip earrings are still quite popular today. There are additional attributes that help to identify and date pieces. Other jewelry parts such as the metal, plating, stones, and bead characteristics can help determine the origin and age of jewelry.
These are additional topics that I plan to write about in the future. I hope this article has been helpful to you. Please click the comments link below this article to add your comments. To share this article, use the share buttons below. You can also use the Social Media buttons in the right sidebar to visit my s. Christine, I was impressed with the information you provided.
It is simaler to an oval shape. Split at top section of oval.
The strange part is one side front hook is straight. The back half of clasp, how I see a tpye of safety latch. Anyway I would like to know and learn more about jewelry. You have peaked my interest more than before reading your article. I sometimes ramble and get lost in the thinking of it. Anyway these earring clasps are different. The back piece has an opening for the front piece to go in thus securing it better.
I was wonder wher I could find pictures of all different styles. Thank you for letting me ramble on, too. Very interesting. This is such great information. Thank you for taking the time to write it. I am bookmarking it for future reference. Very informative and loaded with tons of valuable information for future use! Thank you so much for leading the path for some of us who are learning!
Do you know of somebody who repairs Italian micro-bead jewelry? It is one of the very few things she had left that he gave her, so I would like to have it restored. Can you direct me to anybody who might have the resources missing be and one missing pin to restore it? Thank you. Sorry, Jean. You might want to try Etsy — there are a lot of craft people there who work with jewelry.
Recently purchased a Czech necklace and did not know it came from a smokers home. How do you clean the smell? Joanne, you might try putting the necklace in a plastic bag with a slice of bread — the bread should absorb the odor. Belonged to New York lady. No markings but brass. One is a bear claw with mink inside middle with pearl inset. Your information is very good for me as a beginner in her sixties. Such beautiful des. Thank you again Christine for sharing your well researched useful information with us. I find it very helpful that you also show photos along with the information, making it much easier to learn about the different jewelry styles and eras.
Much appreciated. A Wealth of Information I am anxious to start using. The Photos Really do Help with Identifying. Thank You for all Your Research Efforts. Thank you for your kind comments, Tammie. I thought your article was very informative. It was interesting to learn about all the different closures, and I will try to keep that in mind next time I go antique shopping. However I was hoping to learn about unique closures.
Christina, I too have a bracelet with a heart and rod closure. It large pale gold pearls and i purchased it from China close to 10 years ago.Dating costume jewelry by clasp
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5 Easy Clues for Dating Antique or Vintage Jewelry