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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.
The trombone clasp, patented in Europe in 1850, was named after the musical instrument as it had a tube with a round top. The spring ring clasp, introduced in the early 20th century, is the most common vintage bracelet clasp. 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.
The Hook clasp (also called shepherd’s hook) was very popular in the 1950s and 1960s, when chunky multi-strand bead necklaces and sparkling rhinestone necklaces were very popular. Barrel clasps were quite popular, and are still used today, so it’s important to note the age of the clasp. I haven’t been able to locate a single web site with comprehensive information about vintage jewelry hardware. This wonderful and thorough reference book covers the collectible costume jewelry designs of 97 companies with over 1,200 photographs.
An excellent reference for jewelry care and repair techniques, Jewelry Fixups also provides details about the construction and materials used in the jewelry designs of various eras. This amount includes seller specified US shipping charges as well as applicable international shipping, handling, and other fees. Estimated delivery dates - opens in a new window or tab include seller's handling time, origin ZIP Code, destination ZIP Code and time of acceptance and will depend on shipping service selected and receipt of cleared payment - opens in a new window or tab.


This item will be shipped through the Global Shipping Program and includes international tracking. On older brooches (around the turn of twentieth century) you’ll see that the pin extends well beyond the clasp. Wide bangles typically used secure hinges with tongue and groove type clasps (also known as box clasps), while more delicate link bracelets used ring clasps.
It had two scissor-like hooks that opened in the middle, then overlapped each other when closed. Usually, the necklace had a chain that allowed the hook to use any of the chain links, making the necklace length adjustable.
The detailed close-up photos show hardware traits, construction elements, interesting stones, and signatures for each piece. This information enables you to identify the age and composition of popular jewelry types and teaches you how to keep them looking like new. Other jewelry parts such as the metal, plating, stones, and bead characteristics can help determine the origin and age of jewelry.
Contact the seller- opens in a new window or tab and request a shipping method to your location. These were used in the latter half of the 19th century into the 1950s, mostly by European jewelers. 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. Pieces with stones would sometimes have foldover clasps that were decorated with matching stones. This was a more sturdy and secure fastener, as the wire was secured with a hook at the bottom of the earring.


In 1894 the screw-back earring was invented, allowing women without pierced ears to wear earrings.
The Morning Glory Antiques Jewel Chat Findings page has some photos of basic antique and vintage jewelry findings.
If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable. Although mostly seen on older brooches, some inexpensive brooches are made with C-clasps even today. Safety pin clasps were also popular and were used from the late 1800s until the early 1900s, and are still used on some hand made pieces today.
The lobster claw clasp in use today is a fairly new design from the late 1970s, as is the toggle clasp. The earring clip was patented in 1934 and by the 1940s became the preferred earring style for women without pierced ears. They are commonly found on hand made brooches from the mid-20th century era, such as painted wooden brooches from Russia or micro mosaic brooches from Italy. 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.
The clip mechanism has been improved over time and clip earrings are still quite popular today.



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