Dating jewelry clasp
Vintage jewelry hardware refers to the various types of clasps, pins, earring backs, rings, and other elements used to create jewelry.
These are also called “findings.” Techniques and elements have evolved over time, so knowing the types of hardware used during various eras will help you to properly date your vintage and antique jewelry.
It eventually evolved into the modern locking clasps in use 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.
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.
On older brooches (around the turn of twentieth century) you’ll see that the pin extends well beyond the clasp. Although mostly seen on older brooches, some inexpensive brooches are made with C-clasps even today.
The trombone clasp, patented in Europe in 1850, was named after the musical instrument as it had a tube with a round top. These were used in the latter half of the 19th century into the 1950s, mostly by European jewelers.
The safety catch (also known as the “spring ring” clasp) was introduced in 1921.
Improvements and modifications made throughout the 20th century.
This is especially important when the jewelry has no hallmarks or maker’s marks.
NOTE: This is the final article in my four-part series on how to identify and date vintage jewelry.
You can read the other articles in this series here: Part 1: Vintage Jewelry Marks: Help for Dating Your Vintage Jewelry Part 2: Silver Jewelry Marks: Learn to Identify and Date Silver Jewelry Part 3: Vintage Jewelry Patents: Find and Use them to Date Vintage Jewelry So let’s get started learning about vintage jewelry hardware.The earliest type of brooch clasp is a simple hook, also known as the C-clasp, since the hook is shaped like the letter “C.” It was used well into the 1930s.