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.

NOTE: This is the final article in my four-part series on how to identify and date vintage jewelry.

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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 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.

This is especially important when the jewelry has no hallmarks or maker’s marks.

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 1800s until the early 1900s, and are still used on some hand made pieces today.

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.

Wider link bracelets set with stones would often have fancy decorated box clasps.

The lobster claw clasp in use today is a fairly new design from the late 1970s, as is the toggle clasp.

Old nails were handmade, square and often had beaten heads and were generally uneven in appearance; whilst modern nails (post circa 1880) are mass produced and uniform.