Dating jewelry clasp
(Yes, this means the definition is a moving target!
FYI: Many antique dealers and collectors are currently snatching up Art Deco necklaces and other pieces from the 1920s.
Knowledge of clasp types and the time periods in which they have been the most popular can help you verify the approximate age of a vintage necklace you might come across later on.
Don’t worry; you won’t have to attain this knowledge from scratch.
There is a helpful chart that summarizes popular clasps for each era in the 20th century a bit later in this discussion.
Dating a vintage necklace by its clasp is not a straightforward task.
The spring ring clasp, for instance, was developed back in the 1840s.
The following two charts on clasps contain helpful information to help you with your detective work: Important Clasp Developments: Prior to 1800: s-hook, hook, pin & barrel, slide-out (tongue-in-groove) clasp, toggle Circa 1840: spring ring clasp Circa 1890: screw barrel clasp Circa 1940: box clasp Circa 1990: magnetic clasp* *(note: A patent for a magnetic clasp was applied for during the 1950s but it did not see mass-market production) Common Vintage Necklace Clasp Types by Era: Early 1900s through the 1920s: pin & barrel, screw barrel, spring ring, hook, slide-out 1930s through the 1940s: spring ring, hook, fish hook, box, screw barrel, fold-over latch, slide-out, multi-strand 1950s through the 1960s: hook, fold-over latch, fish hook, box, slide-out, multi-strand 1970 through the 1980s: spring ring, screw barrel, fold-over latch, hook, lobster, toggle, fish hook, box, slide-out, multi-strand 1990 and beyond: lobster, trigger, magnetic, toggle, fish hook, screw barrel, spring ring, slide-out, tube (modern pin & barrel), multi-strand Of course, even with the helpful charts above, you must follow a few words of caution: None of the information above will help you date a vintage necklace if someone has replaced the clasp. Clasps are susceptible to corrosion and breakage over time.