Hey, everybody! So, a few weeks ago I debuted my first post in a new series on my blog where I talk about different clasps and really get into what I do and don’t like about them. We talked about lobster claws in that first post and the number one most requested clasp to discuss next was something a bit more decorative.
The Box Clasp
Box clasps have two distinct sides. On one side is a decorative box (usually rectangular, but they come in lots of styles and shapes) and the other side is a small, angular tab that slots into the box. You can sometimes find them listed as Push ‘n Pull clasps or Tab Insert Clasps.
First off, box clasps are fairly easy to fasten one-handed. Unlike the lobster claws, the tabs just have to be pushed into the box component, so there’s no fishing around with a hook clutched precariously between your fingernails. They’re even easier to take off, since all you have to do is depress the tab with a fingernail and it’ll spring apart on its own.
Secondly, box clasps are highly decorative, also unlike the oh-so-functional lobster claw. Box clasps don’t look like hardware and they come in many different styles and shapes. You can find sparkly or antiqued, square or round, filigree and even floral. Lots of the ones I like best come with inlaid crystals, but there are also tons in matte and antiqued finishes to match less fancy shmancy pieces.
I also find the size of most box clasps to be very useful. With a wide cuff or bracelet that doesn’t come down to a point, wider clasps don’t break up the overall silhouette. When you have a wide bracelet, it can be difficult to find a clasp option with the right proportions. A tiny one-strand clasp can look kinda clumsy on a big bracelet.
I also love that box clasps come with multiple loops. I usually end up preferring the two- or three-loop options, just because they stabilize a wide bracelet connection. They do make single-strand box clasps (you can find these on a lot of vintage jewelry) and I think they look super classy, even though I don’t use them as often.
The biggest con with box clasps is that some of them are more secure than others. I have bought some in the past where the tab has been bent at too tight of an angle and the tension isn’t enough to keep the box secure. When you close a box clasp, you wanna feel a secure and noticeable “click” into place. If the clasp feels mushy or doesn’t “click”, I wouldn’t trust it. Because of this, I prefer to buy my box clasps in person (either at my local bead shop or at a bead show) so that I can open and close them before purchase to make sure they’re secure. This means that buying them online is a gamble.
Another con with box clasps is that they are decorative.
“Hold up!” you may say. “You listed this as a pro! You are full of contradictions, you clown. How could you betray me with this horrific discrepancy???”
And you’re not wrong. Box clasps being so decorative is definitely part of their appeal, BUT it does mean that you need to take aesthetics into account when choosing a box clasp for your bracelet. Not only does it need to be the right metal and the right size, but the style needs to match the style of your beading. It can really add to your piece, but you need to make sure it doesn’t clash or overwhelm your beading.
Another quick note is that box clasps usually have a bit more surface area touching the skin, so if you or your clients struggle with metal allergies or turning metals, more of the clasp will be rubbing up against their wrist than with a lobster claw or toggle.
Another con is that box clasps can be expensive. You get what you pay for and in general, I’m happy to spend a bit more for a bit of sparkle that I trust is secure, but it can cause a twinge in your heart to spend $10 on one clasp, when the same amount could buy you about 20 lobster claws. Especially if you sell your jewelry and that added cost means you’ll need to increase your prices.
When Do I Use Them?
My favorite use of box clasps is one wider bracelets that can stand a little pop of style without disrupting the aesthetics of the over all piece. I especially love lightweight filigree options with two or three holes.
Generally, I do not use box clasps on necklaces. Traditionally, single strand box clasps are used on knotted pearl necklaces, but personally, I find it a bit wasteful to use such a detailed clasp when it’ll be hidden under your hair. I’m also not sure I trust box clasps with the weight of multi-strand necklaces.
Now, I don’t usually make brand-specific recommendations on this blog (unless I’m extolling the virtues of Miyuki seed beads, like I did here), but as I mentioned – box clasps can be hit or miss. So, let me tell you now that I LOVE Elegant Elements brand box clasps. They come with crystals or without and I have never had an issue with them closing properly. They can be a bit heavy, but I find them extremely reliable and high-quality. They’re priced accordingly, but I have found them to be worth every penny. They’re made in Germany and are either 23k gold-plated or rhodium and the crystals and pearls they use are Swarovski.
Elegant Elements is a great brand for box clasps and I 100% recommend them. I am not being paid or sponsored for this opinion, and I use them on my own jewelry all the time.
(Elegant Elements, I love you and if you wanna sponsor me, hit me up!)
So! Those are my thoughts about Box Clasps! Do you guys have anything to add or any ideas on what clasp I should do next? Let me know in the comments. <3
Hi Sam, I agree with everything that you said about the box clasps. I also find that they can sometimes add too much extra length to a bracelet if you are following a pattern, something to take into consideration. Thank you for you info!!
Ooh, that is a very good point. Especially when compared to, say, a slide clasp, which would still have multiple loops, but a much slimmer profile.
Thanks Sam for another thoughtful, informative and entertaining post!
Another thought is that there seems to be great variation in the weights. I have some that are more delicate and lightweight, and some that are very heavy, even though they look similar. So ordering online can be tricky as you said. Next up how about either toggle or magnetic clasps?
would like to see your ideas about magnetic clasps