Jewelry mirrors time, culture, and societal values. It reflects the taste and attitude of every period in history. Luckily, there are definitely clues that can be used in deciphering how old your jewelry is. The older and more rare the piece of jewelry, the more valuable it will be. There are many more clues than just five, but these are quick and easy ways to help determine the age of your jewelry.
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 s until the early s, and are still used on some hand made pieces today.
They are commonly found on hand made brooches from the midth century era, such as painted wooden brooches from Russia or micro mosaic brooches from Italy.
The clasps used on bracelets depend on the type of bracelet. Wide bangles typically used secure hinges with tongue and groove type clasps also known as box claspswhile more delicate link bracelets used ring clasps. 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 s, as is the toggle clasp.
The spring ring clasp, introduced in the early 20th century, is the most common vintage bracelet clasp. It has a spring inside the ring that allows it to open and snap closed. 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.
Oct 24, Hallmarks and markings are an important clue to help date a piece of jewelry. Most often these marks are hidden on the inside of a shank on a ring, the inside of a bracelet, or on the inside back of an earring. Using your loupe, you will often find some kind of mark identifying the jeweler, designer, retailer, or manufacturer. According to this article spring ring clasps came into use in the early 20th century. And you will not find them on jewelry made before 4, Views Message 2 of 17 1 Helpful Here's a link to a series of neat videos on dating jewelry. See the one at top . The modern lobster claw clasp is a variation of the spring ring. Indeed, the lobster claw clasp resembles a lobster claw. It has also a spring inside and is fastened around a ring, like the spring-ring clasp and to open and close it you have to push a tiny lever too.
These could be either narrow or wide, depending on the width of the pieces. Pieces with stones would sometimes have foldover clasps that were decorated with matching stones.
The sister hook clasp was popular in the s and s. It had two scissor-like hooks that opened in the middle, then overlapped each other when closed. Early designs were rectangular in shape.
Monet had a patented, rounded sister clasp used in its jewelry in the s and s. 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. Often oval shaped, the long hook was inserted and locked into place. Usually, the necklace had a chain that allowed the hook to use any of the chain links, making the necklace length adjustable.
The S-hook clasp is a variation on the hook, with a rounded, S shape. Older pieces will show some darkening of the metal, looking more like brass. In the kidney wire was introduced. This was a more sturdy and secure fastener, as the wire was secured with a hook at the bottom of the earring. Both fish hooks and kidney wire earring backs are still in use today. 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.
Up until the s all earrings were made for pierced ears. In the screw-back earring was invented, allowing women without pierced ears to wear earrings. The earring clip was patented in and by the s became the preferred earring style for women without pierced ears. The clip mechanism has been improved over time and clip earrings are still quite popular today.
There are additional attributes that help to identify and date pieces. Other jewelry parts such as the metal, plating, stones, and bead characteristics can help determine the origin and age of jewelry.
These are additional topics that I plan to write about in the future. I hope this article has been helpful to you.
Dating spring ring clasps
Please click the comments link below this article to add your comments. To share this article, use the share buttons below. You can also use the Social Media buttons in the right sidebar to visit my pages. Christine, I was impressed with the information you provided. It is simaler to an oval shape. Split at top section of oval. The strange part is one side front hook is straight.
The back half of clasp, how I see a tpye of safety latch. Anyway I would like to know and learn more about jewelry. You have peaked my interest more than before reading your article. I sometimes ramble and get lost in the thinking of it. Anyway these earring clasps are different. The back piece has an opening for the front piece to go in thus securing it better.
I was wonder wher I could find pictures of all different styles. Thank you for letting me ramble on, too. Very interesting. This is such great information.
Thank you for taking the time to write it. I am bookmarking it for future reference.
Very informative and loaded with tons of valuable information for future use! Thank you so much for leading the path for some of us who are learning!
Do you know of somebody who repairs Italian micro-bead jewelry? It is one of the very few things she had left that he gave her, so I would like to have it restored. Can you direct me to anybody who might have the resources missing beads and one missing pin to restore it? Thank you.
Sorry, Jean. This explains its name. Not only the hook will lock into its place, but often has to be turned around a part of the box as well. The latter provides double protection against loosing the necklace.
MNS1000 - Round Sterling Silver Spring Ring Clasp
Because of this it is often used for more expensive bead necklaces like pearls, and made of gold or silver. Of non precious metal made we see them often on necklaces from India.
This is a clasp you have to try out over and over in front of your eyes to get the feeling for it in your fingertips. If you are one of the many women who never will become used to them, do not be ashamed, just ask for replacement by a more convenient clasp. If the necklace is made of light weight - and not too expensive materials you even can ask for a magnetic clasp, see the chapter about the old ladies.
Home About Contact Details. Necklaces and age: Old ladies.
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Clasps and Fastenings. The Quality of the BeadWork.
How to Store Your Bead Necklaces. How to Differentiate Between Materials.
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Plastic Imitations of Bead Necklaces. The Hidden Meaning of Bead Necklaces. Wearing Bead Necklaces and Using Cosmetics. Using Bead Necklaces and Jewelry as Cosmetics. Necklace Clasps and Fastenings The clasps and fastenings which secure the necklace around the wearer's neck have developed in time and often provide useful clues in dating the necklace, its origin and its value. Such units could be attached to the brooch in one step. Previously, tube hinges and catches were all attached individually.
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Some round hinges, though, can be found separately Fig. These single pieces were mostly made for repair work.
The pads below the hinge made soldering easier. Pins that go with round hinges can be identified because the pin is one single piece see Fig. Pins for tube hinges, remember, are made of two pieces: the pin and a separate tube soldered to the pin. The pin was kept within the C with tension created by the pin against the fabric to which it was attached.
Some pins were held in place by pressure of a bend in the pin which pressed against the C. This type of catch was not very secure because the pin could slip out of the C.
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C catches are generally always hand made. A C catch of some type was in use from about to These hand made efforts are the first so called "safety catches". They are not called 'safety because they prevented being poked with the pin. Oh no. They provided safety against loosing your brooch! Saving blood, although noble, was a secondary consideration to protecting a valuable piece of jewelry. Early safety catches, like tube hinges, are hand made.
Generally, the same person who made the brooch also made the early safety catches.
Because they are hand made, the early safety catches show lots of variation. Some are simple like the lever safety in Fig. It is machine made with a rotating jaw that locks the pin in the catch Fig.
It is usually mounted in a preassembled unit, such as a bar, with a round hinge Fig. Modern safety catches are also available separately on pads for repair work Fig.