Barrel clasps are a type of fastener typically seen on pieces of jewelry, such as necklaces or bracelets. Each end of a barrel clasp is attached to one end of a chain, rope, thread, or other material and fits together to complete a connection and secure the jewelry around the body. Barrel clasps are barrel shaped and make one of two types of connections. They either screw together on tiny threads or they lock together with magnetic force.
Most pieces of fine jewelry that have barrel clasps are a screw connection because they are considered to be more secure than the magnetic connection. However, magnetic connections are easier to connect, thus making it easier for a person to put their jewelry on without assistance. Barrel clasps with a strong magnetic connection are likely to securely hold jewelry in place under normal wear, but could easily disconnect if the jewelry were caught on something or pulled with enough force.
When making jewelry, barrel clasps are attached to each end of the piece by small eyelets. Depending on the type of jewelry, the end of a chain is linked through the eyelet or a string or rope is tied onto it. Some pieces may be reinforced for added security. Replacement clasps, including barrel clasps, lobster claw clasps, and hook clasps can be purchased for jewelry repair. They are constructed of metal and may be purchased in sterling silver, gold, or plated metals.
Barrel clasps and other varieties are sold in craft stores and retailers selling jewelry making supplies. Inexpensive jewelry can easily be repaired or an existing clasp can be switched to another preferred variety, but repairing expensive jewelry at home is not advisable. If you prefer barrel clasps to other types and would like to repair or replace an existing clasp on a piece of expensive jewelry, it’s best to take it to a professional jewelry repairer to ensure proper attachment and quality.