Professional Jeweler Archive: Custom Fold-Over Enhancer Clasp

August 2004

Professional Bench/Selling Quality


Custom Fold-Over Enhancer Clasp

Knowing how to professionally manufacture these clasps demonstrates another aspect of quality in your shop


Fold-over enhancer clasps are provided commercially in very limited selections and may not fit custom design needs. The bench jewelers at Galloway & Moseley in Sumter, SC, are called on regularly to make custom enhancers for omega chains too wide for the enhancer to slide over and hang properly. Steece Hermanson’s solution is to handmake a clasp assembly that allows the enhancer to fit snugly over the omega chain and help it stay centrally located without flipping over.

This 1.50-ct. diamond solitaire enhancer, fabricated at Galloway & Moseley in platinum, is designed to be worn on a wide omega chain.

Here’s a rundown of Hermanson’s design and security features for the manufacture of a custom fold-over enhancer clasp.

Clasp Design and Security Features

1. The hinge portion of the clasp is located at the top of the piece when worn, minimizing its potential to be lost if opened during wear.
2. Fifty percent of the overall length of the hinge should be allocated to the two outside pieces, the rest to the inside.
3. The inside diameter of the hinge tubing and the outside diameter of the rivet wire must match closely and fit snugly with no play.
4. The gauge and hardness of the material used should be substantial so it won’t bend easily when worn. In the case of the featured clasp for a 1.5-ct. diamond, 1.2mm platinum sheet stock was used. When fabricating a platinum clasp, Hermanson says, use a heat-treatable platinum alloy for the retention of spring and overall hardness. For an explanation of a heat-treatable platinum alloy, see page 30 of the current Hoover & Strong catalog for information related to Plat/S+.

5. If piercing is involved in the clasp design, avoid removing excess metal, which would weaken the overall assembly.

6. For extra security, consider installing a secondary locking device.
7. The end of the assembly opposite the hinge should have a well-defined groove on one side and a half-round shape that precisely fits the groove on the other. It should snap closed. Provide a thumbnail lip or bead so the customer can open the clasp.

“After delivery of the finished enhancer and clasp,” says Hermanson, “offer to regularly clean and inspect the piece to make sure it’s working properly. A dirty mechanism wears out faster and may not close properly.” The Galloway & Moseley staff incorporates this technique with all jewelry sold or repaired to build better customer relationships. For information about enhancer fold-over clasp mechanisms, contact Steece Hermanson at shermanson@ftc-i.net.

By Mark B. Mann

Technical Contributions by Steece Hermanson
JA Certified Master and Shop Manager at Galloway & Moseley, Sumter, SC

Photograph by Steece Hermanson

Illustrations by Lainie Mann

Visual Communications, Inc. © 2004


Professional Enhancer Fold-Over Clasp

A. The sheet stock used to make the clasp is ample, is capable of holding its shape and tension, and will not warp, loosen or open when worn.

B. Fifty percent of the hinge tubing is allocated to the two outside pieces and 50% to the center section.

C. The rivet wire fits snug and is ample to support the structure and allow the hinge to open freely without unwanted directional movement.

D. The interlocking mechanism precisely snap-locks together. It’s lightly oiled at the hinge and locking mechanism, and it operates smoothly and securely.

E. There are no tool marks or unfinished areas.

Potential Problems

The interlocking mechanism is poorly made and freely unlocks.
When the clasp was made, excess metal was pierced, weakening the overall security of the assembly.
The clasp was made from sheet stock that was too thin. The overall strength of the clasp and its ability to lock securely were compromised.
The hinge wire’s diameter is too small, so the mechanism is very loose and doesn’t lock securely.

For additional shop, service department and bench-related content, visit www.visualcominc.com.

By Mark B. Mann

Illustrations by Lainie Mann

Visual Communications, Inc. © 2004

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