Around the 1840s, a new detachable clasp was introduced – the bolt ring. Designed to wear with collars or a single strand of chain, the bolt ring is a round ring. A piece of the ring is hinged and can be pushed so that rings on each end of the collar’ can be pushed inside the ring. The hinge then snaps back and the collar is joined.
The bolt ring then developed into a spring ring clasp. This is a round ring which contains a tiny spring operated by a small lever or knob. You draw back the lever, opening the ring, insert the end of the collar and often a locket, then release the small lever. The spring mechanism keeps the clasp closed.
Over the next few decades, the small lever or knob turned into a larger thumb knob, easier to push open and shut. It began, too to be joined to one end of the collar, rather than being detachable.
The final detachable clasp that was common throughout the Victorian period was the padlock clasp. This clasp opens with a side latch and allowed owners to attach different clasps to the same necklace to give a different effect.
Both the spring ring and the padlock remain popular today.
More Victorian necklace clasps will be discussed next post.