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Clasps for handicapped and injured, or elderly

An elderly woman came up to my booth last Saturday who was looking
for an easier way to fasten her necklaces and asked if I had
magnetic catches. I told her no and suggested a local craft store,
which she said she’d already looked and they didn’t have them.

She said she had broken her shoulder last year and was having
difficulty fastening her necklaces. I doubt she had jeweler’s
plyers, nor knew how to attach any clasp and probably wouldn’t want
to pay me even a minimum amount to do this for her. However, after
our conversation I wondered what would be the easiest clasp for a
handicapped or elderly person with arthritic hands. I’d love to see
comments on this. Thank you,

Sharon Perdasofpy

An elderly woman came up to my booth last Saturday who was looking
for an easier way to fasten her necklaces and asked if I had
magnetic catches. 

I have been seeing more and more demand for nice magnetic clasps
(baby boomers and all that). I found that the newyorkfindings has a
nice selection in 14k. Perhaps others do too.

I wondered what would be the easiest clasp for a handicapped or
elderly person with arthritic hands. I'd love to see comments on

Stuller sells a whole slew of magnet clasps.

My elderly and handicapped customers love them.

Paf Dvorak

We use magnetic clasps just for this purpose. They can be purchased
from Stuller if you cannot find them at your local craft store.

Take care, Paul Le May, Bracebridge, Ontario.

Magnetic clasps have several issues. To get them strong enough to
securely hold, the magnet may be strong enough to interfere with any
medical devices implanted in the wearer, is what I have heard. The
less strong magnets I have found do not hold well, so I quit using

I have found several solutions that I use: design front clasping
necklaces; LARGE clasps; toggle clasps are often easier for
arthritic hands to manage if they are made large enough and aren’t
too fiddly. I have found people with medical hand issues have
trouble with many of the traditional pearl safety clasps, and often
with lobster or spring clasps. They seem to find my large toggle
clasps the easiest to manage.

Alternatively, I also make quite a few necklaces long enough to be
"endless" with no clasp.

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio

They’re not very “artistic,” but I make just plain hooks which
connect to ajump ring. I get constant comments. “I can fasten
these.” I have even had customers bring me their jewelry and ask me
to put my hooks on their jewelry. I sell to all ages but live in an
area with many senior citizens and tourists.

I don’t worry about getting paid for putting on my hooks. If a
person wants them, they’ve probably already bought jewelry from me
and probably will buy more in the future. I’d bet 80% of my business
is from repeat customers or “I want a necklace like the one you sold
soand so.” Sure, I’m proud of my jewelry, but if the customer
doesn’t wear it I don’t consider it to be successful.

Dick Stromberg

Hello Sharon,

Stuller has a magnetic clasp converter that is attached by attaching
the clasp on the necklace to one end, and connecting the lobster on
the mag-clasp to the necklace’s jump ring. They are inexpensive - not
precious metal.

Judy in Kansas, where the rain is falling lightly. hope it continues
all day.

Sharon- Magnetic really is the way to go. I’ve made my own fancy
diamond and gold clasps with rare earth magnets that I bought on
line. The clasps in the lower price end of the market are a bit too
weak for my taste.

The hardest part was bezel setting the magnet inside of the clasp. I
don’t trust glue. The magnet kept leaping out of the seat to the
steel tool. So I had to use a brass punch and hammer.

Considering the aging of the boomer population with it’s disposable
income I’d invest some time in learning how to make stuff like this.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

Either a magnetic clasp (they do come in precious metals too) or a
bayonet clasp that is capsule shaped and easy to push closed : has
a trigger mechanism (a 'button" of sorts) to release. Both styles
should take under a half hour to install. By the way- what are
’jeweler’s pliers"… Any pair of, round nose pliers or others one
can get cheaply at a hardware store or harbour freight would do. It
seems odd to me that you are making so many presumptions about the
person’s ability to pay for a service that you engaged in a
conversation with in your booth. It also seems that perhaps you may
have had your “jeweller’s pliers” with you or could have borrowed
them from a fellow vendor at the show.

If an elderly handicapped person came to me and clearly needed my
help - and was at a show -ordinarily to buy things- as opposed to
just looking around as there is generally an entrance fee paid and
they come to buy beading supplies - and in her case perhaps just the
magnetic clasps that I have never been to a bead show that did not
sell them! (which at retail open-to-the-public beads shows I find
entrance fees offensive personally !) You could have offered to
change the clasp while between lookers- or overnight and have had
her pick the repaired necklace up the next day - as your “pro bono
publico” offering for what sounds like your. year…

Yes, we are all metalsmiths (though some beaders also attempt to
make a living at selling beading supplies as a sideline) to make
money (that is those of us with legitimate businesses that depend on
this for our livelihoods). Occasionally we cross paths with people
that need a bit of help that takes maybe 10 minutes of time and makes
them happier and able to live that much more independently and
dignified for a little longer in their lifetimes enjoying their
treasured possessions that make them feel more beautiful and doesn’t
make any difference at all in our livings, or household economy. Why
not just have fixed it for her on the spot or offered a reasonable
price to change a simple clasp rather than judge the person’s ability
to pay? .rer

Hi Sharon,

I don’t know if this is a complete solution but I would suggest
using a T bar and ring type toggle clasp. I use these for most of the
bracelets I make firstly because I can make them as a decorative
element in the piece but also because they can be easily fastened and
released single handed with either hand. They are strong and quite
secure even on a bracelet which experiences a great deal of body
movement as long as the length of the T bar is bit over twice the
diameter of the ring.

All the best

Rio grande sells them.

A good source for these little rare earth magnets (powerful little
items) are the worn out brush assemblies for sonicare toothbrushes.
They are easy to break off their mounts, as they are glued in. I
have not yet tried to cut them down in size, and think that would
likely make a troublesome mess to clean up, because of the yielding
of very small magnetic dust.

Dennis Fisher

We think a decorative coordinating toggle clasp that can be fastened
and worn in the front would be a good option. One that is a bit
larger and thus easier to manipulate.

Tom & Kay Benham

I’m with Dick on this one. I too make my own clasps which consist of
a strong handmade hook that attaches to a jump ring. My mother has
very arthritic hands and can’t cope with all the bolt ring or lobster
style clasps that are so prevalent in the UK. She said that she likes
my clasps as they are so mucheasier for her to use, and she doesn’t
have to rely on my dad to help her put necklaces on. Likewise for my
in-laws. Dick, I’m sure a hook can be made to look elegant with some


My husband has a pacemaker/defib. and his doctor has informed us of
some new studies concerning magnets and cellphones. The studies have
shown that cellphones and anything with a magnet, used on that side
of the body within 6’’ to 8’’ of a pacemaker might interfere with
the programing of the pacemakers. If you do use magnets in clasps,
you should inform your clients that you are using them.

I haven’t used Stuller in a long time, will check them out. Thank
you for your help.

Thank you to everyone who responded to this. I didn’t know magnetic
clasps came in prescious metals. Also with the responses you have
given me a couple of places to order them from. In the past besides
ordering lobster or toggle clasps, I’ve made toggle, simple hook &
eye, more artistic catches that were hammered, stamped, & or
soldered with shot. I wanted to know other’s suggestions and
appreciate all the responses sincerely. I continue to learn from
everyone & hope it never stops.

Thank you. Sharon Perdasofpy

I wondered what would be the easiest clasp for a handicapped or
elderly person with arthritic hands. I'd love to see comments on

OK, easiest would be a long one that would fit over the head,
without needing a clasp!


No I haven’t used magnets at all. That’s good to know about
pacemakers & cell phones. I appreciate everyone’s ideas on this Thank
you. Sharon Perdasofpy

Rare earth magnets (and any magnets) cannot take heat. They will
lose their stickiness.

Paf Dvorak