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Spiral brooch clasp

Dear Friends,

I have been trying to re-create a spiral clasp which I saw once on an
antique brooch. I would like the pin stem to be able to twirl around
3 times to create a very secure catch and just don’t seem to get it
right. I have tried using both round and square wire but neither
to be consistent in creating a nice even spiral with the proper
spacing. And, it needs to be strong. If any of you have made this
type of catch/clasp, I would greatly appreciate it if you would share
your expertise with me.

Sue Danehy, VA


the article you are trying to create is called a “fibula”. I have
used both round and square sterling wire. please contact me off the
board if you would like any other They are not hard to
do, just keep trying.

Jennifer Friedman
Ventura, CA

Perhaps I was not clear enough about the spiral clasp. The desired
spiral part is not extended or stretched out like a fibula, but
rather is a snug, flat, upright standing spiral that has a little tab
on the bottom which is soldered to the back of a brooch. Any tips for
this type of clasp would be appreciated.


spiral part is a snug, flat, upright standing spiral that has a
little tab on the bottom which is soldered to the back of a brooch 

Hi Sue, I don’t know if this is what you mean, but it sounds like
the clasps i make for my brooches, they are sometimes referred to as
a " C’ clasp. I start by sawing a strip about 1.5mm wide from a piece
of 1.2mm thick metal, much longer than you need- this is important as
it gives you a “handle” while you are working. File the sides and top
of one end to a taper. This is the end that will be in the centre of
the spiral. Grasping this end with needle nose pliers bend into
spiral. File and shape the overall piece as desired. File the piece
that will be the base flat. Cut the " handle" off leaving a small
platform for soldering. I also taper the final cut so there is no
ridge when the piece is soldered onto the brooch. The spiral can be
adjusted after soldering to hold the pin securely.

hope this helps. Christine in Sth Australia

Sue, is what you’re looking for the “simple pin” shown on p. 133 of
Tim McCreight’s The Complete Metalsmith (rev. ed.; Davis Publishing;

Judy Bjorkman

Sue -

I wonder if you are thinking of the clasp that is in the older Tim
McCreight metal smithing book - not in the new one tho… It is a
spiral that rises up from the brooch and sticks out sideways, where
the point of the spiral points away from where the pin stem will hook
into it and you hook the pin stem into the spiral? Does this sound
like it? If so, I tried it on some brooches recently, and wasn’t too
keen on it, having a hard time getting it placed properly. But that
might be because the actual brooch was concave, and i had a hard time
getting the pieces to stay where i wanted them…


I’m not finding any pictures of this clasp… I have the new, pro
edition of McCreight’s metalsmithing book. And from the descriptions,
I’m having an even harder time picturing it! Can anyone point me to a
picture or diagram of one somewhere? It sounds like something I’d
like to play with using.

Karen Goeller

Since both Ivy and Karen seem to be referring to McCreight’s “Simple
Pin” which I mentioned a couple of days ago, let me quote from
McCreight’s 1991 book (p. 133) and describe the drawings.

“Simple Pins”

“1. Solder a generous loop of wire onto the back of a piece.”
[drawing showing a piece of wire in the approx. shape of a large U,
upside down, and at right angles to the back of the piece. Thus it is
resting on its two ends, which is not a very stable arrangement, so I
assume that a “third hand” clamp would help. I simply made a loose
coil at each end, so that the wire U could stand by itself on the
back of the pin. However, my jewelry tends to be larger and more
casual. I like the look of these coils, which are then soldered down
on the back of the pin, but you may not.]

“2. Snip the wire” [a little arrow in the drawing is labeled, “cut
here.” It is placed about 3/4 of the way around the U. Obviously, the
long segment will be the pin stem, the short will be the catch.]

“3. Twist the wire to harden it.” [I think this refers mainly to the pin stem segment.]

“4. Curl as shown with round nose pliers.” [drawing shows the pin
stem with one curl near its base, to form the spring for the pin stem
– I prefer two curls, but that’s a personal thing. And it shows the
upper half of the short, catch segment bent over at ca. 90 degrees,
away from (not toward) the pin segment. The upper half of this catch
is coiled a couple of times, a loose (not a tight) coil, and the coil
is slightly stretched out, again, away from the pin stem. Presumably,
this type of curled catch is meant to protect the wearer of the pin
from the sharp point of the pin stem which will be inserted into it.
McCreight remarks on the importance of this at another place on the
page, in reference to another style of pin stem.]

Further advice of an obvious natuRe: be sure to make the U rather
large, because it is easier to cut off excess wire than to “add” it
(duh!). [I’m still adjusting the one I made…]

Hope this helps,
Judy Bjorkman

Since both Ivy and Karen seem to be referring to McCreight's
"Simple Pin" which I mentioned a couple of days ago, let me quote
from McCreight's 1991 book (p. 133) and describe the drawings. 

Great job of describing the drawings, Judy! I feel as though I know
exactly what it looks like now. I’ll have to try it! (My copy of Tim
McCreight is out in my studio, where the heat isn’t working right,
and it is about 2 degrees out!)