We offer a small selection of jewelry clasps. They are used in necklaces and bracelets, as well as some some interesting non-jewelry applications. We'll also share some ideas about how high-end jewelry makers create unique magnetic clasps.
Warning: Written by an engineer, this article is likely to be functionally informative, but probably won’t include beautiful jewelry you actually want to buy!
Some Magnetic Jewelry Clasps are made specifically for the job. They come with two halves. They’re sold as a matched pair. The halves are made with a magnet that has a housing around it, made of non-magnet material. A small metal loop on the end lets you attach the chain of a bracelet or necklace.
The CL2 is unique, designed a little differently. The two magnet housings fit inside one another when clasped, preventing side-to-side or shearing motion between the magnets. A setup like this can provide a sturdy hold without requiring as much magnetic strength.
The R414CL ring magnets are also popular. These don’t have any special housing around them. They are plain ring magnets, except the hole is stepped. This step allows a cord to be knotted or crimped and held securely, while allowing the magnets to connect together flush.
This magnet is a bit larger at 1/4" diameter, with a bit more magnetic strength. It’s has great holding power!
A disadvantage is that it’s purely a neodymium magnet, which is a hard, brittle material. If allowed to slam together, the magnets might ultimately damage one another.
These magnets are popular for crafting and beading. You don’t often see these exact clasps used on higher-end jewelry, though. What are professional jewelry makers using?
We hear from jewelry makers who use our magnets to construct their own magnetic clasps. The magnets they use are often hidden inside much more beautiful parts that fit in with the rest of the design. As shown in the photos of our rough, 3D printed prototypes, a magnet can be embedded into a decorative bead. Such an approach requires more work and craftsmanship, but offers several advantages:
The photos here show the basic idea with some 3D printed “beads” we made. They’re certainly not as pretty as some jewelry we’ve seen made with our magnets, but they do show the basic idea. We tried four sizes, using D24, D34, D44 and D54 magnets in diameters ranging from 1/8" to 5/16". The D24 were a bit weak, but the D34 felt strong enough to provide a nice hold.
We made a pair of magnetic clasp beads ourselves by 3D printing a "bead," but pausing halfway through to insert the magnet. When we let the printer resume the print job, the magnet was sealed inside.
There are pros and cons when comparing Magnetic Jewelry Clasps to traditional split-ring, lobster or barrel clasps. The unique traits of magnetic clasps can be considered their strengths and weaknesses.
For example, if you're wearing a necklace with a magnetic clasp, you could unclasp it simply by tugging on the necklace. If you pull hard enough, the magnets will release and come undone. You could say this is a feature, since it prevents anything on the necklace from breaking. It also reduces any choking hazard. On the other hand, you might say it's a downside, because the hold is not as strong as some other clasps.
It's a tradeoff you'll want to consider when choosing magnetic or any other clasp style.
A clear win for magnetic clasps is jewelry for folks who have a sickness, handicap or impairment that prevents them from using typical clasps. If your hands lack the dexterity to clasp and unclasp jewelry, magnetic clasps make it easy. Necklaces and bracelets can be put on and removed with just one hand!
We've heard from many customers who find other uses that we never imagined. While these magnets are sold in pairs, some of the most ingenious applications use the magnet halves separately.
Adding crystals to chandeliers is becoming very popular. If you search Google Images or Pinterest, you'll find a lot of great examples. Each half of the jewelry clasp can have a string attached, which also holds a crystal or string of crystals.
We've heard about other decorative things done with them, from streamers at a wedding to hanging things from the metal strips in a dropped ceiling. Your imagination is the limit! Drop us an email if you have some creative uses we haven't mentioned.
Permanent magnets are used in many electric motors and generators. These devices come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, configurations and complexity, but their operating principles are much the same.
Here we’ll demonstrate one of the simplest electric motors we’ve seen. It uses a few paperclips, some insulated wire, a AA battery and a magnet. It’s not terribly efficient or useful – you won’t see one of these in your electric car anytime soon! It does, however, include all the relevant parts and ideas that you’ll find in most electric motors.
It’s also a great educational demonstration, simple, inexpensive and fun. We’ve seen it used for classroom demonstrations, and even a contest, where college freshmen built motors to see whose could spin the fastest!
Magnet-to-Magnet vs. Magnet-to-Steel
When using a magnet to stick to something, should the magnet attract to a piece of steel or to another magnet?
It’s a good question, one that we receive quite often. The answer, as always, depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each solution.
Magnets attract to a steel surface, but they don’t exert a lateral or sideways magnetic force. Only friction prevents your fridge magnets from sliding down to the floor.
With that in mind, we’ve introduced a series of rubber coated mounting magnets made especially for hanging stuff on walls. In block shapes available in three sizes, they can be mounted with common screws or hardware.
In the videos and images below, we describe how magnets and a AA battery running through a coil of copper wire makes a train!
Magnets can reach through walls! You may know this from performing a simple magnetic magic trick at the kitchen table. You can make a magnet sitting on top of the table move around by manipulating a magnet underneath the table. It’s a great trick that never fails to fascinate.
Engineers use this same principle to design a magnetic coupling. These devices use magnets to spin a shaft, where magnets reach across a gap to transmit torque or force. To demonstrate, we’ve made a simple boat that uses a magnetic coupling to transmit power through the hull of a boat. The power source comes from a motor inside the boat, driving magnets to spin a propeller on the outside – all without drilling a hole in the hull of the boat!