This is especially important when the jewelry has no hallmarks or maker’s marks.NOTE: This is the final article in my four-part series on how to identify and date vintage jewelry.
Vintage jewelry hardware refers to the various types of clasps, pins, earring backs, rings, and other elements used to create jewelry.
These are also called “findings.” Techniques and elements have evolved over time, so knowing the types of hardware used during various eras will help you to properly date your vintage and antique jewelry.
Hinged, or “leverback” ear wires have been in use since the 1880s, and are still quite popular today.
Up until the 1890s all earrings were made for pierced ears.
Both fish hooks and kidney wire earring backs are still in use today.
Post earrings (also known as stud earrings) were also common at this time and normally the studs were threaded so that the backs of the earrings could be secured with screws.
It has a spring inside the ring that allows it to open and snap closed.
A variation of this is the sport ring clap, which works the same way, but instead of a nub, it has a ridged end used to open the ring.
The S-hook clasp is a variation on the hook, with a rounded, S shape.
Barrel clasps were quite popular, and are still used today, so it’s important to note the age of the clasp.
The Hook clasp (also called shepherd’s hook) was very popular in the 1950s and 1960s, when chunky multi-strand bead necklaces and sparkling rhinestone necklaces were very popular.