Clasp Trouble?

One of the things I like most about design is engineering. In the case of my peyote-stitch adjustable clasps, their design began with a problem that needed a solution. 

Every time I set up for a craft show, people came to my booth, tried on necklaces, professed their love, and then many of them...left without buying. Why? Because everybody has an ideal necklace length and there's no way to make enough of one thing in enough lengths to suit everybody's needs. And on top of that, because I create mostly OOAK pieces, it was my goal to avoid at all cost the kind of duplication I would need in order to offer a single item at 16, 24, and 40." 

I started working on solutions about three years ago and one iteration of my adjustable necklace design involved chain and metal clasp combinations that allowed the wearer to clasp the necklace at any point along the chain, BUT more problems arose...

Because the clasp side of the necklace was fixed, and in many cases, so was the pendant (like with the below tassel necklace), clasping it further down the length of the other side of chain resulted in a lot of lopsided necklaces for people who wanted to make it especially short. 

 

And nobody wants the clasp and excess chain hanging down the side of their neck. It looks like a design flaw or construction accident and almost isn't worth achieving the perfect length. 

 

While working on a solution, I also heard repeated feedback about metal sensitivities. Some people can wear sterling but not gold, goldfill but not sterling, brass but not copper.

There must, I thought, be a way to create a sophisticated necklace with the effect of a delicate chain but without any metal. And there must be a way to make it adjustable as well.

So, over time, this is what developed -- 

 
 

A necklace made with durable silk cord instead of a chain, and a hand-stitched beadwork 'clasp' to slide up and down the cord, making the necklace fully adjustable and never lopsided.

This has become a classic element present in almost all my necklaces, but, as happens with design, it took a couple years for problems to arise. I just couldn't have predicted how avidly wearers would be sliding those clasps up and down. I discovered that people REALLY love adjusting their necklaces, and the bead-on-silk friction may, in some cases lead to sticking and fraying.

Definitely NOT what I intended.

So...I did some R&D.

Which, in my studio, looks like this...

 
 

And, several hours and stuck fingertips later, I found a way... Now, ALL peyote-stitch clasps are lined with the softest, smoothest leather to ensure smooth sliding and no fraying.

SO, in the spirit of your S&B pieces lasting a long time, I'd like to offer anybody who has purchased one of the necklaces who may be having trouble with the clasp getting stuck, or the silk fraying a bit, PLEASE -- send me an email HERE describing the issue. At that point, I will give you an address to send the piece back to me so I can replace the clasp with the new design and, if necessary, even restring the entire piece. The shipping from you to me will be on you, BUT I will take care of everything else, including the time and supplies involved, and the return shipping. 

Smart & Becker is about building relationships, making connections, and putting beautiful things into the world, so I want you to feel comfortable sharing any concerns now or in the future. Design is a collaborative process and the best solutions aren't discovered in a vacuum. Help me be better and let me know what's on your mind! 

And if you're totally loving a feature or function, tell me that, too! I love to hear what's working!

Yours,

Ryan-Ashley