Daily Wire Tip Oct. 30: Child-Safe Necklaces

By on October 29, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
October 30, 2010


I want to make a safe necklace for a child. On the one hand, I want it to stay together; on the other hand, I want it to come apart if it gets caught on a tree, door handle, or whatever. In other words, I don’t want her to choke. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks.

-Alberta in Berne, New York


The only thing I can think of that would work, would be to use a magnetic clasp on the necklace. It is my thought that if it were to become caught on something, the clasp would pull apart, thus releasing the child.

You can find such an item at your local craft/hobby store as well as in the craft area of some department stores, with the beads.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar

    patricia cringle

    October 30, 2010 at 6:38 am

    I want to make a safe necklace for a child. On the one hand, I want it to stay together; on the other hand, I want it to come apart if it gets caught on a tree, door handle, or whatever. In other words, I don’t want her to choke. Do you have any recommendations? Thanks.

    from above Ive been using nice beads on elastic sucessfully

  2. avatar


    October 30, 2010 at 8:06 am

    I make a lot of children’s jewelry on memory wire. If they are slightly overlapped they stay on and come off very easily. They sell very well and I always stress the safety issue when selling them. Thank you

  3. avatar


    October 30, 2010 at 8:17 am

    I too recommend magnetic clasps, also if making a chain (chain-maille)I always leave one or two unsoldered links for safety – even for adults. I hate to learn that one of my necklaces or bracelets got caught and did not open up and someone was seriously hurt.

  4. avatar

    shari In Macedon, NY

    October 30, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Hi, I have been making jewelry for a couple of years now and just wanted to comment on the jewelry for children with the magnetic clasps. i work at a senior living community and have been having classes with the senior population for about a year. Magnetic clasps are great for seniors too! A lot of times they have trouble raising their arms and magnetic clasps are perfect for them. They just love them. Thank you!

  5. avatar

    Kay Zoretic

    October 30, 2010 at 9:06 am

    I do lots of children’s necklaces and bracelets. I make my own sturdy (16 ga) jump rings and I solder them for security. I use those in my jewelry but I always use ONE unsoldered ring somewhere in the piece and it will come apart if some pressure is used – that way if it hangs on something, the weight of the child, or some strong pulling will take it off. But, it won’t just come apart.

  6. avatar


    October 30, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Jump rings also can work– they will pull apart when stressed.

  7. avatar

    Lori Crawford

    October 30, 2010 at 9:29 am

    I make jewelry for my granddaughters all the time. But like me I teach them that jewelry should be treated like precious jems no mater what it is made of. What I am trying to say is they are taught to put them on when they are going somewhere and then to take them off and put them in their jewelry box when the get home. This teaches them to take care of their jewelry and also lets me know that they are not wearing them all the time. I also have some playtime jewelry for them but they are not left unattended when they are playing with them. And as for the magnet clasps, I have used them too but they seem to come apart easily and can be bought online or at most craft stores.

    • avatar


      October 30, 2010 at 10:17 am

      Great ‘training’ suggestion Lori, thanks!

  8. avatar

    Gail Maas

    October 30, 2010 at 9:54 am

    I’ve liked the magnetic clasps because they are very user-friendly and they do have that nice breakaway feature you want….but I’ve learned of a danger magnets pose to children that I think ALL home jewelry artists need to be aware of:

    Please ONLY use magnetic clasps for children who you KNOW will not put them into their mouths! A single swallowed magnet is not likely to cause a problem, but the two halves of a magnetic clasp could be extremely dangerous if they are pulled (or bitten) off the necklace and swallowed. You can learn about what can happen here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5548a3.htm

    I personally mark my childrens’ designs as being for ages 4 and up to be on the safe side due to choking hazards, etc.

    • avatar


      October 30, 2010 at 10:16 am

      Thanks for the ‘heads-up’ Gail!

  9. avatar

    Carole Lawrence

    October 30, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I love this question! The answer about using magnetic clasps is great! For sturdy child necklaces, I would probably use tiger tail(plastic coated wire)for beaded jewelry. I doubt that it would ever break. However, I would use “open” jump rings to connect to the clasp. One of these would stretch open if yanked hard.

    Thanks for the neat ideas and tips.


  10. avatar


    October 30, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I’m with Mary- when making kid’s jewelry, I love to use memory wire. It’s really easy to put on and take off, you don’t have to worry about sizing (just make sure the ends overlap an inch or so), and you can focus on making a really neat pendant. Older customers like them too in neutral colors, because there’s no fiddly clasp, it just goes right on!

  11. avatar

    Patricia Koko

    October 30, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I just wanted to add one admonition to those who use magnetic clasps. If you are making jewelry for older adults or any person who MIGHT HAVE A PACEMAKER please note the magnets COULD cause interference. Be sure to warn folks. Thanks

    • avatar


      October 30, 2010 at 5:22 pm

      Right Patricia, as well as folks who wear an insulin pump : )

  12. avatar

    pauline white

    October 30, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    I have also been making children’s necklaces using elastic; one size fits all, and they are easy to put on and remove.

  13. avatar

    Joe Barela

    October 30, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Hello everyone, I find this to be a safety issue for anyone who wears necklaces or bracelets and for children even earrings can be a problem. One of my regular customers is a dentist who returned a necklace for repair after she got it caught on a piece of equipment. I like to use a split ring for the final ring that the clasp hooks onto. This way if the jewelry gets caught on something it will pull apart like an unsoldered jump ring but with a longer pull and stretch. It is also very easy to replace. As for earrings I find that the younger children should not use earrings but when customers insist I make sure they use the rubber earring backs instead of metal because these will pull off easier if the earring gets caught on something and I only use stud earrings for children as the french hooks will always tear the ear if caught on something. This has been my experience. Any comments about earring safety would be great! JB

    • avatar


      October 30, 2010 at 10:18 pm

      Thanks Joe! I also make little children earrings on studs (but we have no control over the parents).

  14. avatar


    October 31, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    I didn’t read the other comments, so this might already be posted. Magnetic closure was suggested, however I’ve found that clients complain because the closure opens too easily and the piece of jewelery gets lost or they return asking for a change in the closure. It was even suggested that I add a safety chain with a magnetic closure so the piece doesn’t fall off and get lost.

    I do like the thought of a magnetic closure especially for those that have a problem closing a normal clasp. I believe the choice in closure is up to the client. You can only do so much.

  15. avatar


    October 31, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Ironically, most of the “costume” jewelry I had as a child was made with fishing line crimped together at the back. Presumably the crimps weren’t glued. They never came apart. I even still have one, made of shell.

    I never choked on them, largely because I thought wearing jewelry when climbing trees was silly. Even when playing “fairies”.

    I was kind of a weird kid, so counting on that is not sensible.

    I’m not sure I’d recommend fishing wire for safety today.

    I’m also glad that someone mentioned tiger-tail… it is my favorite construction method. I’d also never thought of unsoldered jump-rings as a safety feature.

    One thing I would recommend is to make sure you get lead free jewelry findings. If you don’t know whether they are or not, get a lead test kit.

    It literally takes two minutes, and you don’t have to send anything to a lab. It is easy, and all you need is the kit, the object, and some water!

    They also aren’t that expensive as these things go ($15 for six tests) and easy to find. I found mine at a local MegaMart.

    This is particularly important with crimps… and split rings.

    Even vendors who are relatively good about telling you what has and has not been tested don’t generally label crimp beads as lead free.

    Here’s what I’ve learned about crimps:

    Use copper crimps that are unplated and unpainted if it isn’t clear from your vendor what does or does not qualify. These are the least likely to contain lead and still give a professional result. If you want something that matches your clasp, either shell out for the appropriate precious metal (at least sterling silver or gold filled) or get a lead-free crimp cover. I have never encountered a sterling silver object that tested positive for lead content. I’m also told that gold filled objects tend not to test that way, either. But painted and plated objects are much more likely to, especially if they in the course of use are meant to be bent or molded into shape. I would also test plated clips (such as for badge holders) which might need a bit of bend to them to be functional.

    • avatar


      October 31, 2010 at 6:07 pm

      V, I always enjoy when you share your experiences with us – thanks once again!

  16. avatar

    Draco Dubois Camacho

    November 2, 2010 at 10:22 am

    great idea… i had never thought of that…