Daily Wire Tip: Making Necklaces Righties or Lefties

By on June 26, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip


In making the ends of a necklace, is there a standard for which side gets the clasp? I’ve been making pendants, and just randomly chose where to put the clasp.

-Helene in Perkasie, Pennsylvania


Hi Helene! I found some interesting information to go along with my answer today. Did you know that statistics say there are more right-handed people than left-handed? The percentages I found say that only 10 to 20% of the world’s population is left-handed. I know that I have worked with several people who seem to work better with the left hand, but had been encouraged to use the right at an early age. Most of these folks could be ambidextrous, if they will let themselves, enjoying the best of both!

Most of those in the jewelry making industry design necklaces with the clasp on the right side, so that a right-handed person can easily take them on and off. The beauty of making jewelry yourself is that you are free to also create necklaces for those who are left-handed! Here is a marketing idea that I occasionally use: make a necklace that is either reversible, or easily changed, so you can switch the clasp from one end to the other in a few minutes. This is a great way to be able to customize your work, and customers love it!

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    June 27, 2011 at 8:25 am

    That’s so funny that this question came up today. I have been thinking of asking my customers on my website to specify whether the recipient of the necklace is right or left handed for a while now. As you said, this is a great marketing idea!

  2. avatar

    Jane Elizabeth Duke

    June 27, 2011 at 8:57 am

    I love this question… often wondered what others do. Having decided at an early age to become left handed, and now enjoying the advantage of being both handed I notice that I tend to put the clasp on the right side of my necklaces but have easily reversed it for anyone that preferred otherwise. FYI Dale, when I worked in the Engineering Dept. of a rather large company there were 30 people and 28 of them were left handed… so what are the odds of that happening?

    • avatar


      June 27, 2011 at 9:02 am

      Wow Jane – I wonder if left ‘handed’ and left ‘brained’ go hand-in-hand ?? (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

      • avatar


        January 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm

        In case you’re really interested, the answer to your “wonder” is, no. Since the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, and vice versa, if the person is left-handed, that is a function of the right side of the brain. And as for left or right brained, the whole left brain, right brain thing is highly oversimplified, and many left-handed people really don’t have a dominant hemisphere. Certain functions are simply handled by one side or the other. I don’t expect this to be posted – just thought you might be interested.

        • avatar


          January 11, 2012 at 9:49 am

          Actually Dorothy, I do find this interesting. Thanks for sharing with us :)

        • avatar

          Jane Abernathy

          August 27, 2013 at 5:40 pm

          I, too find your post interesting~! from a no-brainer.

          • avatar

            Jane Abernathy

            August 27, 2013 at 5:42 pm

            I meant me as the “no brain-er”.. see what I mean I posted it without thinking about how it loses something in translation over the web. lol

      • avatar

        Jil S

        January 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm

        Actually it makes more sense than you’d think. Most engineers are left handed. The right side of the brain controls most systems on the left side. Given that, it only stands to reason that Right brained math and science experts would then most often prefer their left side.

  3. avatar


    June 27, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Good discussion – I’m right-handed/mixed up but use my left hand to hold the clasp and my right to aim the toggle or ring. I think just asking preference would probably work better than asking ‘handedness’.

    • avatar


      July 8, 2016 at 12:14 pm

      Janet, I’m completely right-handed, but I too use my left hand to hold the clasp and my right hand to aim the tab for a tab clasp, or the magnet for the magnetic clasp. Also, because I have arthritis in both hands, I now have to bring the clasp around front so I can see what I’m doing with it rather than fumbling around trying to keep hold of it while I clasp it. and just for an extra note: I CANNOT any longer use lobster claw clasps; just can’t use them at all. If I have to use one, it becomes time-consuming, not to mention painful, even if I work the clasp from the front. I hate those lobster claws!

  4. avatar

    Jane Elizabeth Duke

    June 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Left handed, left brained going “hand and hand”? Too funny Dale!

  5. avatar


    June 27, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Dale, it is left handed, right brain because of the crossover stuff. LOL.

  6. avatar


    June 27, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    I have been doing the right-sided clasp all along because I used myself as the “prototype” person and I am right handed. It became another dilemma when you consider toggle clasps. I always put the part of the toggle that goes into the closed part on the right. I really like the idea that Dale gave you about making it interchangeable…Will have to try that. Thanks, Dale!

    • avatar


      June 27, 2011 at 9:13 pm

      Hope it helps your sales Cathy : )

  7. avatar


    June 27, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Since many of us are making our clasps as well, why not make the clasp decorative and move it to the front. It makes the necklace easier to fasten for those of us with long hair or for older ladies with arthritis in their hands.

    Some pendants can made so they are totally removable, so if you do a matching bead and wire chain, the customer will get 2 necklaces for the price of one. That is a good selling point, in this economy

    • avatar


      June 28, 2011 at 9:11 am

      Wonderful suggestion Cairenn-thanks for the idea!

  8. avatar

    Licia B

    January 10, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Yes, this was a question that came into my mind when I made my first necklace! It did stop me for just a second and then I thought, I always use my right hand for the clasp when I put a necklace on, and that is how I always make them now.

  9. avatar


    January 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    I don’t use jump rings or simple loops in any of my work – ALL connections are wire wrapped, and I use only soldered chains. I don’t want any of my work to have the potential of coming apart, especially when it’s been made for someone’s wedding. Do you have any suggestions as to how that would translate into “reversible” or “easily changed?”

    • avatar


      January 11, 2012 at 9:52 am

      My only suggestion here, Dorothy, would be that when the item is tried on the customer – before the event or sale – that if they prefer the clasp to be on the opposite side of how it is made, to cut and replace the wrap. OR, better yet, ask the customer before the item is created, which side they would prefer the clasp to be on.

      • avatar

        Evelyn Green

        January 1, 2013 at 9:23 pm

        As I read all these wonderful comments I must giggle somewhat because I happen to be one of those “older ladies” with arthritis in my hands (wrists) AND I have long nails AND I’m both handed, all which can make clasps very challenging. I love the toggle closures for ease of use and I love the fact that I can design and make my own. The magnets are very good for ease of use but just not as elegant or pretty.

  10. avatar


    January 10, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    I have learned with toggles it doesn’t matter which side to put the first 1/2 of the Toggle on! As toggles are made the way they are, it just doesn’t matter. I have sold hundreds of my necklaces, and have yet to hear from an unhappy client. My own sister is a lefty, and she love’s my jewelry I send to her. And I do not even THINK about her being left handed! She is my favorite model. She can model any necklace or bracelet & rings, but she’s too self-conscious about her tiny ear-lobes, and will not wear earrings of even ear cuffs I have made for her.
    So I do not really get how clasps can be a problem. Lefties use both hands, too. I have not heard a word of trouble closing any of the clasps I use. I do NOT use lobster claw, or spring clasps, I have trouble with those myself-if I have hard time with one, then everyone will have it! So out to recycle they go/or I just make sure I don’t accidentally order any other. I just do not get people having some problem with toggles, or even hooks. Each to their own, I guess.Take it with care. MaryBug

  11. avatar

    Joan Kraus

    January 11, 2012 at 12:19 am

    My brother is left-handed, and is so used to doing things in a right-handed world that when I gave him something years ago made especially for a left-handed person, he found it awkward! So I think we are safe with right handed clasps unless someone asks for it to be reversed.

  12. avatar


    February 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    This tip gave me some inspiration. What if, for those non reversible pendants there was a pivoting bail that you could attach. Now that would be a good idea. And going along with what MaryBug said, I also do not care for lobster clasps and mainly use toggles. I also have never gotten a complaint about a toggle being on a unpreferred side.

  13. avatar

    Jennifer W.

    July 16, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Great topic! Just to give you one more data point, I’m left handed but much prefer the clasp to be on the right. If I acquired a non-reversible necklace with the clasp on the left, I’d try to find a way to move the clasp myself (especially since I started making jewelry!) I love the idea of putting a decorative clasp on the front, and I’ve been experimenting with that since seeing an example of it a few weeks ago.

  14. avatar

    Gayle E

    August 28, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I am an extreme and proud LEFTY. I do almost everything left sided. When getting dressed, I dress left side first. Left sock, shoe, etc. As for jewelry, I prefer the clasp on the left side.I find it akward to have the clasp on the right side. I’ve been known to switch which side the clasp is on.

    • avatar

      Jim Harkins

      September 17, 2014 at 6:06 am

      Gayle, I have invariably found that, no matter which sock or shoe I put on first, the other one is always left…

      • avatar


        October 31, 2016 at 7:21 am

        ha…ha…ha!! — didn’t anyone else catch jim’s line? hilarious!

  15. avatar


    October 28, 2014 at 7:48 am

    I have an extensive collection of religious medals that I wear on various chains depending on the neckline of the top I’m wearing. I am ambidextrous but happen to prefer my right hand for very close work, but simply cannot do the tiny clasps of the chains I use for interchangeability, so I always pull the ends of the chain to the front to connect them. So for a right-preference person, the chain is inserted from left-to-right of the medal (pendant) so that the clasp is on the left but becomes the right when one pulls it to the front.

    I make rosary bracelets and very classy needleworker’s stitch-counting bracelet with hooks, and I always ask the customer if they know on which wrist they will wear it, as I’ve found that it’s easier to hook when the hook is coming up from under the arm so that the opposite hand can grasp it and manoeuevre it closed while the weight of the bracelet keeps the loop dangling toward the center of the body. When I describe this to my customers and ask upon which side they want the hook/movable part of the clasp, they always have an ‘aha!’ moment. In this case it doesn’t matter which hand is dominant, just which hand is doing the actual work of closing the clasp.

  16. avatar


    January 14, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Being left handed and ambidextrous, I find that toggle or S hooks work great as reversible works. If there is a focal piece that can be a game changer. I’m just a hobbyist so I really only make things for myself but since I also give things away I work on making items that can be worn either way.

  17. avatar

    Barbie Bailey-Waley

    January 15, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    I am a serious lefty and I wonder if there are any books for lefties to learn from. I find the directions are too complicated for lefties. Instructions for lets say the Chevron chain,the Herringbone stitch,Peyote stitch and ones like those. I also want to do chainmaille, celtic chain, mermaid mesh and that sort of thing. Is there any how to books for lefties for this sort of stuff? Has anyone written books for this sort of beading. There must be a need for this and would be worth someone to write some books for us lefties. I have tried so many times to make these with no luck. PLEASE help me with some ideas. Thank you very much!

    Barbie (barbieak49@outlook.com)

    • avatar

      Richard Canary

      June 24, 2015 at 6:46 am

      Just a crazy idea here. What if a left-handed jeweler viewed a video or photos of instructions in a mirror? Would the reversal be helpful? I’m right-handed, so I’ve never confronted the difficulties you mention. I have enough trouble with right-handed instructions most of the time.

  18. avatar


    September 21, 2015 at 9:29 am

    I’ve been using “MAGNETIC Clasps” for quite a while now and would’nt go back to ordinary clasps. I am right handed but in my family 4 people are left handed, at the time the only thing I found was beautiful magnetic clasps on Ebay. I find your posts very interesting, thank you for sharing.

  19. avatar


    November 17, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Yes, Ursina .. me too!! I have ladies coming to me all the time, bringing their older necklaces for magnet clasps. Our “aging population” are really sold on magnets and won’t have anything else. Me too!! They do present some probs sometimes with storage and clinging together, but an overdoor hanging device on the back of a door solves that.

  20. avatar


    February 20, 2016 at 6:37 am

    I always ask first because my Mom & one daughter are Leftys. Our other daughter is a Righty, and I’m both.